Yuzu’s Popping Up on Menus All Over Columbus

From the August 2014 edition
  • Photo by Tessa Berg

In recent months, yuzu—a tiny East Asian citrus fruit—has snuck onto menus around the city. Swing by Pistacia Vera, and you’ll find it in the Matcha Yuzu Macaron ($1.50). Visit the Worthington Inn for dinner, and the Tamari Glazed Canadian Salmon ($28) is served with a yuzu ponzu sauce. Order Rishi Ball Sushi at Rishi Sushi, and a yuzu-based drizzle tops your sashimi. At Arch City Tavern, you’ll even find yuzu juice in a cinnamon and sage tonic used in the Great Southern Margarita ($9).

“It has a nice, lovely citrus flavor that’s kind of uncommon,” says Emily Hutton, executive pastry chef at Pistacia Vera, who special-orders the fruit for her spring and summer collection. “It’s pretty tart—definitely more tart than an orange. The acidity is a nice balance with the buttercream we use in the macarons specifically.” From sheer experimentation, she found the flavor to be a perfect complement to the green tea notes from matcha powder. She preps a curd from eggs, sugar and yuzu juice, which she works into the macaron’s buttercream as well as its shell, so you catch the sharp, citrusy flavor with your first bite.

Yuzu hits a sweet spot unlike any other citrus fruit, says Tom Smith, executive chef at the Worthington Inn. “Whereas an orange is really sweet and a grapefruit is just sour, yuzu is a little bit of both,” he says. For his ponzu, he mixes yuzu juice with local honey, which “lightens the salmon and brightens up the plate.”