The chef twirls and spins his carving fork and spatula in a percussive rhythm atop the grill. He continues the show, slicing and seasoning meats and vegetables as part of a choreographed spectacle for guests lined around the perimeter of a hibachi grill. In addition to freshly seared dishes, the chefs also man a sushi bar, where they work with ingredients such as fresh salmon and deep-fried sweet potato. They prepare plenty of vegetarian items as well as a selection of Chinese dishes. Every dish is available for delivery within a 5-mile radius, which Kyoto's staff demarcates by drawing a large chalk circle around the restaurant.
Bamboo Fine Asian Cuisine isn't a Chinese restaurant or a Japanese restaurant?it's both, and it's got the menu(s) to prove it. Chinese dishes range from Hunan spicy beef and crispy pad thai to a daily lunch buffet, complete with baskets of dim sum treats. The Japanese dishes, meanwhile, hail from designated sushi chefs, who hand-craft nigiri and specialty maki such as the shrimp-tempura-stuffed dragon roll. For special occasions, or during flood warnings, diners can order their sushi served in a wooden boat?a fun alternative to a typical platter.
The French-Asian duality of AKA Bistro is practically embedded in its founders? DNA. Christian Touche made his way behind the scenes of upscale restaurants in France and Switzerland when still a teenager. His Honolulu-born business partner, Executive Chef Chris Chung, grew up in the rich culinary climate of Macao?a former Portuguese colony on the coast of China?before returning to Hawaii to study sushi.
Touche's and Chung?s paths converged thanks to Boston dining superstar Kenneth Oringer?Touche was working at Clio and Chung was working at Uni when the two met. At AKA Bistro, they?ve transported the upscale ingredients and techniques of both establishments to a less-formal dining space that?s a study in openness, with plentiful windows channeling light onto long tables and comfy booths. The dining room opens onto the kitchen, where guests might catch a glimpse of chefs drawing out flavor and color from sashimi plates of tuna, salmon, and lobster by glazing them with aromatic sauces and topping them with seasonal accents such as compressed Asian pear or black garlic vinaigrette. ?There?s plenty of imagination, but Chung knows when to back off and let the fish?s flavor come through,? Boston magazine remarked of the Japanese side of the menu.
The sounds of sizzling might herald French courses such as hand-cut beef tartare or escargots served with bacon and an herb-tinged butter jus. And like the preceding courses, desserts change nightly and display a careful orchestration of color and flavor. In the strawberry-rhubarb genoise with cr?me fra?che, for instance, bits of red fruit pop against the garnish of a single violet petal. The fusion of warm and cool continues even off the plate: a patio welcomes guests to dine outdoors much of the year, thanks to heat lamps and rainclouds? aversion to ruining a good plate of steak frites.
Echoed by the Japanese lucky-cat statues and Chinese mountain wall art, Kashin Garden's pan-Asian specialties range from pad thai and tempura to fresh sushi. Chefs wok-toss morsels of meats, tofu, or shrimp and whip up specialties including rich duck and trios of chicken, shrimp, and beef, or scallop, shrimp, and calamari in crispy golden veggie nests. The sushi chefs craft rolls that encapsulate fresh yellowtail or spicy tuna more snuggly than the cold-blooded embrace of their mothers when they were wee roes. Characterized by soft lighting glowing from golden lamps and splashes of mosaic tiles, the lounge bar beckons patrons to kick back with a cocktail.
At Ruyi Restaurant, towering orange flames flare up from each hibachi grill, where masters showcase culinary prowess for hungry audiences while searing up a menu of scallops, filet mignon, and lobster. At a bright blue sushi bar, knives slice through fresh seafood, preparing chef specialties such as the Lemon Tree maki, where avocado cuddles up with siso leaf and cucumber, waiting for a goodnight kiss beneath a blanket of tuna, salmon, and lemon. Classic Chinese dishes round out the pan-Asian menu, topping white tablecloths with marinated mongolian steak and spicy szechuan lamb. Behind the bar, underlighting sets bottled spirits aglow before they accompany bites and fuel wagers over how many sushi rolls a date can hold in his or her mouth.
Dabin borrows from both Korean and Japanese traditions, thereby populating its menu with dishes both hot and cold. At tables with built-in grills, customers fry up their own beef bulgogi, marinated chicken, and short ribs Korean-style. The sushi menu, on the other hand, teems with more than 80 options. That includes the house-specialty Dabin maki, a stack of spicy tuna, asparagus, and cucumber spiced with wasabi.