Yakuza in this case, is not the Japanese mafia, but the tiny, new sushi restaurant tucked into a small space in the interestingly-named Victory Platz (can we please just name things in Spanish for crying out loud) in northern Merida, on the avenue that runs from the pocito roundabout to the Walmart at City Center (again with the non-Spanish vernacular) at the periférico.
It is very small, with a bar for 8-10 people, about 3-4 tables and a blossoming cherry tree in the middle of an almost all-black decor. One can safely assume that this tree is not real. The staff, and there are many of them, more than customers even, are all in black and the black COVID mask looks like it was designed for this restaurant. There is a slightly smoky haze in the air which makes you wonder if the place is on fire or has a fireplace somewhere but no, it is some sort of room ambientizer (invented word) that injects fragrance and some sort of steam/smoke into the air.
Service was friendly and professional; a smiling hostess shows you to your table, approximately 4 steps from the door, but still a nice gesture, and then male wait staff appear to take orders, offer drinks and such. The Casual Restaurant Critic ordered a Sapporo beer to follow a Topo Chico mineral water but that never arrived; perhaps a little more attention in this area would make for a higher check and income. Interesting was both the name taking for an undisclosed purpose and the fact that everyone working there was communicating via earpieces and microphones. Perhaps this is to convey the feeling that they are all real Yakuza gangster bodyguards? Not sure. If you dear reader, find out, do add this information in the comments section below.
The menu has some of the tiniest printing ever seen in a restaurant by the Critic and his ever-present and always-amazing Better Half. The Critic is convinced that to fit the entire menu – which is vast and varied with hot and cold dishes – onto two pages it was necessary to reduce the font size to 3-4 points. It is REALLY tiny. Bring a magnifying glass. Or, better yet, go with the pandemic QR scanning option and read it on your device. By the way, dynamite as in dynamite roll is spelled incorrectly.
Some rolls were ordered, as well as ramen soup with pork belly, which was fine. Particularly good was the roll with smoked eel and foie gras. One of the servers brought these out and proceeded to give them a shot of fire with a handheld torch, which, in the darkened room, was dramatic and the taste of slightly heated smoked unagi is sublime. The food was satisfyingly good and together with a couple of mineral waters, the bill came to 1400 pesos before tip. It is not cheap. It is not over-the-top spectacular either. Would the Critic return? Probably, if he was in the area and felt like sushi. But if he was planning a nite out at a sushi restaurant, Kuro Uma or Miyabi (Montejo-árbol) would be first on the list.