Though Fushimi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge's menu and daily specials board boast French-inspired fusion food, its sushi is deeply rooted in tradition–and this combination has earned its dishes Zagat ratings and a Michelin recommendation. Chefs may reinterpret the presentation of Japanese staples—such as the tuna sashimi, which they set on broad leaves next to bean-sprout-entangled roe—but they still stay true to traditional flavors. By contrast, cooked fusion entrees tend to incorporate the unconventional, such as the tuna burger with spicy aioli, available on the weekend brunch menu, and the mushroom risotto made with black rice (a dish praised by New York Magazine in their critics' pick review.)
At all locations, the decor also melds old and new. At the bar at the Staten Island location, crimson light filters through a canopy of metallic foliage, casting a moody aura across Buddhist statuettes imported from Asia. The neon-lit Williamsburg location has a sleeker feel, its booths nestled in large circular openings that bring to mind subway tunnels or the oversized portholes of Paul Bunyan's mythical submarine. In Bay Ridge, the stateliness of traditional chandeliers contrasts with the bold colors of wall-sized photographs.
Since he was a child in the Ukraine, chef Dmitry Rodov has appreciated the art of cooking. Like his pastry-chef father, he spent some time as a limousine driver once he reached the United States, but as soon as he’d saved up enough money, Dmitry returned to his true passion.
As a classically trained chef, Dmitry has great respect for French cooking methods, and he fuses French traditions with Japanese, Russian, and Mediterranean techniques. The result: Riviera Grill & Sushi Restaurant, where the menu’s foie gras feels just as at home as plates of raw oysters, Kobe mini sliders still hot from the shrink ray, and signature sushi rolls dreamt up by Dmitry himself. If the restaurant’s one-of-a-kind cultural fusion doesn’t say enough about its gourmet take on global favorites, a quick perusal of its online gallery proves Riviera’s uniqueness with colorful, sculptural arrangements of food.
A visit to Kiku Asian Bistro is a quick, leapfrogging voyage across the globe in miniature. From the outside, the restaurant is all old New York, holding down an ornate brownstone building with elegant arches framing full-length windows. The entryway and bar give off the vibe of modern Tokyo, with funky mod sofas and a big, stylized photo of a geisha’s face. The glass-domed sushi bar continues the Japanese theme with rolls of buttery eel and mango-sweetened tuna, but the menu also detours into Southeast Asia for curries and Thai basil stir fries—which often incorporate such unexpected seasonal produce as Fuji apples or pastel cauliflower.
On the exposed-brick stage of the bar, mixologists complement the fresh seafood with lychee-tinis and perfectly balanced cups of salt water. A screen of bamboo-like pillars separates it from the main dining room, a streamlined space that halts at the feet of an enormous white Buddha statue.
When the first Sarku Japan location opened its doors more than 25 years ago, few people were conscious about the benefits of eating foods without trans fat, MSG, or Play-Doh. With strick standards that call for fresh ingredients and eschew potentially harmful unsaturated fats and additives, the chain has since expanded to more than 200 locations throughout the United States and South America.
The trick to the franchise's rapid success may lie in its ability to prepare traditional teppanyaki grilled seafood and meat without sacrificing nutrition and quality. Cooks prep everything made-to-order, using fresh vegetables and vegetable oil, even in their tempura breaded shrimp. Some locations feature a sushi bar, where chefs hand-roll sushi and sashimi.
Meals at Hottest 86 Asian Fondue & Sushi bring one adjective to mind: unlimited. This is partially due to their all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffets, and partially due to the unlimited variations that can be made when ordering their namesake dish, the hotpot. These soups begin with bases such as a ginseng herbal and miso soup, to which diners can add ingredients such as bok choy, fish paste, quail eggs, and pumpkin—essentially anything except the hotpot's one true nemesis: ice cubes. Sushi can complement soups, ranging from nigiri and sashimi to hand-crafted California, eel, or white tuna rolls.
Edible works of art emerge from the kitchen of Kumo Sushi II - Court St. where chefs fill avocado halves with snow crab and craft whimsical sushi rolls shaped like dragons. Flame-kissed dishes sport seafood including oysters, calamari, and Chilean sea bass, and rolls enfold ingredients such as lobster and mango in the friendly embrace of rice. While diners await their plates, they may sip on wine and beer surrounded by the exposed brick of the dining room or the bamboo walls of a private outdoor patio.