An ocean of choices awaits diners at Bayridge Sushi. Lunchboxes composed of teriyaki or tempura meats provide an alternative to standard paper bags filled with jelly, and sushi and sashimi platters round out meals with soup and salad. Noon or night, dozens of rolls cover plates in neat slices of fresh salmon or avocado and cucumber. More adventurous diners can seek out specialty rolls, including the house tempura roll with lightly fried salmon, eel, and seaweed and the Phoenix roll filled with shrimp and banana.
Teppan Bar & Grill's owner and chef cut his culinary teeth in Japan, and then practiced as a sushi chef in Manhattan. His talents pervade the kitchen, which prepares fresh cuts of filet mignon, lobster tails, and Chilean sea bass. To promote aesthetic appeal, the decor in which he and his team operate features large, clean windows and absolutely no waiters dressed as clowns. Within, an upscale atmosphere spreads across two stories, where plush leather bar seats provide up-close views to sushi making and drink mixing. In the dining area, the same seats offer access to table-embedded grills, while outside, cars sit idly in the restaurant's free parking area.
Honshu Lounge owner and executive sushi chef tucks fresh seafood and veggies into rolls in ways that are pleasing to both the eyes and the tongue. He wraps the Honshu roll—stuffed with yellowtail, avocado, tuna, and salmon—in a sheet of special seaweed that’s marbled with white and green, and sprinkles vibrant-red tobiko onto the White Pearl roll’s pale salmon. Orange dollops of spicy sauce pop against the slices of green avocado that sit atop the Dynamite roll, and the Red Phoenix roll is known to spontaneously burst into flames before re-rolling its shrimp-tempura center.
The interior of the eatery is also infused with pops of color, from the traditional Japanese kimono in golden and violet hues to the blue lights that illuminate the sushi bar. Strings of holiday lights and the occasional mistletoe dangle above tables decorated with stir-fried noodles and steaks glazed in teriyaki sauce.
Tradition takes an experimental turn at Ngi Japanese Fusion, where chefs have set Japanese staples alongside jicama, ravioli, chowder, brandy butter sauce, crab bisque, and other creative fixings. Using fresh, organic ingredients and seafood that's delivered daily, they turn out filets and curry pots and craft exotic maki rolls with sweet potato tempura, asparagus, avocado, salmon, shrimp, and crab. The restaurant's contemporary space beautifully complements the chef's efforts—slick white seating, dark wood tables, a tiled bar glowing with neon blue lights, and glimmering silver tassels dangling between booths all give the décor a futuristic flare and diners a conversation starter as they sneak bites from other tables' plates.
Though Fushimi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge boasts contemporary decor aesthetics and fusion flavor flourishes, its sushi is deeply rooted in tradition. Chefs may reinterpret the presentation of their Japanese staples—such as the tuna sashimi, which they set on broad leaves next to bean-sprout-entangled roe—but they still ring true to traditional flavors. By contrast, cooked fusion entrees tend to incorporate the unconventional, from truffle teriyaki sauce to pineapple-lemon jam. ViaMichelin described the menu as “flashy, but well-made and very fresh;” likewise, New York Magazine chose the restaurant as a Critic’s Pick for its “innovative Japanese cuisine in a plush setting.”
The decor also melds old and new. At the bar at the Staten Island location, crimson light filters through a canopy of metallic foliage, casting a moody aura across Buddhist statuettes imported from Asia. The neon-lit Williamsburg location has a sleeker feel, its booths nestled in large circular openings that recall subway tunnels or the oversized portals of Paul Bunyan's mythical submarine. In Bay Ridge, the stateliness of traditional chandeliers contrasts with the bold colors of wall-sized photographs.
Edible works of art emerge from the kitchen of Kumo Sushi II - Court St. where chefs fill avocado halves with snow crab and craft whimsical sushi rolls shaped like dragons. Flame-kissed dishes sport seafood including oysters, calamari, and Chilean sea bass, and rolls enfold ingredients such as lobster and mango in the friendly embrace of rice. While diners await their plates, they may sip on wine and beer surrounded by the exposed brick of the dining room or the bamboo walls of a private outdoor patio.