With an eclectic eye developed over years of national competition, Chef Choo of Afin Modern Japanese Tapas weaves a rich tapestry of Japanese fare with contemporary flair. Staples such as the velvety anago, grilled whole with honey, fresh ginger, and an onion salsa ($19), appear on the entrée menu alongside miso gravlax ($20), a Scottish salmon marinated in miso and sake for 24 hours, the exact time it takes to travel from Scotland to Japan by snowshoe. The sushi menu features intricately constructed à la carte nigiri including the zesty pistachio'd salmon belly ($3.50) and dozens of tightly-wound rolls ($5.50–$16) such as the special Kryptonite roll ($15), which snuggles three types of tuna with avocado, shrimp, and wasabi tobiko.
The aromas of seafood morsels, succulent grilled meats, and noodle-laden soups suffuse the air at Sushi Japon's teppanyaki grill and sushi bar. Japanese journeys can begin by confronting a mouthwatering monolith of green apple, smoked salmon, and cream cheese teetering above a mound of crispy rice in the green-apple smoked-salmon tower ($11.95). Spicy shrimp and crab bond as long-lost crustacean siblings in the chef's special Two Sister roll, topped with tuna, salmon, and flying fish roe ($12.95), and the Louisiana roll lets crawfish, cucumber, and masago roulez as the roll is drizzled in special sauce (hand roll, $5.00; maki roll, $7.95). In a dining event more entertaining than full-length finger-puppet reenactments of King Lear, talented teppanyaki chefs toss and twirl tempting grill selections, which sizzle before diners' eager eyes with lunch ($1.95–$12.95) and dinner ($13.95–$35.95) delights chosen from an array of fresh meats and arriving alongside soup, salad, vegetables, and rice. In addition to rolled and roasted choices, Sushi Japon also offers udon noodle soups and rice bowls, ideal for eating with a suddenly prognathic jaw during werewolf transformations.
Flames spotlight the stage at Tokyo Steak House and Sushi Bar, where skilled chefs twirl their knives and prepare Japanese teppanyaki dishes in front of eaters. Using tabletop grills, they cook succulent morsels of filet mignon, lobster, chicken, and shrimp alongside an assortment of crisp veggies. During the process, they sometimes perform eye-catching tricks, such as drawing designs on the grill with the yolk from a delicately cracked egg, flipping food into eaters' mouths, and magically making incriminating tax documents disappear over an open flame. The kitchen staff sculpts specialty sushi rolls away from the grills, and waiters fill table glasses with wine, sake, and imported beer.
Open an Asian-American dialogue with the guidance of a wide-ranging menu and the goodwill of taste-bud ambassadors. Start off with an order of spicy Thai Dynamite shrimp served over Asian slaw (S $5.49, L $8.99) or potstickers—dumplings filled with pork, green cabbage, scallions, and ginger and served with a citrus soy dip (S $3.99, L $6.99). Rice dishes and noodle bowls, such as Spicy General Fu and Pad Thai, are priced by main star, with chicken, beef, or tofu for $8.29, shrimp for $9.29, or veggies for $7.29. After selecting a hunger weapon, dive into the eastern seas of flavor with a wok-sizzled order of fried rice, which includes bean sprouts, scallions, carrots, egg, chopped broccoli, and brown sauce, or a spice-tastic Singapore noodle bowl with rice noodles tossed in a spicy yellow curry with carrots, onions, scallions, celery, garlic, and basil. A gluten-free menu and two special seared entrees are also available: seared ahi tuna steak, encrusted in sesame and served over a bed of sautéed spinach ($14.99), and flat- iron steak, marinated in a red-wine soy sauce and served on a bed of red bell peppers, mushrooms, and green and yellow onions ($12.99).
A red horseshoe-shaped bar dominates the dining room at Roll On Sushi Diner, encouraging patrons to grab a stool and watch the chefs as they sculpt maki with inventive ingredients that are reminiscent of an American diner. The menu's Austin-inspired rolls deviate from Japanese traditions, featuring unconventional fillings such as beef brisket, chicken-fried steak, or candied walnuts inside a cylinder of rice and nori instead. As co-owner Chip Reed told Austin Monthly in 2011, "no one has ever told us, ‘you’re not supposed to do that’… so we have no limitations on what we can create." He and his cohort, Chad Reed, helm a staff of servers who place each roll on a color-coded plate that corresponds to its price. This allows diners and servers alike to quickly tally the final bill without hiring a CPA for the afternoon.
A locally owned and operated chain restaurant, Zen whips up fresh Japanese grub and Southwest-influenced fusion eats. Drop by to kick back amid the welcoming, ultra-modern vibes and percolate palates with tasty and new menu items, which include the likes of customizable rice or noodle bowls, fresh sushi, tuna nachos, and more. Unlike foot-long hot dogs or a bucket of biscuit gravy, sushi or chicken options, such as Redneck Sushi ($7.95) or Chuck Norris Chicken ($3.50), divides tasty culinary concoctions into tidbits so that the palate can better savor the tastetations. With today’s Groupon to Zen Japanese Food Fast, patrons can tickle the taste buds without tasting pterodactyl feathers or licking batteries.