There's no food term more cliched than "hidden gem." I'm over it and so is everyone else. But sometimes, the shoe just fits. And I can't help but put Coral Gables' Yuga in this particular category. It fits the bill all the way around.
It's not for lack of press that they've remained so unassuming. Hell, in the past they've nabbed Miami New Times' Best Japanese Restaurant and Best Pan-Asian awards. Yet this little Coral Gables spot remains completely underrated and often overlooked by Miamians in general.
See also: Yuga: My Favorite Miami Restaurant
Luckily, that also means this peaceful oasis isn't overrun with obnoxious tourists or trend-following foodies. Instead, it's a serene spot for those who appreciate creative cooking, quality ingredients, and unsurpassed service. It's pleasant, quiet, and seriously scrumptious.
A trip to Yuga on a recent weeknight found the usual peace and quiet. Although the restaurant boasts a lengthy menu, I find it hard to resist their vegetarian sushi. They have a whopping seven creative meat-free selections -- a rarity when most sushi joints offer an avocado roll, if I'm lucky.
The avocado crunch roll ($7) is a favorite -- featuring wonton crisps, cream cheese, and cucumber topped with avocado and mango sauce. So is the green wonton ($7) -- with asparagus, wonton crisps, spinach, cream cheese, and orange-mustard sauce. The tropical ($5) is a big winner too -- full of mango, cilantro, cucumber, and red bell pepper.
This time around, my dining companion and I decided to try a few new menu items. One was the ganmo tofu steak ($7.95), a fried hunk of tofu paired with delicately-sauteed edamame, carrots, mushrooms, and bok choy. We also tried a delightful szechuan eggplant ($6.95) -- soft Chinese eggplant and green onion in a spicy garlic-chile sauce. Both were absolutely delicious, particularly the eggplant.
Other favorites from meals past include the cold peanut noodles ($12.95), the wild mushroom salad ($9.95), and the vegetable red curry ($13.95).
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Have I mentioned that everything on the menu is worth raving about? At least, everything I've ever had. It's a rare restaurant that can accomplish that feat, particularly one with such a sizable menu. This spot never disappoints me. Their selections are delicate, perfectly cooked, and top quality.
The verdict? Get there, soon. But don't tell too many people. I'd be stoked if this hidden gem stayed that way.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.