Flying Fish & Grunt Sashimi @ Yoichi’s
Matt Kettmann

With a magical fairy-like wing and bright red autumnal leaf framing delicate, raw slices of flying fish and Japanese grunt, October’s sashimi course at the recently opened Yoichi’s Restaurant on Victoria Street is easily one of the most visually striking dishes I’ve ever seen. The flavors, meanwhile, stand out for being simple, fresh, and pure, which can be said for every one of the seven courses — and really about 14 different items — on the $85 kaiseki menu that changes on the first of each month. No, it’s not cheap, but neither is importing fish from Japan 24 hours after it was caught, nor matsutake mushrooms from Oregon (smoked in the pike eel and egg cake soup), nor ginkgo seeds, chestnuts, Japanese mountain vegetables, Wagyu beef, and the other fine touches that grace the set menu. The couple — she from Mongolia originally, he formerly of Nobu in Tokyo, among other places — are still working on their liquor license and recognize it may take time for Santa Barbara to appreciate their offerings. But if this dish is any indication, we all better wise up and start supporting this truly unique and handcrafted cuisine as soon as we can. Stay tuned for a longer piece on Yoichi’s in the near future.


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