June 28, 2012 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Y By Yabani at the Souks, Beirut (Restaurant Closed)

Phone Number: +961-1-99 22 33

Address: Beirut souks, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon

Website: http://www.yabanirestaurants.com/y.php

Price Range: 0-0 $


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 8/10

Ambiance / Music: 5.5/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 27/30

Architecture / Interior: 6/10

Food presentation: 9/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: Soon

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Kind of a classy sushi "café" if I may say.

The Y by Yabani has opened it's doors in Beirut Souks a few month ago.

As I am a fan of  the Yabani Restaurant, I decided to try their latest creation on the souks just a couple of weeks after rediscovering the original Yabani of achrafieh. Located in the street between Librairie Antoine and La Cave De Joel Robuchon, Y is a small trendy place with a decoration that I found a bit deceiving. Its a concept that took a lot of work and attention but it lacks the warmth and the right finishing touches. The small rectangular space is too white and its benches and chairs are quite banal. At the far end, facing the wall are benches that are too high to the extent that we had to kneel down to reach our plates. As for the tables and like all the other architectural parts of the restaurant, they are so badly manufactured that they 'dance the samba' continuously.

The menu:

A normal paper offering a wide variety of choices that we were looking forward to taste. One major mistake they did is removing the pictures off the menu; a mistake that will cost them a lot if they don't do anything about it soon. Lebanese have been educated to know the sushi pieces from their picture since the first restaurant opened ten years ago, and to state here, Yabani was one of the first to introduce this idea. A few people know the names and how the pieces look like. A menu without images can cause a closure of the place, unless they move to their new iPad menus as promised by the waiter.

Menu Sections: 

Salads and starters, hot dishes, Izuzukuri, beef items, special tuna, Chirashis, Sashimi, Nigiri Sushi, Gunman Sushi, Y Special Maki, Hozo Maki, Crazy Maki, Ura Maki and desserts.

We Ordered:

Teriyaki Salmon, Panko Salmon, Panko Tuna, Wagyu Beef Sushi, Salmon Chirashi, Shake Sashimi, the Yabani Dragon, Shake Maki and many others. I was happily enjoying my meal that I forgot to write down the choices. The most innovating dish is the Wagyu sushi, if you dare please try it, it's really good! Its the first time that MEAT is introduced to sushi in Lebanon, and it rocks! Shake Izuzukuri and Maguro are really delicious and the Mango Wrapped Maki is wonderful. The Salmon Teriyaki is very tasty, juicy and sweet. As for the ginger, it has a pleasant aromatic taste being one of the best I've had so far.

The Best items

Shake Izuzukuri and Maguro and the Salmon Teriyaki.

As for the comparison with "Yabani", the chefs are the same therefore the food has their unique signature great taste with a presentation that is better than the original restaurant. The service is really good, waiters are efficient and know how to handle any incident; for instance part of our food was delayed so they brought along with it a super crunchy crab salad on the house. This salad is fresh and generous, served in a fully loaded plate differently than other low class Japanese restaurants who usually layer it on a bed of cabbage.

The Unacceptables:

- The wine list is printed on a cheap piece of paper and has hand written words on it

- Wine is served in heavy and uncomfortable glasses. Is it because it's supposed to be a casual kind  of Yabani? Maybe

I would recommend a change:
- Better desserts, exactly as I mentioned in my Yabani review
- A better wine list
- Lowering the Mochi ice-cream price

Finishing with perfumed hot towels maintains the great impression. I would love to come back to Y keeping in mind that we do not always need to target a "Restaurant" and can as much enjoy a casual dinner.





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