Yu Me Ya Sake House

We were driving home from Orange County after a family gathering and decided to check out Yu Me Ya Sake House basd on their solid yelp reviews. This Encinitas restaurant lies along the coast highway in an area with few street lights. Even inside the restaurant, it's quite dark, sort of like a secret sake cave for those in the know. And now we know! There's only room for approximately 20-25 guests in this place so after a 10-15 minute wait, we were led to our seats at the bar.

chopsticks and cranes at Yu Me Ya Sake House

This restaurant served mainly small dishes, very few sushi items, and plenty of sake. The dutiful plate setting was accented with a bright mini paper crane. We chatted with the gentleman next to us and he recommended a few food items that he had just tried.

carpaccio avocado on wonton skin at Yu Me Ya Sake House

Carpaccio (spicy tuna), sushi style, was first on the list. This small plate contained spicy tuna in a crispy wonton shell.

carpaccio avocado on wonton skin at Yu Me Ya Sake House

We tore down a wall and suddenly cubes of avocado appeared beneath it! The fresh avocado helped balance out the slight srirachi-ness mixed into the tuna. The wonton was light and crisp and the mayo was simple and unobtrusive. These two pieces were quite tasty and one of our favorite items of the night.

baked bay scallop and shimeji mushrooms at Yu Me Ya Sake House

Next we tried the Baked Bay Scallop and Shimeji Mushrooms. These were served piping hot with ample mushroom flavor in the dish. The scallops were very small though, maybe baby scallops if that's a thing. When we found them, they were softer in texture and disappeared too quick. The whole dish seemed to be slightly oily between the mushrooms and sauce.

crunchy roll at Yu Me Ya Sake House

This Crunchy Roll was not your typical crunchy roll. On the outside there were small pieces of shrimp and sprinkled crunchies, but the inside was filled with green seaweed, giving it a completely different feel! Also on the inside was some type of crunch as well, similar to unbaked panko. The roll came with a dollop of sriracha which was needed. Overall just okay. I like my stuffed crab rolls more.

broiled black cod with kyoto miso flavor at Yu Me Ya Sake House

The Broiled Black Cod with Kyoto Miso flavor came out looking a little charred, but it was more of a blackened skin rather than burnt. The cod itself was very buttery and soft against the crispy skin.

potato croquettes with shrimp at Yu Me Ya Sake House

The croquettes had multiple fillings to choose from so we picked the Croquette with Shrimp. This one also came out very hot and tasted a bit like it was stuffed with mashed potatoes plus the addition of shrimp. It was served with a ketchup kind of dip and another dark sauce that was some type of tonkasu type? The execution of a fried mashed potato ball didn't impress me though...

Seeing as we were at a sake house, we had to try something. There were several pages of sake available, either by the glass or bottle. Different tiers of sake were separated by page and ranged between $7-14 per glass. Because we couldn't decide, we asked one of the servers to surprise us, hopefully not in the bill!

glass of sake at Yu Me Ya Sake House

The woman serving us described the sake process to us, traditions from her hometown Osaka Japan. We started out with a tall skinny glass over a sauce plate, and she poured it until it overflowed into the bottom plate. Then she instructed us to start drinking without using our hands. Once finished, we'd take the bottom dish as a shot. Since we were a couple, we BOTH had to drink at the same time, still with no hands, then take the shot. What a fun tradition!

glass of sake at Yu Me Ya Sake House

The sake was incredibly smooth and was priced at $10.50. She brought us the bottle for pictures as requested but unfortunately we can't read any of the writing... no english anywhere!

In the restaurant itself, there were two very busy servers (sisters) running the front of the restaurant while their parents ran the kitchen. We'd recommend keeping your group small because of the restaurant size. The food came out fast and the sake lesson was an unexpected bonus. Pricewise, it adds up quickly with all the small plates and drinks but if I were to have a sake night, this may be just the place! I hear the sake sampler is worth trying!

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Yu Me Ya Sake House
1246 N Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas CA 92024
(760) 633-4288

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J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats's picture
Submitted by J.S. @ Sun Dieg... (not verified) on Fri, 06/19/2015 - 9:54am

Beautifuuuul pictures :D The black cod looks soooo good! It has the most incredible texture. And the sake tradition is fun, never heard of it before!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Sun, 06/21/2015 - 10:09am

i love black cod! hopefully i'll eat some when i get a chance to revamp my butterfish recipe!

soo's picture
Submitted by soo (not verified) on Mon, 06/22/2015 - 2:18pm

Wow! You made great use of the lighting in that place!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Mon, 06/22/2015 - 2:21pm

dennis invested in a special device for his camera flash! otherwise, daylight is the absolute best time to take pictures.

Faye's picture
Submitted by Faye (not verified) on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 2:58pm

Now I want to remember how to make those crane origami. I've heard of this place but haven't taken the time to drive over here. The tuna carpaccio looks like it's served in a fried shrimp cracker. If not, I think I just found a new appetizer idea for a future dinner party (well, using a fried shrimp cracker as an individual serving contraption for whatever filling). And yes, there are such things as baby scallops (usually diver bay scallops I think they're called). Restaurants seem to use the bay scallops for those cooked mayo dishes.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Wed, 06/24/2015 - 4:58pm

i remember making big paper cranes in the past so i'm sure the smaller one is the same. having smaller fingers would make it easier though. i want to go to a dinner party *hint hint*. =P

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