Yabase is a Japanese restaurant in the Japanese quarter of Düsseldorf. It is small place, serving authentic, Japanese cuisine for more than 30 years. Together with a friend I went to Yabase for a nice dinner, even though the experience was a bit tainted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the instalments of glass shields between all tables to adopt the health regulation during this period.
Unagi Kabayaki and other delights
Beyond claiming to serve always fresh and high quality fish, Yabase has also a considerable reputation for unagi (freshwater eel) dishes, which is what attracted us to check it out. We started the dinner with an amazing plate of unagi kabayaki, which is basically split, gutted, boned, butterfried and grilled freshwater eel. I was served with teriyaki sauce, of which there could have been even more. This was an amazing dish and among the best unagi I have ever had. They also served some fried eel bones, which were nice to try, but it is not a must on this dish.
As a main course, we opted for an omakase style luxury sushi plate that came with 10 pieces of nigiri and 8 pieces of sashimi and was a very representative selection of the sushi menu. The plate came with sake (salmon), maguro (tuna back) and hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi. Both the salmon and yellowtail were of excellent taste and texture and were even surpassed by the outstanding lean tuna back. It made us wonder about the tuna belly cuts they also had on the menu, but we will get back to that.
Then there were zuke chu toro (seared medium fatty tuna belly), maguro (tuna back), unagi (freshwater eel), sake yaki (grilled salmon), suzuki (sea bass), hotategai (scallop), hamachi (yellowtail), ebi (shrimp) and saba (mackerel) nigiri pieces, and ikura (salmon roe) gunkan (battleship sushi) and tamago (egg omelet). The chu toro was mind-blowing, as was the scallop and mackerel. It was clear that we hat to sample the menu a bit more, to make the most of the experience.
And so we ordered another small plate with chu-toro (medium fatty tuna belly) and o toro (fatty tuna belly) nigiri pieces, which were absolutely outstanding. To round things off, we had another small plate with unagi (freshwater eel), saba (mackerel), hotategai (scallop) and ika (squid) nigiris. squid is also one of my favourites and even though it had fierce competition this night, it was an excellent close to an outstanding dinner.
Sushi Guide Verdict
Yabase is simple but authentic restaurant with very minimalistic interior. It is neither stylish nor particularly traditional, it is simple, effective and provides a somewhat cool atmosphere. Even though it serves well as a backdrop to the experience, it is not the most inviting of all Japanese restaurant around. The menu options are extensive but leave few things to desire for demanding sushi aficionados looking for a complete experience. The food quality and taste was outstanding and rank this restaurant among the higher tier places around. The drink menu is a bit limited, but there is decent selection of wine and sake to choose from. Considering the fierce competition in Germany’s largest Japanese community, this is quite an achievement. The service team was friendly and forthcoming and made this stay and enjoyable visit, despite the glass shields between tables and somewhat steril vibe of the night.
There have been mixed reports about Yabase in recent months, so this experience has to be taken with a grain of salt. Based on this experience, this restaurant can definitely be recommend. We will be back to double check.
Review date: July 31, 2020