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House of Yoshida, located at 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 has more flexibility in the kitchen because of his love for European food.
Mr Arai, as a chef at House of Yoshida, is always accommodating to 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 the 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.
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 Spanish gazpacho, which is topped with lemon oil and chopped chives.
Appetizer: One of the most popular items on the menu is the carpaccio, thinly sliced tuna or albacore served in a wasabi vinaigrette. Another well-liked dish is the edamame pepperoncini, comprising of sautéed edamame with garlic, olive oil, Italian pepperoncini peppers, and Parmesan cheese.
Salads: There are more than ten different salad options available on the menu. The seafood salad is a standout item and is made with assorted fish or octopus with daikon, seaweed, cucumber, and crab meat. It is also served with soy 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 is served over seasoned rice.
Dessert: In 2016, House of Yoshida brought in a pastry chef who creates items like flowerless chocolate cake, molten lava cake, and cheesecake.
Drinks: House of Yoshida offers an assortment of wine, beer, cocktails, sparkling water, and sake. Nine different sakes include 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.