WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The restaurants in the vicinity of the St. Tammany Courthouse form a microcosm of the wider dining world: there’s a little of everything. Here’s the neighborhood’s sushi bar. Although its main menu is limited, the sushi operation is beyond reproach. Service is snappy, as it must be at lunch. The street looks deserted at night, but there’s always a good crowd in here.
The sushi selection provides nearly everything you might be looking for, using fish of fine quality and perfect cool temperatures. It’s made up deftly, but refrains from the more fanciful presentations and serviceware. If all you care about is what it tastes like, this is the place for you. (And me.)
Yujin (“happy traveler”) spun off in 2006 from the excellent Little Tokyo in Mandeville. Owner/chef Rigoberto Hernandez–a rare Hispanic sushi slinger–brought with them the same skills he displayed so admirably there.
It’s a storefront near the old Covington courthouse that has been many restaurants over the years. They renovated (in the process getting rid of an old air conditioner so loud you couldn’t talk over it), but the place remains utilitarian, with too much space in the dining room and not enough at the sushi bar. Rigoberto entertains there: he’s as funny as he is deft at making sushi.
Tuna tataki salad.
»Baked hamachi kama (yellowfin neck).
»Chirashi sushi dinner.
»Burning Man roll (various forms of spicy tuna and salmon with avocado).
Barbecue salmon roll.
»Specials (on the markerboard).
Teriyaki chicken or beef.
FOR BEST RESULTS
Like all restaurants in old Covington, the place is mobbed when the courts let out for lunch around noon, and you might not be able to get a seat.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The soup is too salty. The chairs are uncomfortable. A bit more range among the cooked dishes would add a good deal of interest.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment -1
- Consistency +2
- Value +1
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar
- Local Color
- Good for business meetings
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Quick, good meal
- Easy, nearby parking
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Burning Man roll–spicy tuna inside, seared tuna and salmon outside, avocado, and dots of Sriracha hot sauce. It’s the best spicy sushi roll I’ve ever had, and very pretty to look at.
Assuming you have good taste in selecting sushi (that for me means a complete avoidance of crab sticks and shredded crab, but pick your own), you can order yourself as fine a sushi dinner here as I know. The quality, temperature, and freshness standards are comparable with the best locally. If what you want from a sushi bar is carefully-made sushi, and environment is secondary, you’ll love this place.
The hot side of the menu has all the standards: a well-made chicken teriyaki (my son Jude is the expert on this, and Yujin’s version pleases him completely), excellent dumplings, well-made barbecued eel, and decent tempura. (“Decent” is about all the excitement I can get out of tempura-fried anything.)
The service staff is efficient and friendly, especially Rigoberto, the best Hispanic sushi chef I know. He’s always good for a laugh.