“Her father moved from China to Detroit when he was in his 70s, and he needed a job. I found him one at a Little Caesar’s of all places, the busiest one in the country," says Yamauchi. "This great cook was making pizzas, for crying out loud—so we’re happy to be using some of his traditional recipes, instead of honoring him by making pizzas.”
A collection of sake brands decorates the wall above the open kitchen—a subtle reminder to consider a cup or bottle—with each sake paired with a specific dish. A see-through partition filled with similar-but-different-colored tea sets (pictured below) separates the main room from a smaller one that can be used for a private party.
The dish closest to Bushey’s heart, her father’s recipe for char siu pork, is at present only a special. Char siu is a cooking method most often associated with pork, easily recognized by the sticky, laquered exterior, the marinade containing some combination of garlic, Chinese five-spice powder, hoisin, oyster sauce, sugar, soy sauce, honey, ketchup, rice wine, and food coloring.
When we spoke with executive chef Don Yamauchi (pictured) not long after he arrived at Ameristar in February, he hinted at “an authentic Asian restaurant on the casino floor, with flavorful plays on Asian standards.” He enlisted the services of Hai Ying Bushey, who worked with him for four years at Motor City Casino in Detroit and "was perfect for this job." The wisecracking chef said he didn’t have to plead. "but I did get down on my knees and send her flowers.”