The Taste Food Tour :: Yuzu Apr10

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The Taste Food Tour :: Yuzu

The other night, I had an adult beverage known as Welcome to the Jungle Juice, a tribute to the famous college “wonder punch,” “hairy buffalo,” or whatever they called it at your school. This drink, one of many offbeat cocktails, was served on ice in a red solo cup with a ping-pong ball garnish.

Adventure-seeker Scott went for a repeat attempt with the Thrift Store: a $4 mystery shot and a beer (served in a paper bag), street style. Yuzu has other crazy-fun drinks — both in name and ingredients. It’s been serving them up since May 2016 at 13603 Madison Ave.

These free-spirited (and dangerously delicious, in the case of that “juice”) drinks perfectly sum up what Yuzu is and why you should go.

Laid-back and unpretentious, it’s a place where I can tap my latent college self (she’s still in there, and she’s even watching Twin Peaks again, just like in she did in the spring of 1990),  enjoy fun drinks and delicious rice bowls or some ramen — all at a price that won’t dent your wallet.

In fact, I wish Yuzu was around when I was in college! There’s only so much late-night Taco Bell a student can eat. But at Yuzu, you can get all sorts of late-night, lunch, and dinner goodness beyond those aforementioned rice bowls and ramen.

Speaking of perfect late-night eats, consider trying the Last Call Bento Box. It includes Yuzu fries, fried chicken or fried cauliflower for the vegetarian option, a dessert and a special beverage — a Little Kings cream ale. Desserts include Adult S’mores and seasonal treats from Lakewood’s own Ice Cream Joy and Fear’s Confections.

If you’re looking for a quick, savory nosh, consider a solo order of Yuzu fries. This heaping plate comes topped with panko bread crumbs, Cusabi (a delectable cucumber-wasabi sauce) and chives. We never have any left, particularly if Evan dines with us. Other options include yakitori and skewered meats.

Rice bowl fans have big choices to make at Yuzu. Starting with the rice — steamed, fried or cauliflower rice. Carnivores can dig into Thai Beef (sirloin, peanut butter, Thai peanut sauce, and green onion), Bourbon Chicken (one spicy-sweet Suttell family favorite with cayenne, red pepper and green onion), Korean Beef (“cheater” Bulgogi ground beef, green onion, ginger root, Korean Sriracha and an optional egg for an upcharge) or Chicken Teriyaki (Evan’s favorite), which Yuzu touts as “the Mall food court classic.”

Vegans will enjoy the Buddha Bowl, a vegetable power blend topped with vegan peanut dressing, or the Little India with chickpeas, coconut, curry, sweet potatoes, red pepper flakes and masala. I could keep going discussing all of the bowl options, but I’d well surpass my word count.

Ramen fans will enjoy the Top Shelf ramen — a carnivore’s delight with tender sub-top sirloin served in a traditional ramen base of Ohio City pasta, veggies, egg and sesame oil in a rich broth; vegetable ramen, known as the Herbivore, with or without an egg; and pork belly. Gluten-free diners can order a ramen bowl that has black rice instead of noodles.

There’s more to Yuzu than good eats and creative drinks.  From Saturday afternoon socials (coming up next month, a Bastille Day Party and free French toast buffet)  to after 9 p.m. trivia nights (including special themes like Bob’s Burgers, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Cleveland Browns), the Yuzu staff puts the fun in drinking and dining out.

Again, where was it when I in college, or at least when I first moved to Lakewood in the mid-1990s? Gotta admit: that Parks and Rec trivia night on June 21 sounds right up my alley.

In GOOD FOOD and community,

Robin Suttell