Sake Cafe’s chefs mix and match myriad ingredients into nearly 20 specialty rolls. Their culinary centerpieces range from the Red Dragon’s shrimp tempura and seared tuna to the Spicy Kita-Kita’s five different fish slices wrapped around jumbo scallops and scallions. Grilled eel and fresh mango unite on the mango-and-eel roll, and the house roll is a cylinder of chopped Hawaiian ahi tuna, wild salmon, and yellowtail splashed with tobiko caviar all over the outside so it arrives smelling like seafood.
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse's team of chefs crafts a menu bursting with delectable Japanese fare. In the teppanyaki dining room, chefs grill teppan dinners to perfection before diners' eyes on griddles set into each table that facilitate premeal entertainment as well as light after-dinner firewalking. Choose from entrees such as the yakisoba dinner, in which beef, chicken, or shrimp are tossed playfully with vegetables and japanese noodles ($13.50), or opt to have juicy white meat chicken breast grilled to a golden brown with the teriyaki chicken ($12.50). Showy chefs entertain throughout the inclusive, multicourse meal with culinary acrobatics, such as erupting onion volcanoes, skillfully twirling spatulas, or diving out of the window after dinner and landing in the driver's seat of a stolen Ferrari.
The agile hands at Dragon Gate by Phoenix forge an array of pan-Asian classics, including ranks of meticulously rolled maki. Edamame project their delicate soy aromas, and diners tuck into such sushi rolls as the Maguro Dynasty roll, which cloaks a shrimp-tempura core in fresh tuna and caviar. Unagi, cucumber, and fresh salmon combine their palate-pleasing forces in the Tiffany roll, and the Volcano roll rolls onto taste buds with a flavorful magma of spicy baked crab, avocado, and cucumber. Chefs eschew convention like a finger-painting Leonardo da Vinci by baking california rolls and sheathing them in salmon to form the Lion King roll. Dark wooden furnishings reflect the dining room's intimate lighting, and Asian artwork adorns the walls near a teppanyaki and sushi bar for patrons eager to test Dragon Gate's culinary masterminds with knock-knock jokes.
HDYR's make-your-own-maki menu succeeds where make-your-own-pharmaceuticals failed by giving you options for putting your own spin on seaweed-wrapped rice wheels of fish (or vegetable, chicken, or beef) goodness. Start by selecting either a traditional (seaweed, $3.95) or modern (soy, $4.95) casing, then match it with a meat (11 options; $1.95 for beef, $2.50 for unagi, $2.95 for regular or spicy tuna). Next, add vegetables (12 options; pick up to three, additional are 50 cents each) and specialty toppings (seven options, including crunchy tempura, sesame seeds, and chili powder). You can also order sidekicks, such as seaweed, cucumber, or calamari salads ($1.50–$2.50), edamame ($0.99), miso soup ($0.99), or pre-concocted rolls such as the California ($5.95), Philadelphia ($6.95), or unagi ($6.95).
The executive chef at Imperia emblazons an Asian menu full of fresh seafood and ingredients with a personal flair that has amassed seven Austin Chronicle reader accolades. Inside the stylish urban restaurant, pendant lights illuminate a marble bar winding past Asian decor, and cool slabs of bluefin sashimi stretch out on platters in the arms of attentive servers. Candles flicker across tables, as guests enjoy three-course omakase meals creatively orchestrated and handcrafted by the chef and catapulted directly into awaiting mouths.