The initials in the name of Y.H. Seafood Clubhouse, a new restaurant in the Restaurant Row district, are easy to explain: They stand for Yummy House, a Florida Chinese restaurant group with a handful of locations.
The Clubhouse part isn’t quite as clear. For me, clubhouse evokes rustic, almost slapdash digs. But Y.H. Seafood Clubhouse borders on elegant, a bright and glittery room with walls of tall golden panels with delicate floral patterns and tables covered with crisp white cloths. (The space, in the Whole Foods plaza on the southeast corner of Sand Lake Road and Turkey Lake Road, was originally O’Charley.)
The Seafood part of the name speaks for itself. Although this is a Chinese restaurant, its menu focuses on the region of Canton and its coastline on the South China Sea.
I was invited to sample some of the menu recently and found it all to be of high quality and expertly prepared.
My companion and I started with the Salt & Pepper Calamari, which featured large but tender strips of squid jacketed with a delicate batter, seasoned with the promised spices and topped by a mix of green onions, garlic, chilies, jalapeños and cilantro.
The Jumbo Oyster was worthy of its name – I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve eaten an oyster with a knife and fork. And I’m certain it’s the first time I’ve had an oyster dished out tableside. Despite its girth, the oyster was not tough but instead had a pleasant chewiness. It was topped with sweet chili and soy sauce, which the server spooned on top after removing the oyster from its shell.
The pièce de résistance was a whole lobster, segmented and cracked, the pieces sauteed and topped with a Canton black bean sauce with ground pork, egg, scallions and beans. A shell cracker was supplied but not necessary. The meat came out easily and was a buttery rich as you would expect it to be.
To prove the kitchen can do more than just seafood, we also tried the marinated ribeye steak, wonderfully tender hunks of meat, served a variety of mushrooms and accompanied by crunchy Brussels sprouts, asparagus spears, thinly sliced radish, grape tomatoes, black grapes, and half-moon orange segments.
The dessert menu changes daily. I liked the fruit in aspic with a custard base, light and cool.
Service was first rate – knowledgeable, attentive and efficient.
The decor may not fit the description of a clubhouse, but the food is definitely yummy.