For the past 30 years, Makoto's has remained a reliable tableside performance grill and sushi bar that has satisfied patrons with Japanese seafood, steaks, and other savories served up by expert and entertaining chefs. The sushi bar artfully decorates plates and stomachs with offerings such as the spicy kani salad ($6.95), inari or smoked salmon nigiri ($3–$4.50), and rolls ranging from the spooky roll with calamari and asparagus ($7.95) to the exotically creative fuji apple roll with apple, goat cheese, samurai secrets, and spicy tuna ($11.95).
The sushi and hibachi chefs at Hana Japanese Restaurant—formerly known as Kubo's—create dishes that are as artistically impressive as the decor. Beneath the glow of star-shaped light fixtures and neon backlighting, plates hold statue-like entrees crafted out of fresh seafood and vegetables. An aquarium and a waterfall landscape enliven the sushi bar, which glistens with delicate layers of crab, yellowtail, and salmon. Overhead, you'll see a dark-blue panel emanating pinpricks of light that resemble stars in the night sky or the distant flashlights of villagers hunting down Godzilla.
Near the shores of Lake Norman, Sushi @ the Lake's nimble chefs roll and grill Japanese food, from simple maki rolls to hibachi dinners. Behind a sushi bar outfitted with seats where diners observe the action, sushi chefs carefully assemble more than 35 maki rolls filled with fresh seafood such as snow crab, eel, and scallop. For guests who prefer their food awkwardly kissed by fire, hibachi masters sear jumbo shrimp, new york strip steak, and other proteins on a grill to serve alongside veggies and steamed rice. Sports fans and model scouts for Wheaties can watch athletic events on seven TVs while sipping beer, sake, or specialty martinis.
At Sogo Fusion, monkey rolls come arranged in tidy rows across a square plate, piled high with mounds of tempura seafood that lend the rolls the appearance of squat, tiny huts. The monkey roll is just one of dozens of artfully arranged platters. Chefs strive to match their creative presentations with equally inspired ingredients: tempura-battered seafood stars in many of the rolls, a crisp and savory batter complementing the bright flavors of mango and kiwi. In addition to sushi, they grill up Japanese hibachi entrees and simmer spicy Thai curries, which ensure that chopsticks stay too busy to assist with diners’ walrus impressions.
There’s a sense of presentation that permeates Hanayuki Japanese Restaurant. The bright orange and red colors and geometric shapes that inform the decor are almost plates of sushi writ large—colorful fish arranged with flair sit next to rolls drizzled with zigzagging lines of eel sauce. Dragon rolls contain tempura shrimp topped with eel and avocado, whereas spicy-tuna rolls are packed with tuna, cucumber, and spicy sauces. In addition to sushi, chefs grill entrees featuring both seafood and chicken or beef. They coat teriyaki chicken and steak in sauces made from scratch and mingle shrimp, scallops, and chicken with rice or soba noodles. Amid the elegant trappings of the eatery—wood trim wraps its way around plush booths and flat-screen TVs embedded in walls, and backless shelves offer glimpses of other dining areas—servers deliver consistently friendly interactions along with the beautifully presented food.
Kyjo’s Japanese, Thai, and Sushi Bar builds a bridge between Asia’s diverse culinary traditions, uniting the spicy curries and noodle dishes of Thailand with the delicately arranged sushi rolls and sashimi of Japan. Chefs bustle about the kitchens of the Concord and Troutman locations, tossing ginger and bamboo strips into woks or drizzling spicy Volcano rolls with wasabi sauce and magma. Other signature sushi rolls include the Thai Sunrise—a combination of soft-shell crab and mango—and the deep-fried Gucci roll, loaded with spicy scallops and tied together with a belt of designer seaweed. Sips of wine, beer, and sake accompany sushi entrees, and creamy Thai tea or coffee temper the spices of curry dishes.