If the measure of a satisfied Yanako diner is how quickly they slurp their piping-hot bowl of udon soup, it’s fair to assume that noodle lovers will soon be lining up along Main Street for the latest Nongyao “Moon” Krapugthong concept to hit Manayunk. No matter what your restorative bowl of choice, the udon selections are but a small, if enticing, fraction of the authentic, thoughtful dishes that come alive inside this “everyday” Japan-centric eatery.
Much like the soup, the beauty of Yanako—located just blocks from its esteemed older sister, Chabaa Thai—is in the details. Nothing is overly complicated or unapproachable—just top-quality representations of traditional Japanese cuisine, from the noodle selections and slow-cooked teriyaki options, to the fine-tuned bento boxes and technique-laden sushi starters. Our handmade gyoza dumplings, plated with a pool of subtle sesame-and-soy vinaigrette, proved texturally exceptional, while the Wellfleet oyster six-pack—slyly zested with roasted jalapeño and spicy radish—left us mesmerized.
But where the true handiwork comes alive is at the 18-foot sushi bar, where we witnessed firsthand executive chef Haruo Ige’s impressive skill set, encountering spot-on proficiency in his sashimi platters and Zen-like maki rolls. Adjacent to the vibrant raw-fish counter, the bi-level eatery’s focal point is the central atrium, where diners can head upstairs to a copper-wrapped communal table that’s perfect for private parties. And if you’re lucky enough to find yourself among friends at this special spot, be sure to request the yellowtail- and tuna-stuffed Seven Seas.
4255 Main St., Manayunk, (267) 297-8151, theyanako.com.