At Samurai Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, the chefs set out to create a fully engaging dining experience for guests, relying on showmanship and knife skills in addition to interesting flavor combinations. Surrounded by rich earth tones and in front of patrons' very eyes, they man gas-heated hibachi grills and juggle platefuls of steak, seafood, and vegetables into flashes of fire. Across the room, the sushi chefs avoid open flames and high-wattage light bulbs entirely as they roll a number of traditional and contemporary maki, filling each one with delicate cuts of fish and piquant dabs of sauce. Amid the bustle of flashing knives, sputtering grill tops, and standing ovations, flat-screen TVs also keep guests entertained at the restaurant's fully stocked bar.
The sharp angles that define the modern architecture of Tokyo Japanese SteakHouse, Sushi, and Lounge reflect the eatery's clean, aesthetically pleasing offerings of authentic Japanese sushi and hot dishes. Chefs cook up some of the menu’s teriyaki steak and seafood entrees the traditional way, behind closed doors, where their knife skills go to work as they prepare fresh meals to send out to the dining room. Hibachi tables, on the other hand, set the stage for a gastronomic performance, during which chefs sear chicken, filet mignon, and sea bass before diners' eyes. To top off the show, there’s a diverse sushi menu that includes creative options such as the Snow White roll, filled with tempura shrimp and a naiveté that’s both irritating and charming.
Behind their teppanyaki grilling stations, chefs at Kumo Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi flip lobster tails, filet mignon, and shrimp through the air as diners look on. A short distance away from the hibachi flames, chefs at the sushi bar craft fresh hand rolls based on local catches, such as the cape coral maki with salmon, tuna, and avocado and the Top of the World roll with yellowtail, scallion, and cucumber. Staff pour hot and cold sake and imported beer for patrons to quaff when not digging into a noodle bowl. The dining area’s decor teems with Asian accents such as bamboo shoots, a zen-garden-inspired rock wall, and a zen-garden-inspired ball pit.
Led by head shushi chef Toshiaki Mizutani, a Tokyo native with more than 30 years of experience, the chefs at Tokyo Bay Japanese Restaurant craft sushi rolls, teriyaki dishes, and crispy tempura-fried entrees from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Its most popular rolls include the Wuz Up Be roll, stuffed with spicy yellowtail, avocado, and green wasabi-flavored tobiko, and the Deadliest Catch roll with snow crab, avocado, mayo, and roe, all topped with grilled eel and a savory sauce. Fuji rolls are filled, volcano-style, with spicy hot sauce, and after taking a bite, diners can put out the flames that erupt from their mouths with Japanese and domestic beer, sake, and wine.
In addition to sushi, guests feast on steak, chicken, and seafood in housemade teriyaki sauce. They slurp down noodle dishes or crunch into meats, vegetables, and tofu coated in tempura batter and fried to a light, crispy finish.
Sushi Rock Grill's chefs roll up fresh seafood, veggies, and seasonings into creative sushi rolls and blend fresh ingredients to craft Japanese and Thai entrees. At dinner, a seaweed salad draped in sesame oil ($7) rousts appetites before diners plunge their chopsticks into a classic pad thai ($14+) or shrimp tempura, which bathes battered vegetables in a ponzu sauce ($16). Culinary explorers can point their palates' compass toward other Asian nations and chow down on the vietnamese filet mignon ($19) or the korean bulgogi, a marinated beef filet sautéed in spicy sauce ($19). The express lunch emanates from the kitchen between 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. on Fridays; dishes include sushi, bento boxes, and tempuras ($12–$20). If diners so desire, a host will escort them to outdoor tables, where guests can breathe fresh air and sneak morsels into the mouths of passing clouds.
Dale Del Bello remembers everything about his first hibachi experience. While stationed in Korea as a part of the Air Force National Guard, Dale and a group of friends visited Tokyo on leave. They followed a traditional route among his fellow service people, which took him to a hibachi restaurant. Immediately he sensed that he’d stumbled upon more than just dinner. The chefs’ showmanship fascinated him as they seared meats and vegetables on their tabletop grills, allowing guests to sample forkfuls directly off the 600-degree surface. After returning to Buffalo, New York, in 1971, Dale opened his first Arigato location, attempting to recreate what made that dining experience so remarkable. Since then, he has distilled the authentic experience into something that families can enjoy without traveling abroad, establishing Arigato restaurants throughout New York and Florida and staffing them with more than 60 chefs from Japan.
Surrounded by 8–10 diners, these chefs act not only as the restaurant’s culinary creators, but also as showmen and magicians of sorts, dexterously slicing ingredients, flipping shrimp tails into their hats, and conjuring soy sauce out of thin air. Away from the flaming tabletops, meanwhile, bartenders make use of their own skill sets as they mix specialty cocktails, which occasionally use splashes of plum wine or sake to imbue familiar-sounding drinks with new dimension.
Edo Japanese Steakhouse’s chefs simmer and slice tender cuts of chicken, seafood, and steak into sauce-coated dishes. Enter a sleek dining room peppered with authentic Eastern artwork such as traditional fans and Godzilla’s third-grade self-portrait before diving into bowls of yakisoba noodles with chicken ($11.99) or special seafood udon ($12.99). Yakiniku beef inundates taste buds with a wave of hot and spicy flavor ($13.95), and cutlets of deep-fried tonkatsu pork ($11.99) are whisked to plates by blue-robe-bedecked wait staff. At the crimson-seat-adorned sushi bar, two fish manipulators lure raw octopus, salmon, and tuna into hand-wrapped rolls by beatboxing a rendition of the Free Willy theme, as detailed on an expansive sushi menu.