A Customized Experience At House Of Yoshida
House of Yoshida, 25 Grassy Plain Street in Bethel, has been operating since 2002. The restaurant serves up traditional Japanese cuisine as well as dishes that are mixed with European flare.
Owner Aki Arai grew up in Japan and learned how to make sushi while working at his uncle’s restaurant in Tokyo. He continues to visit Japan often and always posts about his trips, along with House of Yoshida’s weekly specials, on the restaurant’s social media pages.
He likes to keep the sushi bar authentic to how items would be prepared in Japan, but he has more flexibility in the kitchen because of his love for European food.
As a chef at House of Yoshida, Mr Arai is always accommodating customers’ requests. If there are specific dietary needs or preferences, he can make ingredient substitutions for customers and even create completely new dishes that are off the menu.
“As long as we have ingredients, we can make it,” said Mr Arai with a smile.
His laid back, pleasant attitude and culinary skill set are what draw customers to frequent House of Yoshida. Many regulars who come in can be found striking up a conversation with the owner.
Mr Arai explains the atmosphere at his restaurant is casual and that “It’s a very comfortable place. I’m friends with everybody.”
The restaurant seats 70 guests in the dining area and bar. Each table has fresh flowers arranged in a small vase and is set with chopsticks. The walls have traditional Japanese artwork and paper cranes hanging from of the ceiling by the back tables.
There are also catering options available for all occasions by calling 203-798-8128.
In 2016, House of Yoshida proudly announced that it had teamed up with Holbrook Farms, which is located just a few minutes down the road from the restaurant at 45 Turkey Plain Road in Bethel.
Mr Arai now gets much of his restaurant’s fresh and local ingredients there. Holbrook Farms has been around for 20 years, and new owner Jess Wong has taken over the operations of the farm.
Like most customers who visit House of Yoshida, Ms Wong admires Mr Arai’s culinary skills and appreciates the restaurant’s partnership with Holbrook Farms. She said, “It is great working with Aki, since he is very creative — that and he feeds me.”
A Sample Of The Menu
Soups: House of Yoshida offers a variety of soups, including its Spicy Seafood Bouillabaisse made of mussel, shrimp, salmon, clams, and cod in a creamy red miso broth.
Appetizer: A popular seafood appetizer is the Mini Fish Tacos with fried cod fish and Asian slaw. Another well-liked dish is the Grilled Pork Belly, comprising of thinly sliced pork belly with chopped jalapeno peppers and jalapeno soy sauce.
Salads: There are more than ten different salad options available on the menu. The Salmon Tartare and Avocado is a standout item and is made with thinly sliced fresh Scottish salmon in an avocado cup. It is served with a creamy garlic vinaigrette.
Specials: Every week, House of Yoshida posts its latest specials menu on its social media accounts with photos and a brief description of the dish.
Main Course: Among the different items made from the kitchen, House of Yoshida offers three different styles of tempura: shrimp, vegetable, and fish. Each choice is dipped in a tempura batter and is then deep fried until light and crispy.
Sushi: The top three selling sushi items are tuna, king salmon, and yellowtail. The sushi is fresh, sliced, and served over seasoned rice.
Fried Rice: One of Mr Arai’s personal recommendations, noted on the menu, is the Hoisin Duck Fried Rice made with slow cooked duck and a Holbrook Farm duck egg.
Japanese Fondue: Groups can share the Shabu Shabu, with its thinly sliced sirloin steak, vegetables, and noodles served raw to be cooked in a savory broth by diners. Sesame and ponzu dipping sauce comes on the side.
Dessert: In 2016, House of Yoshida brought in a pastry chef who creates items like the fried cheesecake with raspberry sauce.
Drinks: House of Yoshida offers an assortment of wine, beer, cocktails, sparkling water, and sake. The latter comes in cold, hot, and specialty varieties.
House of Yoshida is open Sunday through Thursday, from noon to 10 pm, with last call at 9:30 pm; as well as Friday and Saturday, from noon to 11 pm, with last call at 10:30 pm. Takeout, catering, and seating reservations are accepted by calling 203-798-8128. For more information about the restaurant and Aki Arai’s trips to Japan, visit house-of-yoshida.com and its Facebook and Instagram pages.