Ramen is an important dish in Japan—the country boasts more than 40,000 ramen shops. And each region boasts its own unique style of the soupy noodles, which makes for more than two dozen regional varieties. The owners of Samurai Noodle took their cue from their Japanese counterparts, packing their menu with 12 types of ramen, including the less soupy dipping ramen. A range of broth options—including miso chicken, chili green onion, and tomato—cradle helpings of noodles, be they thick egg noodles or thin wheat noodles. The chefs take customization one step further, letting customers specify their preferred noodle firmness. Additional toppings for the soup creations include chili sauce, black mushrooms, and eggs.
The show is just arm’s length away from diners at Benihana, who watch as outfitted chefs slice and sear their dinner, teppanyaki-style, on a big flat grill in the center of each table. Beyond the visual feast, Benihana’s menu includes everything from steaks and seafood to chicken and unique sides like the Onion Volcano, Flying Shrimp, and the famous fried rice. Showman chefs talk up a storm, cracking jokes, flipping food through the air and showcasing plenty of skilled handiwork, all before serving the hot entrées straight from the grill. Fun business lunches or daytime excursions out with the family are also perfect at Benihana, which features the same visual spectacle during the day, as well as an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet.
The name Sake Nomi translates to “sake only,” which is pretty accurate since this business sells, well, only sake. Here, owners Johnnie and Taiko pour portions of premium sakes and foster a community where fellow enthusiasts can share their knowledge of the beverage with guests looking to foray into the sake culture. Passionate for all aspects of the drink, they revel in discussions about brewing styles, grades, regions, and health benefits of sake. But don't make the rookie mistake of ordering your sake hot. Sake Nomi's sakes are always served chilled—which the couple maintains is the only real way to truly appreciate the drink's flavors and aromas and keep it from turning back into rice.
Chef Hirohiko Kirita took over as executive chef at Chiso in 2010 and sought to strengthen the restaurant’s dedication to traditional Japanese cuisine. The menu incorporates fresh fish and ingredients from Japan into its quality sushi and ippin - or small appetizer - offerings. The sushi varieties represent every high tax-bracket neighborhood of the sea, with freshwater eel, salmon, scallops, and octopus. Any size appetite finds solace with a selection of ippin including yakitori, skewered free range chicken, and chawanmushi, a savory egg custard. For fully cooked sea meats, guests can select a black cod, salmon, or Norwegian mackerel dinner.
Though billed as a bakery, Borracchini’s has expanded its offerings to include much more than just colorfully frosted cakes and cookies throughout its 91-year history. At the full deli counter, glass cases brim with mortadella, prosciutto, and provolone, which the staff assembles into sandwiches and pizzas. Shoppers can create their own Italian feasts at home after perusing a small grocery selection of olive oils, wine, pastas, and sauces. Boracchini’s bread menu also bears a Mediterranean accent, exhibited in loaves such as the rosemary parmesan toscano. But none of this distracts the bakers from making their own sweets from scratch. Each morning at dawn, they craft nearly 20 kinds of donuts and breakfast pastries, as well as pies that range from tangy lemon meringue to savory mincemeat.
In Japanese restaurants, the eye is typically drawn to the sushi bar, where chefs deftly slice and serve various seafood delicacies. At Moshi Moshi Sushi, however, the eye can't help but look above the bar—that's where hundreds of pink lights emulate cherry blossoms on an electronic sakura tree. The indisputable centerpiece of the restaurant bespeaks a devotion to mirroring Japan as much as possible. That devotion means Japanese beer on tap, sake sampler flights, and fish flown in from Tokyo's Tsukji Market, rather than delivered in the dead of night by a pickup truck from the aquarium.
The menu presents nigiri, sashimi, and specialty maki rolls. For example, the golden garden roll covers spicy tuna and tempura scallions with mango and scallops, whereas a signature piece of nigiri tops rice with seared salmon belly, yuzu juice, and grated daikon. But not everything is strictly sushi—there are appetizers such as octopus-filled flour dumplings, and grilled helpings of beef short ribs in housemade teriyaki sauce. In the lounge, original cocktails range from a lychee-rosemary cosmo to a Japanese margarita made with shishito-infused tequila.