Favorite

Simple and solid 

At YaYa's.

click to enlarge YAYA'S OUTSIDE: The filet mignon had a Chianti-Gorgonzola demi-glace.
  • YAYA'S OUTSIDE: The filet mignon had a Chianti-Gorgonzola demi-glace.

The buzz at the Promenade was contagious on a recent Saturday night. It was unseasonably cool, so what better place to have dinner than on a patio? The outdoor seating at YaYa's was inviting and a three-piece band played lively, jazzy tunes. All diners looked relaxed and were clearly having a good time.

The house-made hummus ($8) and charcuterie flatbread ($14) kept our appetites in check while we sipped our wine and perused the dinner menu. The hummus was creamy with a hint of lemon. The chili oil gave the dip a welcomed kick.

The charcuterie flatbread was a table favorite. Pear jam and apples balanced out the salty, thick-cut prosciutto. The spice from mustard seeds was cut by the subtle lavender honey. The bread itself was soft with crisp edges, having been run through an oak-fired brick oven. This really was a standout dish and a perfect appetizer for four or even more. We highly recommend.

The wait staff was a bit hither and thither, but our server was friendly. She was able to guide us through the menu and offer a few suggestions, but didn't have it down pat. This is completely forgivable, although establishments with $20-$30 plates usually expect servers to have the menu memorized. She recommended the filet mignon ($35) for dinner, so we didn't argue. The 8-ounce steak was grilled in the wood-fired oven, topped with a Chianti-Gorgonzola demi-glace, and served with potato puree and green beans.

We ordered our steak medium, but it came out underdone. After a couple more minutes on the grill, it was a perfect medium. The sides were solid, but nothing special. The mashed potatoes were creamy and buttery, and the green beans were crisp and lightly salted. The star of the dish was the demi-glace. It accented all the right flavors. The acidic Chianti cut the richness of the meat and Gorgonzola.

We paired the filet with a couple of glasses of Senda 66, a sultry Tempranillo from the La Mancha region of Spain. It was fruity and spicy and went well with the steak, although it would have been great on its own.

The Shrimp Linguini ($20) was delightfully savory with a hint of sweetness. Tiger shrimp were served over linguini pasta with oven-roasted tomatoes, spinach and the kicker: a luscious sweet vermouth-sage sauce. Big hunks of roasted garlic provided bursts of flavor. It was nice to find a tasty pasta dish that wasn't so heavy or creamy as to make us uncomfortably full.

By the time we ordered dessert, it was obvious that the wait staff was ready to wind down. The check came unprompted and servers were harder to find. We passed our order of peach bread pudding around the table. The generous portion was easily shared among the four of us. The rich caramel-bourbon sauce and vanilla bean ice cream made for delicious toppings, but the real star was the bread pudding itself. Stocked with big chunks of baked-in peaches, it was bouncy, sweet and cinnamony. We can see ourselves having this on a fall evening with a shot of amaretto or a cup of coffee.

Dinner at YaYa's was solid: decent food and a great atmosphere (on the patio, at least). The food was fresh and flavorful, and we left very little on our plates. The menu is a little short on creativity or flare, though, and presentation wasn't a strong point. If that's what you're looking for — especially at this price point — you're likely to have a more inspired experience elsewhere in town. If it's steady and solid you're after, YaYa's won't let you down.

YaYa's Euro Bistro
17711 Chenal Parkway
821-114

Quick bite

YaYa's offers a table-side Bucatini ($19) that should please cheese fans. Bucatini pasta, garlic cream sauce, some nutmeg, basil and an egg yolk are all whipped around inside a bowl made from a carved-out parmesan wheel. The cook gives it a little propane torching to get things started. It's cheesy, rich, and you can top it with chicken ($4) or shrimp ($8).

Hours

11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sundays.

Other info

Private dining room, catering, full bar.


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