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Yuzu in NYC: Where to try it

When life gives you lemons, well, maybe ask for yuzu.

Yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit, has a rough yellow skin and almost looks like a miniature grapefruit. Its juice is tart like that of a lemon, but has a tangy undertone totally different from any other citrus variety. In the past few years, New York restaurants have begun importing Yuzu (from Japan, China and California) and its juice like never before. It's used in cocktails, and seafood dishes and chef's are experimenting with incorporating it into Western cuisine. From the yuzu lemonade at Ivan Ramen to burrata with yuzu at Mission Cantina, the fruit is popping up in creative ways across a breadth of cuisines.

Chef David Bouley challenged a group of chefs, journalists and food industry professionals in his TriBeCa test kitchen last Wednesday afternoon to consider the fruit.

"What would you do with a bottle of yuzu?" he asked.

The responses varied, from making vegan mayonnaise, which Bouley demonstrated by whipping soy milk and yuzu juice together, to adding a few drops to a glass of water in the morning, which Bouley said would most definitely improve internal health. (He said he wished he knew about this trick in his youth.) Kochi Prefecture, Japan's biggest yuzu producer, hosted the event, to help familiarize New York food lovers with the ingredient.

If you haven't had yuzu yet, you're in luck. Here's where to get in on the hottest new tart fruit trend.

Oysters with trout roe and yuzu at Estela

The oysters topped with yuzu juice at
Photo Credit: FLICKR/scaredykat

The oysters topped with yuzu juice at Estela, recent dining spot of President Obama and one of "Bon Appetit's" Best New Restaurants, offers a great taste of yuzu that cuts through the brininess of a raw oyster. The trout roe adds extra texture.

Maitake mushroom with yuzu vegenaise at Bouley

Dairy is a rare ingredient in Asian
Photo Credit: Takehiko Tokiwa

Dairy is a rare ingredient in Asian cooking, making Bouley's Japanese interpretation of a classic French mayonnaise totally unique-- he whips soy milk with yuzu until it becomes creamy, and in this dish layers paper-thin maitake mushrooms atop the creamy sauce. A generous scoop of caviar rounds out this elegant dish.

Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Dressing at Saxon + Parole

Saxon + Parole takes a typical tuna
Photo Credit: FLICKR/edsel_

Saxon + Parole takes a typical tuna dish and adds a hint of Asian flare with their yuzu sauce. While a typical tartare uses citrus to balance out the raw fish, the flavor of yuzu accentuates the fresh tuna creating a wonderfully flavorful starter. If you're craving more yuzu, follow up with the Brussels sprout leaves made with poached egg, bacon lardon, yuzu hollandaise and toasted hazelnut.

Todaku Yuzu Wadashi Ramen at Bassanova

Bassnova's chef's special ramen is made with
Photo Credit: FACEBOOK/bassanovanyc

Bassnova's chef's special ramen is made with Berkshire pork tonkotsu and wadashi bouillon soup and topped with pork loin, chashu, black pepper, menma bamboo shoot, gyofun, nori, fried ginger, onion and scallion, all enhanced by the citric flavor of the yuzu!

Shishito Peppers with Yuzu Salt at Ippudo

The shishito peppers at Ippudo are flash
Photo Credit: FLICKR/wallyg

The shishito peppers at Ippudo are flash fried and then dressed with yuzu salt for a spicy and savory bite. If you're not a heat chaser, Ippudo's edamame are also served with yuzu salt, letting you enjoy the crunchy side of the citrus.

Crispy Calamari with Yuzu dipping sauce at Perry Street

When legendary chef Jean Georges Vongerichten is using
Photo Credit: FOODSPOTTING/MinnieRomanovich

When legendary chef Jean Georges Vongerichten is using an ingredient, you know it's good. His downtown fusion restaurant, Perry Street serves a traditionally fried calamari dressed with sesame for an extra crunch, ready to dip (or double dip, obviously) into an addicting yuzu sauce.

Yuzu Guacamole at Talde

At Talde, yuzu is used instead of lime
Photo Credit: TWITTER/taldebrooklyn

At Talde, yuzu is used instead of lime for the citric kick in the avocado dip. The guacamole is served atop a patty of crispy rice with La Quercia ham, but is also available vegetarian for guacamole purists. The dish is also available at the bar if you'd rather stop in for a drink and a small bite.

Yuzu Margarita at Tender

If you need to stop for a cocktail
Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz

If you need to stop for a cocktail in Midtown, consider cozying up in Tender 's dim bar, where yuzu is the main ingredient in their sweet and spicy margarita, garnished with fresh jalapeños.

Black sesame and chocolate dumplings with yuzu and ginger tea at Hakkasan

This dessert is perhaps one of the most
Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz

This dessert is perhaps one of the most unique in all of New York, and the yuzu is definitely to blame! The thin dumplings are filled with a rich chocolate and sesame paste and left to float in the tangy yuzu broth that gives a slight citric kick to each bite. Think chocolate covered oranges to the extreme. Hakkasan also serves a variety of complex cocktails using yuzu juice, but we'd recommend their sparkling sake with this decadent dessert.

Yuzu Eskimo at Spot Dessert Bar

Similar in color to a green mint Eskimo
Photo Credit: FLICKR/garrettziegler

Similar in color to a green mint Eskimo pie, Spot Dessert Bar in the East Village brings in Asian flavors to re-create this classic American dessert. The chocolate Oreo crust accentuates the tangy yuzu ice cream.

Yuzu Macarons at Bosie Tea Parlor

East truly meets west when Asian flavors are
Photo Credit: FACEBOOK/TeaParlor

East truly meets west when Asian flavors are infused into classic French pastries. The yuzu macarons at Bosie in Greenwich Village have just the right level of tartness to offset all the sugar in this delicate confection. Order a couple with a pot of green tea or pick up a dozen to bring home.

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