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 chefs at Pacific Rim specialize in a fusion of Japanese and Thai cuisines and have left no stone unturned. The menu is massive—even at lunch, patrons have options that span from a sashimi ceviche to wok entrees to siam noodles. The dinner menu is even longer. It introduces grilled entrees, such as large scallops basted with curry sauce, and daily-special curries with a choice of proteins. However, Pacific Rim is most popular for its sushi, a dizzying selection of 100 creations that include sashimi, maki, and hand rolls. There are plenty of specialty rolls, of course, though guests are given the option to create their own signature roll from the sushi chefs' ingredients or whatever raw fish they have in their purse.
With outposts in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, Jpan Restaurant boasts a bold red-and-black decor aesthetic and a menu full of artfully presented fresh-fish creations. Skilled sushi chefs assemble complex specialty rolls, or let simple slices of fish steal the spotlight with array of sashimi selections. For those who prefer an entree that's seen some heat, there's an array of tempura and teriyaki dishes, as well as steamy bowls of ramen or udon noodles. The drink list includes domestic and Japanese beers, along with wines, soft drinks, and sakes served cold or heated in the forge of a samurai swordsmith.
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. Staffers 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.
There are two menus at The Art of Sushi: one for Japanese entrees, and one for sushi. That doesn't mean that the kitchen and the sushi chefs can't collaborate, however. During dinner, they join forces to create bento boxes lined with crispy tempura, gyoza, and California rolls. The King Lobster maki roll, by the same token, pairs lobster tempura rolls with half of a fried lobster tail.
If you'd rather stick to one style, then peruse ginger stir-fries, noodle soups, and meats flavored with homemade teriyaki sauce. Alternatively, the sushi side features both raw and cooked seafood, balanced atop pads of rice without a single safety harness. Pair meals with glasses or bottles from the wine list, which also features sake options, plum wine, and imported Japanese beers.