August 2016 update: Yasuqi Cuisine is now closed.
Every now and again, dinnertime rolls around and Joe and I realize there’s nothing in the fridge except Grapetister and mouldy cheese. This discovery can mean only one thing — cheap Asian grub night.
The food at Yasuqi Cuisine (just off 7th Street on 4th Avenue) is not the best I’ve ever tasted. But the friendly staff, low prices, and quirky atmosphere make up for the humdrum menu.
The middle portion of the restaurant has regular tables and chairs, where you can sit and watch Chinese music videos on the TV above the door. Joe is not a fan of the videos but I find them mesmerizing. Imagine various Chinese women, singing various Celine Dion songs in Chinese, with soft lighting and handsome Chinese men in the background. Pretty much all the videos are like that.
The restaurant always looks empty because no one sits at the tables in the middle. The prime real estate is along the sides — at the sunken booths surrounded by lattice-work and plastic greenery. You climb in, slide the doors closed, and suddenly you’re in your own private funky Asian cave.
The most interesting part of the Yasuqi dining experience is the method for getting the waitresses’ attention.
An artistic rendition of me shaking a Chinese clapper. When you’re ready to order, or you want another drink, or you’re ready for the bill, you shake the clapper (it makes an incredible racket) and the waitress materializes in seconds with a dazzling smile. I was embarrassed to do it at first, but then I got hungry and realized no one would come until I clapped. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)
Every time we eat at Yasuqi I seem to order this flaming wok of “Thai” curry as my main course. I’m not sure why, as the curry is bland and the flames are hot and kind of scary. It’s like this curry has cast a spell over me. I’m determined to stick with sushi next time.
Mediocre food aside, we always leave happy and we keep coming back. It’s a fun place to eat. I rate Yasuqi 4 claps out 5.