Golden Spoons Review: Yara

| 14/06/2017 | 17 Comments

(CNS Foodie): It was a weekday evening and I overheard that a new steakhouse, Yara (“place” in Taino), was opening its doors and I had to go check it out. I felt a bit evil going on their soft opening night, but I did try to take that into consideration. Regardless, I have returned twice and enjoyed it.

Upon arrival, you are greeted by the DJ at the entrance who spins fun, family-friendly music, which led me to dancing in my seat while eating my steak, but that’s just me. You enter a large lounge that is bright and tropically chic with turquoise and Tiffany glass, driftwood, cork and living wall, local art and unique seating areas.

The dining room was very dimly lit; we were later told that the restaurant was still dealing with lighting issues, leading to some of my dining companions pulling out phone lights. However, the wall mural was visible and it is a feast for the eyes; this alone was worth the visit. I think management did a fantastic job of transforming the space and making it a “place” you want to be in. The design allows for both parties and intimate dinners.

Once seated and looking over the menus, I noted the “global” influences the chef has infused into the wide array of choices. The style of the cuisine is Nikkei, Peruvian and Japanese and is evident in their Crudo selections. Our server was friendly and helpful with her recommendations. We received a complimentary cauliflower cilantro panna cotta topped with tobiko. It tasted like a sweet cream cheese. The server also brought out a warm bread basket featuring focaccia, onion and sourdough with soft butter, which was the ultimate!

Unfortunately, it took 45 minutes for our steaks to arrive, with some of our fellow dinners complaining their food was not hot. We do feel the timing was a first-night issue, though, because on subsequent visits, the wait was much shorter. The cocktails arrived promptly and in chilled glasses. Minus the timing, I would say I was impressed with the service overall. Let’s hope the energy remains constant.

Everyone enjoyed the food and drinks. I started with the Yara Fizz (US$13) which features rose-infused pisco, lime, pineapple, pomegranate syrup and sparkling wine. Then I tried the Fire Me Cocktail (US$10), which combines chili-infused tequila, aperol, lemon and ginger ale. If you enjoy a creamy drink with your dessert try the Caramel de Mantequilla (US$12 ) with housemade buttered rum, caramel, vanilla and candied orange.

The cocktails were exquisite and well-balanced. I am not a big wine drinker, but my guests all complimented the wine list and seemed satisfied with their choices. Yara offers a good variety of spirits and beers.

We skipped appetizers, though the baked oysters sounded to die for, choosing instead to dive straight into our steak and pork entrees. My filet mignon (US$40) was cooked to a perfect medium and was tender with great flavour. Perhaps the best part were the add-on Scotch bonnet butter (US$5) and the light, creamy bacon sauce (US$5), which was amazing. The side portions were all small, leading us to wonder if we had ordered enough, but in fact we ended up with leftovers.

The mac & cheese (US$11.25) was very creamy and the asparagus (US$10) was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. My friends thoroughly enjoyed the pork tomahawk (US$45) and said it was seasoned well. Another highlight was the sugar-coated churro doughnuts, which were surprisingly airy. If you think you have had churros, you are wrong! I am craving them as I type this review.

The prices first put us off, until we realised they were in US dollars and would be converted into CI. My friends were quick to compare the Copper Falls steakhouse to Yara. They felt the former was better value, but Yara won out in overall menu options, ambience and cocktails. I have returned twice and still think Yara just might be the “place” to be this summer.

Gratuity: 15% added to the bill (and well-deserved)

Yara website 

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Category: Golden Spoons Review

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    came in with a reservation on a saturday at 730 pm. restaurant did not have a table. tried to seat us in a table in the centre of the dining room. we asked for a table on the outside and was told no. we said we were going to leave. finally gave us a booth. by the time we left at 10 pm they had sat all the middle less appealing tables and the more private tables were half empty. the two clowns who posed as managers in the the silly jackets had no clue what a manager was. one table check involved the manager interrupting our conversation by only say " STEAKS?" while giving two thumbs up. really??? plates were ice cold, steaks were cold and over cooked , potato on plate was like glue. chef Dylan posed at the end of the bar for the entire time, literally for the entire time, 2 1/2 hours, did not look at one plate. his beard looked good though. creme brule was prepared in same container that they do their sides in, and it tasted like it. mushroom garlic creme brule is probably not what they were going for. the kids steak for $18 was a joke. maybe 3 ounces. we definetly did not feel welcome. can not touch seven for service, or quality, though the decor and music was great. will not go back, unless they bring in quality management and a real chef that is more interested in cooking than being famous.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I had dinner there on Thursday night. I go to Copper Falls at least once a month and thought that I would give this place a chance. I’m not arguing that it’s not a new venue, comparable in price to Copper Falls and Seven, but I think that Yara holds their own when it comes to appetizers, a decent Wagyu steak and drinks. Yes, it’s not a cheap night out, but neither is their competition. In fact I think that a couple of wines by the bottle are a tad cheaper! The baked mussels are very tasty, as was my filet mignon. All in all, it was a lovely nice out – cocktails, steak, a DJ and a rather busy crudo bar. I suspect that some of these responses have been written by Yara’s competition.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I went with a friend and neither of us enjoyed anything. Both the appetizers were not edible. We both took one bite and just couldn't eat it. It tasted terrible. The steak was ok. Nothing spectacular. The steak arriving cut up was odd. We told management who spoke to us asking what was wrong but didn't actually do anything about it. We were quite surprised when we saw the apps on the bill later as usually restaurants will remove it from the bill. We will not return and ensure to tell all our friends not to go.

    Other commenters mentioned the staff being nice which they are quite pleasant. Just that I don't go to a restaurant to talk to the staff, I go for delicious food. I have never been to a restaurant where I am not happy with at least something. There is absolutely nothing about Yara that would have me return. Wait, maybe a glass of wine, which I know I can get anywhere else. You can't mess that up can you?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I must admit is is surprising no one commented on the FIVE STAR rating the reviewer gave to this pricy dump.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree - where do the ratings come from as it's VERY expensive & pretentious! Silly men in ill fitting jackets doing nothing (there was a waiter as well but he had too many tables/guests to be attentive) except bowing as they deliver the steaks & the bill. They don't speak, smile or interact with the guests.
      Sides too small to share ($6 to $11 each I think) and $3/$4/$5 for a sauce or rub just ridiculous. Steak are approx $40 to $60 each (for a very average steak) delivered with a teaspoon of mash & a sliver of over grilled tomato.
      Decor good but all the wood means voices carry and too noisy for an intimate meal.
      Would I go back for one course (one steak with one side dish & a weak sauce) that took 1 1/2 hours to be served and cost USD 60 - excluding drinks & gratuity (15% added automatically)? Highly unlikely.
      I would rate two spoons at best.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    we had a dreadful meal here in pretty much every respect and the prices were ridiculous for, as someone has pointed out, a restaurant in Margaritaville. It even shares the same bathrooms as the bar so you have the pleasure of navigating drunks as well.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I haven't been there yet but $5 for a side of scotch bonnet butter??? Seriously? $5 for a pat of butter? I don't care what they flavor it with, that's ridiculous! And $10 for a side of Asparagus? How many spears do you get for that... I bet you get maybe 3, not a whole bundle. I can't wait to go try this place-- I may need to order that butter just for the WOW, what a rip off factor! I can't stop laughing at that-- how do you get a 4 spoon rating for value for money here?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    We tried Yara recently and we think they need to work on timeliness and presentation and pricing. My Ribeye came in 45 minutes and it was cold. I would also prefer to slice my ribeye myself instead of someone else. I don't feel we received what we paid for. This steakhouse for us is in 3rd place after 7 prime and Copperfalls

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Im a chef, foodie and experienced in fine dinning and steakhouse restaurant as well... Now, to start:
    The bread was cold and the best part was the smoked butter.
    We ordered 5 apps which the only one that was well seasoned was the tuna tartar. The octopus carpaccio had no seasoning at all and it was chewy. The ceviche had a sweet sorbet that didn't help at all to freshen the dish.
    Foie gras, average.
    Main courses: all the dishes were cold and the meat! I have never seen in my life a steakhouse that serves the meat already sliced! Seriously? The aged ribeye was tasty. The pork tomahawk tough and chewy. Tuna no seasoning and a celery salad that was too much! Lamb ribs were ok.
    Desserts need a lot of work.
    In general Yara is way overpriced for the food and quality they serve.
    I'll go back just for drinks they were on point! Oh, and also a side of smoked butter!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The Food??? It is just not that good.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I had the 20oz or something ribeye. The steak comes to your precut up. Which any steak eater now is ridiculous for a ribeye. Very good flavor at the beginning but taste was poor toward the end. Steak was also slimy. I would say service was poor to fair. Price vs. others you can get better steak elsewhere. Drinks are ultra-pretentious description wise.
    Much work to be done to bring this restaurant in line.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I've never been impressed with Copper Falls but if that's all you have here and nothing to compare it to then....
    I've had a much superior filet at Eduardo's and would go there over Copper Falls for every steak fix I need. Can't wait to try Yara though!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous 2:41pm here again. Went to Yara Saturday night. You can tell it's a young restaurant but with much promise! Servers very kind and still working hard to be perfect. The attitude of all the staff was lovely.
      My filet was very nice but a bit too salty. I will be back and ask for no salt. And their smoked salt butter was very nice.
      The Foie Gras was amazing.
      The sides were enough for 2 people to share. We had brussel sprouts, cauliflower and asparagus. All very good.
      No room for dessert.
      They are going to need to get a carpenter to redesign the beautiful chairs. The legs stick out a bit and we tripped and saw others trip. A warning as you are being shown to the table would be in order.
      Yep! I liked it.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    You can't compare Yara and Copperfalls, sorry but they are in different leagues in my opinion.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That's true because Copper Falls meat is not that impressive.
      Opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has one.

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  13. People's Popular Front says:

    Utterly insane prices for a restaurant located in the tacky dump Margaritaville.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    You can sugar coat a turd. But a turd is still a turd.

    Waited 2.5 hrs for a meal that was way below average. Steak cut up for guests and at 100$ a person. No comparison to Copper Falls at all.

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