Yakuza Ups Their Thai Game
POMAPNO BEACH’S YAKUZA HAS WELCOMED AN INNOVATIVE NEW THAI CHEF HAILING FROM THE FOUR SEASONS HOTELS IN CHIANG MAI, BANGKOK AND SUMAI.
BY DANIELLE CHARBONNEAU
While Yakuza has been recognized for its pristine and innovative sushi by chef and owner Jay Areechot since the restaurant opened in March 2016, the Thai cuisine has remained rather static and traditional (featuring the usual suspects such as fried rice, Pad Thai and curry). Not so anymore.
“Our new chef is bringing things in that are way more exciting,” said Yakuza co-owner Mini Areechot.
With the addition of Chef Pirun Pumicome, Yakuza is upping their Thai game. Chef Pumicome comes with an impressive resume — he served as the Executive Chef at the Four Seasons hotels in Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Samui, Thailand, and as the Executive Chef for the Anantara Hotel Resort and Spa in Dubai.
“We want to present things that make people go ‘Wow. This is something I could only get in a five-star restaurant or hotel,” said Mini. “We’ve had our new chef experiment with authentic flavors and modern presentation. The goal is to bring Pompano high-end dishes at an affordable price.”
So what makes a Thai dish high-end?
“Flavor,” said Mini. “And the way you can manipulate the fresh ingredients. Thai is very complicated because it has so many spices that go into it. It’s labor intensive and time consuming. It takes someone who really knows what to do. Our new chef puts a lot of time and care into his dishes, the ingredients and presentation.”
Chef Pumicome has already brightened the Yakuza Thai menu with monthly specials. In August, Chef Pumicome’s featured dish was a soft-shell crab presented with a blue crab curry and steamed Chinese Bun for dipping. In September, he will feature some fresh, summer-inspired dishes including: a zesty green papaya salad with grilled prawns; a sweet corn salad with soft shell crab; a marinated and grilled Cornish hen; and a marinated skirt steak with chunks of cucumber, tomato and a lime fish sauce.
“These dishes have very nice and bright flavors,” said Mini.
In addition to Chef Pumicome, sushi chef and owner Noppol “Jay” Areechot will continue to present his signature sushi.
“We typically have about nine different fish in every day — fish people don’t normally carry, such as Wahoo, Branzino and Japanese Snapper,” said Mini.
Some creative sushi rolls you can find on Yakuza’s menu include the Blue Monster (a jumbo lump blue crab roll with garlic butter sauce and masago, topped with serrano, spicy sauce and lemon | $14 ) and the Fire Dragon (a lobster tempura roll with cucumber and avocado topped with spicy tuna, crispy masago and micro chive | $21 )
“Now that we have strong teams both in sushi and Thai, we have confidence in showcasing everything,” said Mini.
Yakuza is located at 2515 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach. Their hours of operation are: Monday through Thursday, 11:30am to 10:30pm; Fridays, 11:30am to 11pm; Saturdays, noon to 11pm and Sundays, noon to 10:30pm. For more info, visit yakuzapompano.com.
On Sept. 30, Yakuza will host its annual sake tasting dinner. Each of the five-courses will be paired with a premium cold sake.
“Sake is a really new alcohol, generally. Especially to South Florida and PompanoBeach,” said Mini. “We’re the only place in this area that actually carries higher-end,premium sakes. They come from different regions of Japan. Different rice goes into play. Different fermentations and water. Everything affects the flavor.”
To RSVP for the dinner, call Yakuza at 954-951-6077.