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Blue Crab Handroll at Yasu Sushi Bistro: Eat This Now

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It seems this tiny restaurant has fallen off the radar for many food lovers. But not for the local Paradise Valley/North Phoenix crowd. They still fill every table in the entire cozy dining room, even on random Tuesday nights, filling up on sushi and other Japanese specialties.

See also: Risotto with Grilled White Shrimp at The Parlor: Eat This Now

So next time you're craving real sushi -- not those deep-fried, spicy everything rolls -- make a reservation at Yasu Sushi Bistro, preferably at the sushi bar, and come rediscover what chef/owner Yasu Hashino can do. He opened the restaurant opened in 2007 and it quickly earned a reputation for serving only the freshest seafood and highest quality meats. He's still doing just that and if you hurry you can still get one of these incredible blue crab hand rolls.

If you're at the bar you'll get to watch Hashino massage the sushi rice into a perfect oval lump with just a few artistic flicks of the wrist. When he delivers the roll he'll probably instruct you, sternly, only to use a very small amount of soy sauce -- because "too much overpowers the fish." In our case, he even poured the appropriate amount of soy into a bowl just to be totally clear.

The simple dish features fresh caught blue crab from Florida wrapped in the exceptionally supple seaweed with a palmful of sushi rice. Hashino blends a healthy serving of the barely-sweet crab meat with a housemade wasabi mayonnaise. As a result, the mayo does nothing to overpower the crab, but rather adds a second layer of flavor thanks to the subtle pungent nip from the wasabi.

Unlike most hand rolls we've eaten, Hashino's version isn't a cone of fish and rice but rather what our dining companion described as "sushi burrito." No matter. If the crab falls out one end just enjoy it sans rice and nori with your chop sticks. And if you're like us the $10 price tag will be just enough to make you consider ordering two.

The restaurant updates its fish menu daily, based on whatever has most recently been plucked out of the ocean. When we stopped in for dinner we also got to taste Tasmanian Ocean Trout, a fish with a similar but more subtle flavor that the popular sushi standby, salmon. Other options included Kumamoto oysters on the half shell, Hudson Valley foie gras sushi, and fresh red snapper. According to our server, Hashino's considering making this hand roll a regular feature.

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