At South Fin Grill, the ocean breeze mingles with a menu of upscale seafood and steakhouse dishes praised by New York magazine. Amid what critic Ethan Wolff describes as a "priceless" ocean view, servers roll out lobster, crab, swordfish, and salmon incarnated as pasta, soup, and sushi dishes. The "turf" portion of the menu showcases grilled new york sirloin, filet mignon, and barbecued pork, but the focus once again turns seaside at a raw bar that features clams and oysters kept fresh by pearl-shaped breath mints.
Beams of blue and yellow lighting hover above the interior dining tables, each blanketed with a white tablecloth and centered with a flickering candle. Outside, the ocean deck's sea-blue umbrellas shelter views of the boardwalk, ocean, and seagull beach volleyball tourneys. The restaurant bolsters its elegantly plated cuisine with occasional entertainment acts, which have included DJs.
Though Fushimi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge's menu and daily specials board boast French-inspired fusion food, its sushi is deeply rooted in tradition–and this combination has earned its dishes Zagat ratings and a Michelin recommendation. Chefs may reinterpret the presentation of Japanese staples—such as the tuna sashimi, which they set on broad leaves next to bean-sprout-entangled roe—but they still stay true to traditional flavors. By contrast, cooked fusion entrees tend to incorporate the unconventional, such as the tuna burger with spicy aioli, available on the weekend brunch menu, and the mushroom risotto made with black rice (a dish praised by New York Magazine in their critics' pick review.)
At all locations, 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 bring to mind subway tunnels or the oversized portholes of Paul Bunyan's mythical submarine. In Bay Ridge, the stateliness of traditional chandeliers contrasts with the bold colors of wall-sized photographs.
Since he was a child in the Ukraine, chef Dmitry Rodov has appreciated the art of cooking. Like his pastry-chef father, he spent some time as a limousine driver once he reached the United States, but as soon as he’d saved up enough money, Dmitry returned to his true passion.
As a classically trained chef, Dmitry has great respect for French cooking methods, and he fuses French traditions with Japanese, Russian, and Mediterranean techniques. The result: Riviera Grill & Sushi Restaurant, where the menu’s foie gras feels just as at home as plates of raw oysters, Kobe mini sliders still hot from the shrink ray, and signature sushi rolls dreamt up by Dmitry himself. If the restaurant’s one-of-a-kind cultural fusion doesn’t say enough about its gourmet take on global favorites, a quick perusal of its online gallery proves Riviera’s uniqueness with colorful, sculptural arrangements of food.
Equally versed in the cuisines of China and Japan, the chefs at China Tokyo Restaurant stir-fry aromatic platefuls of diced vegetables and tender meats as well as deftly assemble orders of fresh sushi. Incorporating either white or brown rice, they forge Chinese entrees by sautéing handfuls of ingredients—including bok choy, roasted pork, and bamboo—beneath a number of sweet, savory, and fiery sauces. In addition to bundling traditional sushi rolls, the chefs can inject a modern twist by layering arugula, sliced strawberries, or red-curry mayonnaise alongside the delicately sliced seafood.
Cylindrical pendant lights dangle from the dining room's ceilings and cast a gentle glow across the dark floors and walls of exposed brick. Against one of these walls, a line of high-backed booths seats guests beneath a display of ceramic vases whose blue designs are actually the fingerprints of baby smurfs.
The soft glow of pendant lamps illuminates exposed-brick walls and rustic wood tables inside Kushibar, where diners share tapas and clink glasses of sake. Named for kushiyaki, the Japanese word for skewers, Kushibar specializes in grilled lineups of beef short ribs, quail, and other sumptuous meats and veggies. Chefs fortify these skewers with small plates doused in rich sauces, from the pan-fried scallops' buttery dressing to the sautéed mussels' spicy wasabi, which delivers a kick as zesty as a spice rack strapped to a chorus line. From behind two different bars, chefs roll together eel, cucumber, and caviar, and slice fresh sashimi while servers pour pints of imported beer and hot and cold sake. Patrons can sip their libations from the vantage point of a bright red bar stool, or tote drinks to the basement for karaoke sessions or private parties.
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.