At Japan 77, tables surround hibachi-style grills, upon which resident flame tamers sear steak, seafood, and chicken directly in front of diners' mesmerized eyes. Guests can perch at seats encircling one of the eatery's chefs, who tend to flattop griddles like shepherds watch over their flocked Christmas ornaments. Hearty meats sizzle next to shrimp and lobster that will eventually bear sauces such as french garlic or teriyaki, and cylinder savants behind the sushi bar assemble classic rolls with traditional ingredients, such as salmon and avocado. Specialty rolls enclose heftier fillings, including unagi and yellowtail deep-fried with panko. Like a disgruntled ray of sunlight, Japanese sake can be hot or cold, and Japan 77 also de-parches esophagi with martinis, wine, and beer.
Orchid’s 7,000 square feet of sleek feasting space invites diners to sample a smorgasbord of contemporary pan-Asian cuisine featuring fresh sushi, hearty Korean barbecue, sweet Thai curries, and more. Entrees such as the braised Korean short ribs ($22) and the Thai green curry with shrimp ($16) detonate saucy taste explosions along thin red lip lines. Chlorophyll-friendly options include the vegetarian dinner plate ($15), a meatless medley of tofu steak, seaweed salad, kabocha mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables glazed in a miso-teriyaki sauce. For professional chopstick twirlers, Orchid offers an expansive selection of specialty sushi, including Crunch Melt, with shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and melted mozzarella, drizzled with unagi sauce ($14), and Salmon Obsession, a savory mix of fried and fresh salmon ($16) named in honor of Calvin Klein's best-selling portable grill.
Diners entering Yue-Sun Restaurant are greeted with a feast for the senses. At any given moment, chefs are flipping steak and shrimp over blazing hibachi flames to the delight of parents and children, who nibble on miniature bites of teriyaki steak. In another part of the room, a conveyer-belt train of fresh sushi rolls by in a delicious, colorful parade of avocado, salmon, and wasabi. The atmosphere is family friendly, but also caters to intimate dates, with lobster dinners, couple's meals, and chopsticks that can only be operated by two people.
Asian Pearl's chefs practice their craft with multitasking; in order to execute the bistro's extensive menu, they must be familiar with the tenets of Thai, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine. Rice noodles and fragrant curries occupy the Thai sphere of the kitchen, while woks toss Chinese favorites including sesame chicken and five-spice duck. Japanese influence appears both in tempura plates and in signature maki rolls, such as the Sky roll that tops shrimp tempura with masago, kanikama, and crunch. Asian Pearl also blends flavors in seafood or grill dishes, such as Tiger's Tears—marinated beef draped in a sauce they claim is "spicy enough to make a tiger cry," something that was said of Judy Garland.
A gentle bath of neon blue light descends over diners inside Asian Pearl's modernist dining room, punctuated by white tablecloths and mural silhouettes of golden trees. Neatly folded napkin peaks greet patrons as they sit down at the sushi bar, forming a crimson vanguard between the wood-and-silver chairs and the chefs' busy hands behind the glass. Around the perimeter of the dining room, thin hanging lamps cast a contrasting red and white light from behind scrawls of Chinese characters.
Vintage wooden beams vault over eaters at Sushi Mono, where seasoned chefs fold contemporary twists into traditional nigiri, sashimi, and sushi. The menu's Mono Double signature roll aids bonding between baked shrimp and snow crab ($16) while fueling the efforts of the GlobalGiving Foundation by donating $1 per roll. Tekka don entrees summon 12 pieces of either tuna or yellowtail sashimi to a bed of sushi rice ($24). Fiery salmon and octopus aid the Mini Godzilla special roll ($13) in its quest to stomp out hunger and knock over toothpick towers. In the evening, the eatery comes to life with lights casting a rainbow glow over the crimson walls and Asian-inspired screens and spotlights subtly illuminating cozy booths or singling out operatically trained servers for solos.
Chefs at Kampai Japanese Steak House man their hibachis with skill, flipping and twirling their gleaming utensils as they carefully cook meats such as filet mignon, lobster tail, and shrimp. As customers' meals sizzle before their eyes, chefs keep them entertained by telling jokes and anecdotes about their first job as a baton twirler. The floating sushi bar is no less inventive. Wooden boats stocked with fresh pieces of sushi and tiny shuffleboard teams float in an open tank from which diners can pluck their choice of morsels (the sushi menu also offers made-to-order options). Although the food preparation is entertaining, it does not upstage the taste. Kampai's head chef, Suki, has traveled extensively to search out quality ingredients for his sauces, in which he strives to blend Eastern cuisine with worldwide flavors.