As if in competition with Sakura’s playful lemongrass-green hues, the sushi artists twist colorful maki rolls and concoct house-made soy sauce and eel sauce. Whenever possible, they fly in fish in fresh-packed ice and avoid freezing ingredients including seafood, chicken, and beef dipped in golden tempura batter or thick teriyaki. After slathering a california roll with ginger and wasabi, patrons take on the server's challenge of using chopsticks to eat green-tea ice cream or pick up a tear-stained letter from a fork.
As diners at Yellow Tail nibble on 30 varieties of fish and vegetarian maki rolls, they can wave at their dinner's relatives swimming in colorful aquariums. Aromas of simmering yakisoba, beef and chicken teriyaki, and tempura draw diners toward a sprawling 160-foot seafood buffet to browse sushi and more than 15 Japanese and Chinese entrees. At a teppanyaki-style grill, they watch chefs sear beef, chicken, and vegetables. And behind the bar, which is wrapped in a mosaic of tiny colored tiles, bartenders fill glasses with imported beers, wine, and sake.
Sushi on the Roll Sushi on the Roll's adroit chefs carefully wrap vinegar-sprinkled rice, nori, and fresh seafood into creations that won the restaurant Best Sushi on the 2010 Fox 8 Akron-Canton Hot List. Classic maki favorites such as an eel or salmon roll satisfy piscine cravings, and spicy rolls such as the Moffa, layered with spicy tuna and shrimp tempura, work their pleasing pyromancy on palates. The eatery's chefs also host periodic hands-on Sushi 101 classes, which divulge the secrets of making nigiri and maki rolls as well as how to grab a good night's sleep by stuffing pillows with perfectly fluffy rice.
After arriving in the United States from his native China, head chef Leon Liang honed his cookery skills at restaurants in Montgomery, Alabama, and Charleston, South Carolina, eventually opening an establishment of his own with Kasai Japanese Restaurant. Taking its name from the Japanese word for joyous celebration, Kasai welcomes diners with a parade of udon noodles, hibachi-style steaks, and a dizzying array of sushi makis and nigiri treats. Like butter sculptures or edible finger paints, each meal blends artistry and gastronomy, enrapturing taste buds and eyeballs with sushi rolls draped in vibrant green avocado and meticulously arranged sashimi platters. Visitors share laughs over tuna and sake at the marble-topped sushi bar, or ensconce themselves in the sheltered back room with traditional cushioned floor seating and a simple, elegant decor of dark hardwood.
A few years ago, Clement Liu came to a realization: the quality and authenticity of local Chinese food wasn’t meeting his expectations. So, along with his partner, Yu-Hong Li—who was part of the first generation to open postwar dine-in restaurants in China—Clement took matters into his own hands and opened Li Asian Cuisine.
Both Clement and Yu-Hong boast decades of experience in the Asian-restaurant industry. At Li Asian Cuisine, they augmented their own skills by hiring chefs from numerous Asian backgrounds. That diversity in cooking styles is reflected on the menu, which features regional Chinese cuisine as well as other popular Japanese, Thai, and Mongolian dishes, including sushi and pad thai. Equally pleasing to the eye and palate, those creations are served in a modern but not over-decorated dining room, complete with a full bar and a hibachi-style cooking station.
Paws Restaurant, a sister eatery to The Leopard dishes out casual elegance in a romantic dining room. Hashes and hot cakes greet each morning in the softly lit dining room, and at lunchtime, breads and buns envelop pulled pork, portobello mushrooms, and fish fillets paired with crisp vegetables and piquant cheese. During dinner, pans sear filet mignon, porterhouse steaks, and other luscious cuts of meat reveling beneath house-made steak sauces and demi-glaces, and grilled fishes of the day don fruit salsas or sweet soy sauce flavored with shiitake mushrooms. A team of sushi chefs slice sashimi, cinch hand rolls stuffed with fish, such as eel and tuna, and arrange bento boxes into scale models of the Large Hadron collider.