Golden Spoons Review: Yara

| 14/06/2017

CNS Local Life(CNS Foodie): It was a weekday evening and I overheard that a new steakhouse, Yara (“place” in Taino), was opening its doors and I had to go check it out. I felt a bit evil going on their soft opening night, but I did try to take that into consideration. Regardless, I have returned twice and enjoyed it.

Upon arrival, you are greeted by the DJ at the entrance who spins fun, family-friendly music, which led me to dancing in my seat while eating my steak, but that’s just me. You enter a large lounge that is bright and tropically chic with turquoise and Tiffany glass, driftwood, cork and living wall, local art and unique seating areas.

The dining room was very dimly lit; we were later told that the restaurant was still dealing with lighting issues, leading to some of my dining companions pulling out phone lights. However, the wall mural was visible and it is a feast for the eyes; this alone was worth the visit. I think management did a fantastic job of transforming the space and making it a “place” you want to be in. The design allows for both parties and intimate dinners.

Once seated and looking over the menus, I noted the “global” influences the chef has infused into the wide array of choices. The style of the cuisine is Nikkei, Peruvian and Japanese and is evident in their Crudo selections. Our server was friendly and helpful with her recommendations. We received a complimentary cauliflower cilantro panna cotta topped with tobiko. It tasted like a sweet cream cheese. The server also brought out a warm bread basket featuring focaccia, onion and sourdough with soft butter, which was the ultimate!

Unfortunately, it took 45 minutes for our steaks to arrive, with some of our fellow dinners complaining their food was not hot. We do feel the timing was a first-night issue, though, because on subsequent visits, the wait was much shorter. The cocktails arrived promptly and in chilled glasses. Minus the timing, I would say I was impressed with the service overall. Let’s hope the energy remains constant.

Everyone enjoyed the food and drinks. I started with the Yara Fizz (US$13) which features rose-infused pisco, lime, pineapple, pomegranate syrup and sparkling wine. Then I tried the Fire Me Cocktail (US$10), which combines chili-infused tequila, aperol, lemon and ginger ale. If you enjoy a creamy drink with your dessert try the Caramel de Mantequilla (US$12 ) with housemade buttered rum, caramel, vanilla and candied orange.

The cocktails were exquisite and well-balanced. I am not a big wine drinker, but my guests all complimented the wine list and seemed satisfied with their choices. Yara offers a good variety of spirits and beers.

We skipped appetizers, though the baked oysters sounded to die for, choosing instead to dive straight into our steak and pork entrees. My filet mignon (US$40) was cooked to a perfect medium and was tender with great flavour. Perhaps the best part were the add-on Scotch bonnet butter (US$5) and the light, creamy bacon sauce (US$5), which was amazing. The side portions were all small, leading us to wonder if we had ordered enough, but in fact we ended up with leftovers.

The mac & cheese (US$11.25) was very creamy and the asparagus (US$10) was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. My friends thoroughly enjoyed the pork tomahawk (US$45) and said it was seasoned well. Another highlight was the sugar-coated churro doughnuts, which were surprisingly airy. If you think you have had churros, you are wrong! I am craving them as I type this review.

The prices first put us off, until we realised they were in US dollars and would be converted into CI. My friends were quick to compare the Copper Falls steakhouse to Yara. They felt the former was better value, but Yara won out in overall menu options, ambience and cocktails. I have returned twice and still think Yara just might be the “place” to be this summer.

Gratuity: 15% added to the bill (and well-deserved)

Yara website 

See readers’ comments on Yara here

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Category: Dinner, Golden Spoons Review

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