This branch of Yanagi can be found on Dublin Boulevard in Dublin, far from the center of trade for the rest of the restaurants in this small chain. We were first introduced to Yanagi in San Luis Obispo, where my boyfriend and I went to college. Yanagi is our favorite restaurant in SLO and we make a b-line for the front doors every time we visit. To our delight, the Dublin location left us just as happy as our much beloved Central Coast counterpart.
I’ll cut right to it – the best part of Yanagi is the menu. This place is first class in so many ways, but it really shines through when you open the giant leather bound book to select your dinner of choice. Firstly, the menu is huge. I don’t just mean for selection (which is also plentiful), I mean physically huge – the thing is a monster. You know they’re serious when they hand you a menu that weighs more than the chair you’re sitting on. Next, there are pictures of each dish on the menu. Not crappy, unappetizing pictures, but real, professional, make-you-want-to-order-one-of-everything pictures. Everything looks fabulous, and, having tried nearly everything, I can tell you that pretty much all of it is.
After you finally manage to pick just one thing (or a few) from the expansive menu of tantalizing appetizers, elaborate sushi rolls, rice bowls, and dinner combinations, you are left to wait for your meal with a tiny, free bowl of warm, salted edamame. Yummmm. When your dish arrives, everything looks just as good as it did in its professional portrait – right down to the fresh cut tropical flower perched on the edge of the oblong plates of sushi rolls. The food is fabulous. I often crave the Hungry Roll that I am wont to order, and boyfriend is a stickler for the Sunshine Roll, swiping at my chop sticks when I steal a bite. Last night, my mom and her boyfriend had the teriyaki chicken over sizzling veggies, which they both loved.
The service at this new Yanagi was good, but the owner didn’t come chat to us like she does at the SLO location (sad face) – but we’ll give it some time. The decor is elegant and beautiful – it’s quite a find tucked into a random, unassuming commercial strip on Dublin Blvd. And this location even has teppanyaki (or as my mom calls it, Benihana) where you can watch your dinner be prepared right on the table in front of you for a fun night out. This place really does have it all.