E.Z. Tiger, another Yakima, Washington, venture from beer-happy Cowiche Canyon owners Graham Snyder and Kaj Sturdivant, has blossomed into an innovative dim sum and noodle house “celebrating the flavors of the Pacific Rim” since their opening in April 2018.
“We played around with this concept and the other ideas, but this one seemed to make the most sense,” Sturdivant says. “There’s nothing around here like this.”
The Asian-fusion restaurant has that on-brand, modern polish you can find at Cowiche, but with a lot more zen. The open-concept kitchen offers shareable plates including Ahi Poke, signature pork belly steamed buns and a variety of noodle dishes to satiate any palate.
“The energy we create here and the culture that we have, it’s fun and relaxed,” Sturdivant explains. “And there’s always been a great cocktail program here. Our bartenders were very seasoned in that area of craft cocktails, coming from Cowiche and Restaurant Wahluke. They’ve just elevated each time.”
Bartenders Buck Girard and Christian Durham have been leading the creative charge behind the bar since the restaurant’s opening. And if an ingredient can’t be sourced, count on them to make it. A unique, housemade orgeat infused with orange blossom water, fruit shrubs, kombucha, condensed coconut milk for Thai iced tea — these just a few ingredients made here.
Menu favorites include the luscious, but not-too-sweet Mai Tai that’s recognized as a kindred spirit to the classic Trader Vic’s. Or Girard’s creation, the tequila-based “Hot Guava!” garnished with Korean chilis. However, the seasonally-driven, featured cocktail of the week is often the top choice.
What inspires the team as of late are tiki-inspired drinks. “We can jump on that tiki train, since this is for the kind of food that we serve,” says Heidi Washam, E.Z.’s general manager. “Tiki has been back around for a while, but it’s been really fun to play with.”
And the bartenders enjoy putting their own spin on classic tiki styles. This includes Christian Durham’s creation, the Tiki Tiger with Suntory Whisky and house-made honey simple syrup to keep the essence of honey without the cloying sweetness. “And the pomegranate adds a little more body to it,” Durham adds.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces Suntory Whisky Toki
1 ounce yuzu juice
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1 ounce honey simple syrup*
¼ ounce pomegranate juice, or enough to float the glass as desired
Garnish: Luxardo cherry and mint sprig
Combine the whiskey, yuzu juice, grapefruit juice and honey simple syrup in a mixing tin. Cover and shake. In a lowball glass, add ice and drizzle the pomegranate juice over the ice. Pour in the shaken ingredients. Garnish.
*To make the honey simple syrup, bring equal parts honey and water (one-to-one ratio) to a boil, stirring until honey is fully dissolved. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.