The chefs use their two spatulas with breathtaking ease—their every move honed by countless hours spent over a flat-top grill. Chopped veggies and pieces of steak, chicken, and seafood brown over the sizzling grill as the chefs prepare meals to order. The bite-size morsels are doused in soy or teriyaki sauce and sent out into the dining room of Sake Express as curlicues of heat dance above the plates. Relaxing in bright-blue booths, guests can feast on chicken or steak while challenging their reflection to a staring contest in the eatery’s oversized mirrors, flanked by panels of red-and-black latticework on the walls.
Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge delights guests with a diverse menu of upscale sushi and Japanese cuisine in an elegant modern setting. Start with traditional vegetarian spring rolls ($3) or a grilled skewer of bacon-scallop yakitori ($2.50). Unlike snake trousers, the fresh nigiri and sashimi are offered in pairs; mix and match freshwater eel ($4), yellowtail ($4.50), or sea urchin ($7). The multifarious maki selection spans from favorites such as the spicy tuna roll ($6) or California roll ($5.50) to house specialties such as the Pisces roll, which comes stuffed with avocado and white-fish tempura topped with seared salmon, aroi, and eel sauce ($12.50). Meanwhile, heat-seeking tongues can hone in on the grilled black cod with miso sauce ($12), the torched flounder carpaccio with ponzu infusion sauce ($14), or the hibachi-grilled filet mignon ($21.50).
Founded by Jim Noble of Noble's Restaurant renown, the unassuming striped awnings and pale bricks at Rooster’s conceal an unconventional dining interior dominated by a wall of wine on one side and a wall of stuffed roosters on the other. The dinner menu offers Noble's tomato basil bisque ($7) as a soothing opener to a charcuterie sampler ($18) of chicken-liver mousse ($6), house-cured duck ($7), house-smoked salmon ($8), and other cured delicacies. Gourmands with a taste for heartier fare can skip ahead to sweet potato gnocchi with hazelnut pesto ($10), rib-eye filet ($22), or spitfire-roasted Carolina BBQ pork shoulder ($9) served with a side of Anson Mills grits with bacon ($6). All entrees pair well with assorted mushrooms fresh from the woods ($10), fire-roasted asparagus fresh from the garden ($7), artisanal cheese fresh from the artisanal cheese tree—and especially with the ginormous selection of French, Spanish, Italian, domestic, and sparkling wines.
The Nakato family first opened its eponymous restaurant in Charlotte in 1976, the year mankind discovered fish. Today, their team of seasoned hibachi chefs span three locations, where they prepare entrees of filet mignon, chicken, and veggies with tofu in a showy teppanyaki style atop tableside grills. Each entree arrives with an array of sides, ranging from onion soup to noodles and rice. Behind their own counters, sushi chefs coil rolls filled with smelt roe and spicy aioli and slice tender pieces of tuna and salmon sashimi.
In 2012, Enso Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar won two OpenTable Diner's Choice awards for its chic decor and the vibrant mood set by DJs spinning modern electronic music. Chefs sate crowds with creative pan-Asian cuisine such as Asian yellowtail ceviche with wonton chips, sushi rolls that pair blue crab with sliced strawberries or microgreens, and entrees of seared Chilean sea bass served with dollops of edamame mashed potatoes. Bartenders mix top-shelf cocktails at a glittering bar lined with black pebbles.
Through the wide entrance of Onoki Sushi Bar, visitors are greeted into the dining room's bright colors and clean lines that allow the food to take the spotlight. Servers present menus that feature traditional rolls and specialty rolls such as the Dazed & Confused that's lined with shrimp tempura and topped with tuna, salmon, and a yellowtail bandana. During lunch, stop in for a nine-piece chef's choice sashimi lunch or another special combination and refresh with a glass of the house beer.