In Porta Romana area there is a Japanese restaurant that has been open for a few years now but which does not appear in almost any guide to Asian restaurants. Quite intrigued by this oddity, and seeing the photos of the dishes available online (moreover all very beautiful and inviting), I decided to try Yuzu.
The restaurant is easy to find and also very small (only 19 seats, including the counter). The environment is minimalist and elegant, entirely white.
A further curiosity about Yuzu is the fact that the chef is a woman: Yoko Matsuda, originally from Chiba, has a very interesting curriculum. She began her journey at the Tokyo cooking school and then continued for four and a half years at Armani Nobu, as a sous chef. As the restaurant's website anticipates, she "is very loved by the regulars of high-end Japanese cuisine, from Milan Fashion". Surely this description fits well in the restaurant, seen and considered the type of setting and the type of clientele. However, Yoko san was not present at the restaurant and from the information obtained it is very difficult to find her at work behind the counter. What a pity! At her place there are two very serious Japanese sushi chefs, one of whom reproaches me when I start photographing the menu of the restaurant, then melting into a smile, saying "It does nothing".
A little confused by the situation, I throw myself headlong into the menu. In reality there are two, one for lunch and one for dinner.
At noon the offer is certainly more advantageous, since you can choose from a series of sets far cheaper than you would spend at dinner. Among the various proposals, there are sushi and sashimi sets, mixed tempura, hot dishes in ginger teriyaki sauce, chirashi, salads, noodles or rice.
But it is in the evening that all the chef's inspiration comes out, in a triumph of dishes ranging from the most classic and traditional preparations to the most advanced and particular ones. For this reason, I feel I have to classify this restaurant as a fusion. There are many sauces used and "poetic licenses" brought by Yoko san, her experimentation ranges incredibly.
Once this is specified, the evening menu opens with a series of appetizers (prawn dumplings with teriyaki and lemon sauce are highly appreciated) and the dishes recommended by the chef (among which appear the amberjack with jalapeño, ceviche and tiradito - of clear South American extraction). We then proceed with the carpaccio with yuzu essence (the famous Japanese citrus similar to bergamot, from which the restaurant takes its name), salads, hot dishes (including beef and chicken, therefore not only fish) and different types of tempura.
Sashimi and sushi are obviously the real protagonists. There are numerous types of uramaki, all very particular (there are several reinterpretations of the famous California roll, including the lobster one), hosomaki, temaki and gunkan. Lastly, the nigiri.
The desserts, all handmade, include yuzu sorbet, ginger ice cream, a mix of mini macarons, mango mousse, mochi with ice cream and chocolate cake with green tea ice cream.
The extensive and important wine list will bring everyone together.
Basically, have my doubts about this restaurant been resolved? Let's say yes, in the sense that I got a precise idea. Yuzu is a restaurant where the chef's hedonistic will has been able to create a series of very inviting dishes, perfect for a certain type of Italian clientele. The prices are certainly not popular, and for this reason it would be right to receive greater attention from the dining room staff. We often understand each other badly and this can create discomfort. Yoko san's cuisine is heavily influenced by her formative course full of research (of course) but which perhaps today, in some ways, is a bit dated.
I would be unfair if I said that the quality of the raw material was not top notch: here you will find very fresh fish, worked to the maximum of refinement. The rice, then, particularly impressed me for its compactness and temperature. One of the best ever eaten in my life.
Yuzu therefore remains a niche restaurant, for regulars, or for couples who want to have a romantic dinner while enjoying something special and creative, worked with great skill.
📍 Via Lazzaro Papi 2, Milan
📞 +39 02 8708 7152