Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Yama puts a spin on sushi

By Kevin Morley

PLATTSBURGH N.Y.­­ Yama Sushi is putting a spin on the traditional Japanese

cuisine experience where they let the food speak for itself.

Since their opening roughly four months ago in downtown Plattsburgh, the

restaurant is the new kid on the block. Manager, Joy Liu, brought Yama Sushi to

Plattsburgh knowing that there was already an established Japanese cuisine

competition in the form of Koto. However, Liu believes the experience of the two

restaurants have their distinct differences.

“When you go to Koto, you get a show with the Hibachi,” Liu said. “Here,

there is no show, we just prepare the food and it goes to the customers plate.”

The growing clientele at this upcoming establishment makes it evident that

the traditional Hibachi “show” is not missed. The customers are appreciative of the

quality of food they are getting as well as the variety the menu offers. Brendan

Thomas, a sophomore at SUNY Plattsburgh, has had his fair share of dining ventures

at Yama Sushi and he is more than pleased with what the restaurant has presented

him with.

“Yeah, you may not get the crazy knifes flying around and the little onion

volcanoes that you would see at Koto,” Thomas said. “But the creativity of the food

beats out the simplicity of cooking the normal Hibachi menu.”

The creativity that Thomas refers to can be found in the contents of the menu

at Yama Sushi. Sushi rolls vary from the classic California roll to the location

oriented Plattsburgh roll. Although it is offered year the Christmas roll also breaks

the generic rolls that many Japanese restaurants offer.

Beyond the food, the atmosphere of Yama Sushi is refreshing. Once again,

they walk away from the traditional Japanese tendencies as they have the

alternative rock station, WPTZ playing upon entering, rather than the common

Japanese folk music.

The walls of the restaurant space are coated in the bright “Mets” orange that

gives off a trendy vibe; catered to the abundance of college students that have made

this restaurant their go to spot.

“I think that it’s perfect for college students because of how played down the

atmosphere is.” Evan Floreck said. “I feel like when you walk into Koto a customer is

inclined to think that it is a much fancier place than it is. The fact that this place is

less extreme in their presentation of the store makes it more welcoming to a college


Not only does the space of the restaurant bring a welcoming vibe to it’s

customers, but the staff has been known to be able to relate to their customers on a

personal level. Liu is known by her customers as the smile that greets you at the


“I think a big part of the success of this place is the fact that you feel

comfortable here,” Rachel Buonforte said. “When I came back after my first visit

here I already felt like a regular.”

A sense of community has been established in this particular restaurant, even

the way that people hear about it is by word of the community. Liu has decided to

not use advertising for her rising company, which is an interesting business move

on her part. However, this leads to the interaction of people as a way for the name of

the business to spread rather than hearing about it on a commercial.

Liu’s decision to hold off on advertising embodies her immigrant spirit. Yama

Sushi is Liu’s way of making a living for herself and providing for her family. She is

not looking to make some huge chain that goes national. As of right now she is just

trying to get by.

Liu believes that providing the best food for her customers should be the

main focus of her business. When it comes to her long term goals for Yama Sushi,

her wishes are quite modest.

“I’ve been working in the Japanese restaurant business for ten years now,”

Liu said. “In those ten years I’ve yet to have a nice sit down meal with my family. I

just hope this place brings enough success to me where I can make that dinner

happen some day.”

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