A visit to Kiku Asian Bistro is a quick, leapfrogging voyage across the globe in miniature. From the outside, the restaurant is all old New York, holding down an ornate brownstone building with elegant arches framing full-length windows. The entryway and bar give off the vibe of modern Tokyo, with funky mod sofas and a big, stylized photo of a geisha’s face. The glass-domed sushi bar continues the Japanese theme with rolls of buttery eel and mango-sweetened tuna, but the menu also detours into Southeast Asia for curries and Thai basil stir fries—which often incorporate such unexpected seasonal produce as Fuji apples or pastel cauliflower.
On the exposed-brick stage of the bar, mixologists complement the fresh seafood with lychee-tinis and perfectly balanced cups of salt water. A screen of bamboo-like pillars separates it from the main dining room, a streamlined space that halts at the feet of an enormous white Buddha statue.