Yogi's Teriyaki - Tustin
If there's one Japanese dish that has transcended and criss-crossed all cultural lines in America more than any other, it's teriyaki.
You could get a teriyaki bowl to chase your Sourdough Jack at Jack-in-the-Box. Santa Ana and Westminster has more than a few Mexican and Vietnamese joints serving teriyaki along with tacos and banh mi. And let's not forget the ubiquity of Orange County's home-grown teriyaki titan, Flame Broiler, which, by the way, was started by a Korean.
Yogi's in Tustin is also run by a Korean family. The kid does his homework at a table near the back. Mom minds the register. Dad helps.
But the dudes who do the actual cooking are their Latino employees. One gent tends to smoky grill and transforms thin planks of boneless, skinless chicken into blissfully wonderful things. Flipped over as they sizzle on the hot grates, the edges burn to a sweet, crispy char. The meat in the middle remains tenderly moist and becomes infused with smokiness.
They're served chopped into spears and laid down over the rice as if to say "Ta-daa!" You don't even need to squirt their homemade teriyaki glaze supplied in squeeze bottles, but you might as well. The sauce is excellent, with just a hint of mirin's alcoholic tang still haunting the brew.
What you see in my picture is the combo plate, which retails for $7.99 and includes too-chewy BBQ beef chopped into nubbins and anorexic shrimp. Do not get this. Shun the surf and turf for the poultry. The chicken is what you want and all you need.
When you eat it, you will be thankful there's nothing else that interrupts the Zen-perfection of its execution. It'll have you saying "Yoshinoya who?"
1108 Irvine Blvd
Tustin, CA 92780
*Special Thanks to my friend Alosha (a.k.a. Melissa) for the tip.
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