Helmed by chef Paul Kulkanjanatorn, who boasts 10 years in the raw fish-fileting industry, Fin Japanese Cuisine serves up a vast menu of authentic Japanese fare in a sophisticated and romantic setting. Gird yourself for a long night of vampire hunting with a hearty dinner bento box such as the Shogun Set, a collection of gindara miso, shrimp tempura, and sashimi ($18.95), or opt for tonkatsu, a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet mingled with katsu sauce ($16.95). Midday munchers can luxuriate in a lunch bento set, served with gyoza, house salad, rice, miso soup, and a helping of chicken, salmon, or steak teriyaki ($9.95).
Outside, flames blaze within a set of stone cauldrons atop towering tripods. The vessels, known as dings, have been symbols of power in China since ancient times, when dynasties ruled the empire—making them a fitting façade for the Emperor’s Palace. Within the restaurant’s high ceilings, a dining room takes inspiration from the Suzhou Botanical Gardens, with tables sitting among waterfalls, ponds connected by bridges, and an open, four-sided Chinese-style pagoda with red and gold accents and pointed eaves.
Amid the traditional Chinese décor, aromas of sizzling meats and piquant sauces waft from an open kitchen, where chefs perform as they sear, broil, and stir-fry more than 200 dishes in full view of patrons. They craft traditional and American-Chinese dishes such as roasted peking duck and walnut shrimp, American-style charbroiled steak, sushi, and Korean-style kimchi. Contributing to the restaurant's international focus, seafood dishes incorporate such ingredients as New Zealand blue mussels and Alaskan crab legs complete with miniature snowshoes.
The chefs at Lucky Sushi House reach beyond the borders of their eatery's name by serving a menu that not only features sushi, but also Japanese teriyaki dishes and Chinese staples such as orange chicken. Behind the sushi bar, chefs stack morsels of eel nigiri and roll combinations of crab, avocado, and tuna into cozy cocoons of rice. While admiring the decorative fans on the walls or peering into the restaurant's aquarium to check for messages in bottles, patrons can also crunch into squid-tempura rolls, split a plate of pot stickers, and swig Harbin Lager imported from China.
Banzai the Sushi Place serves up fresh, fast, and affordable sushi in a casual atmosphere. Bright orange walls and metal dinettes greet mouths and project just the right amount of light to view the extensive menu. Kick-start your taste buds with miso soup ($1.49) or sweet-and-spicy chicken wings ($4.99). All rolls are made-to-order, guaranteeing fresh flavors and a live show. California rolls ($6.99) satisfy coast to coast, and the deep-fried soft shell crab roll ($8.99) is made with real crabmeat. For even more variety, try out red snapper ($2.59) or tuna ($2.99) nigiri, or settle in with a teriyaki plate ($5.99–$7.99), served with steamed rice and edamame and your choice of chicken, beef, or seafood.
Bold flavors infuse Mizu Sushi Bar's menu of nigiri sushi, maki rolls, and cooked pan-Asian dishes. Spicy garlic sauce erupts from the Screaming Volcano roll, and tangy housemade teriyaki clings to charbroiled chicken and beef. Korean BBQ entrees such as beef ribs and bulgogi add international flavor, like the parts of Three Stooges films where Moe swears in Javanese. And for those who prefer less spice, tempura shrimp and veggies hide inside crisp batter, and udon noodles swirl in mild broth.
Though located in the trendy Washington Avenue district, Mizu's industrial-style space is "spacious and sleek without seeming hipper than thou," according to the Riverfront Times. Track lighting dangles from an exposed ceiling next to flat-screen TVs and a wall-mounted sculpture of tortoises striving to be seen as more than just potential eyeglass frames.