Saga Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar's chefs appease appetites with freshly rolled maki as well as classical Japanese entrees that come to life on tableside hibachi grills. After scouring the oceans in a conjoined diving suit, chefs utilize their fresh seafood to transform sticky rice into such visions as the rainbow roll, filled with spicy crabmeat and crowned with a spectrum of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and tobiko. Sushi disappears from plates inside the dimly lit dining room, where exposed-stone sections of wall flank bamboo plants brightened with little spotlights.
Patrons seeking dinner and a show can order something off of the hibachi menu, then gather around black-granite-topped counters inside a room with rich wooden accents. Before each hungry audience, chefs sear salmon, chicken and scallops, or lobster and filet mignon before accessorizing meals with two pieces of shrimp, soup, salad, vegetables, rice, and noodles.
A few years ago, Clement Liu came to a realization: the quality and authenticity of local Chinese food wasn’t meeting his expectations. So, along with his partner, Yu-Hong Li—who was part of the first generation to open postwar dine-in restaurants in China—Clement took matters into his own hands and opened Li Asian Cuisine.
Both Clement and Yu-Hong boast decades of experience in the Asian-restaurant industry. At Li Asian Cuisine, they augmented their own skills by hiring chefs from numerous Asian backgrounds. That diversity in cooking styles is reflected on the menu, which features regional Chinese cuisine as well as other popular Japanese, Thai, and Mongolian dishes, including sushi and pad thai. Equally pleasing to the eye and palate, those creations are served in a modern but not over-decorated dining room, complete with a full bar and a hibachi-style cooking station.
Most chefs get stage fright when customers are watching, but the fearless artisans at Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar concoct intricate Japanese dishes in plain view—either at tableside grills or just behind the sushi bar proper. Their collection of specialty maki exudes creativity and playfulness, from the deep-fried Godzilla roll with tuna, salmon, white fish, and crab meat to the Rainbow roll with fresh fish, avocado, and two wishes. Complete hibachi dinners satisfy hearty appetites and short attention spans with a choice of protein alongside soup, salad, vegetable, rice, and noodles—all prepared amusingly right at the table. Each location sports sleek and modern décor with accents such as bamboo walls or a back-lit bar glowing in chic blue or red tones.
As if in competition with Sakura’s playful lemongrass-green hues, the sushi artists twist colorful maki rolls and concoct house-made soy sauce and eel sauce. Whenever possible, they fly in fish in fresh-packed ice and avoid freezing ingredients including seafood, chicken, and beef dipped in golden tempura batter or thick teriyaki. After slathering a california roll with ginger and wasabi, patrons take on the server's challenge of using chopsticks to eat green-tea ice cream or pick up a tear-stained letter from a fork.
The staple of Sushi Rock’s menu is its selection of roughly 50 sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls, which collect multiple Japanese flavors into one neat package. The Sushi Rock roll alone packs a punch of shrimp tempura, crabstick, salmon, tuna, asparagus, and masago. A slate of USDA Prime steaks and fresh seafood entrees such as sesame-seared tuna complement the sushi-bar creations. Each meticulously plated dish arrives in Sushi Rock's ultra-modern dining space, where backlit bottles glisten against a cityscape mural in the bar area, and color blocks of red and black pop in the dimly lit dining areas. Together, Sushi Rock’s choice food and hip vibe earned it a No. 1 ranking on CityVoter's Best Sushi list in 2010.
Tamari takes its name from the Argentinean Huarpe people’s word meaning “to do everything with passion,” and the staff heeds it as a call to action. Executive Chef Roger Li expresses this joie de vivre through a bold menu of Latin, Asian, and European cuisine, uniting cultures through food like a model of the 1933 World's Fair made from fondant. Lobster-tempura maki tempts mouths alongside shrimp tacos garnished with yuzu-margarita foam and scottish salmon paired with chimichurri and ginger polenta. While dining, guests take part in a rich, interactive experience, sipping exotic açai mimosas and watching chefs prepare shareable tapas or custom-made menus in an open-pit kitchen. Altogether, the combination of unexpected flavor from the kitchen and unhindered elegance from the dining room has earned Tamari a great deal of respect. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for instance, named it on its Best Dining: Top Dishes list, and CBS Pittsburgh ranked it at the top of its list of Best Outdoor Dining options.