Yama Asian Fusion
720 Governor Morrison St., Suite 130; (704) 295-0905; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Sunday. www.yamaasianfusion.com
Open for only a few months, Yama Asian Fusion brings outstanding traditional Japanese cuisine to the SouthPark area. Located in the Shops at Morrison off Sharon Road, Yama has some of the freshest and most delicious sushi in town. Diners will find an expansive menu with items such as fried calamari, hibachi grilled entrees, grilled salmon and a long list of specialty sushi rolls.
THE SCENE: Yama has a casual and inviting atmosphere and can cater to small and large crowds. The waiting area opens to wooden tables dedicated to smaller parties. A sushi bar in the center of the room leads to another dining room in the back of the restaurant. A small outdoor patio is also available. The restaurant is typically filled with loud conversation but offers short wait times.
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THE MENU: Yama's menu is filled with a variety of hibachi and sashimi entrée options. But I can vouch only for the restaurant's superior sushi. If you go, start with the edamame and reach for the sushi menu, where you will find the obvious choices as well as some local specialties. The Rock'n Roll (crab, avocado and cream cheese wrapped in tempura white fish with a spicy sauce) is my favorite. The Crazy Tuna Roll (seared tuna with avocado) is also a usual selection. Check the monthly specials board when you walk in or ask your server for a suggestion.
THE CROWD: Yama is a Thursday-night favorite for my group, and each time we visit, I see someone I know from the surrounding area. The restaurant is accommodating to large and small parties, and I've often noticed large families dining with young children. It has quickly recruited regulars.
WHAT THEY'RE KNOWN FOR: Personal service and great sushi are the first things that come to mind. Just after you sit down, your server will bring you a warm washcloth to clean your hands. Yama also allows patrons to bring in wine from The Wine Store next door, and it doesn't charge a corkage fee.
THE CHECK: Prices are very affordable. Most lunch items range from $8 to $13. Dinner is slightly more expensive but worth every penny. Don't forget to buy wine next door to save on costs.
CASH OR CHECK: MasterCard, Visa, American Express and cash.
VEGETARIAN: Many of the sushi options will appeal to vegetarians. There are also a few soup and salad options that are vegetarian-friendly; however, most of the entrees and hibachi grilled items include meat.
KID-FRIENDLY: It's not unusual to see young children eating with their parents. There isn't a dedicated kid's menu, but there are plenty of options that will appeal to youngsters.
FOR HERE OR TO GO? Most people tend to eat in, but I've gotten dinner to-go on a number of occasions. Food is typically ready for pick up in less than 15 minutes.
SMOKING, SMOKE-FREE? Smoke-free.