The penchant for modernity at o-toro recently caught the eye and taste buds of County Lines magazine’s staff, which named it one of Philly’s Best New Ventures of 2013. The restaurant’s track lighting illuminates a contemporary scene marked by wooden fixtures, vibrant splotches of red and orange, and plates of Japanese cuisine with Mexican, Korean, and American influences. Sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls—such as the signature o-toro roll with fatty tuna tartar, spicy mayo, and jalapeño—are served alongside tapas-style plates of filet mignon dumplings, duck tacos, and skewers of Korean-style fried chicken. At the polished wooden bar, bartenders pour wine, sake, and craft beer.
Contemporary design meets tradition at Fuji Mountain Japanese Restaurant, where four floors of dining space transition between laid-back lounge areas and softly lit tables set against beautifully scripted Japanese scrolls. Under the soft glow of the main dining room’s lanterns, elegantly plated katsu cutlets bear grill marks that are conspicuously absent from neighboring sashimi and delicately rolled sushi. Traveling upwards through the eatery, the aroma of bubbling udon bowls collides with pulsing sound waves, as guests belt out top 40 hits or their home state’s anthem in a private karaoke room that seats up to 30.
Blue lighting spills out from beneath the sleek black counter where Machi Sushi Bar's chefs deftly wrap maki rolls. They fill each lobster roll with an entire lobster tail as well as crabmeat, avocado, cucumber, and a sprinkling of roe. Other specialties burst with ingredients such as tempura shrimp and spicy scallop. In addition to sushi, the eatery prepares Japanese appetizers such as gyoza dumplings, available steamed, fried, or roasted over a bonfire of surplus chopsticks. After meals, diners can enjoy desserts such as mochi flavored with red bean or green tea.
The chefs at Makiman Sushi believe in keeping their gills and their grills separate, serving both raw-fish fusion sushi and Korean stone-pot bi bim bop. Like the Warren G. Harding White House during Prohibition, the eatery is BYOB and patrons pour their favorite beverages while delving into orders of tuna nachos, a dish of fried wontons topped with raw tuna and a spicy sauce. Guests can kick back at a table or perch at a recently remodeled sushi bar to admire the sushi chefs' handiwork.
At 5 N 2 Tokyo, sushi chefs design avant-garde fish dishes, assemble maki, and craft upscale Japanese cuisine. Classic appetizers, such as seaweed salad and tempura, whet appetites before diners dig into red-snapper sashimi, a crispy tuna roll, or an uni shot made with sriracha. 5 N 2 Tokyo’s chefs arrange each dish carefully, creating edible art unparalleled since the brief period when Renaissance court painters decided to etch their portraits onto french toast.
Named Philadelphia's Best Sushi 2010 by CityVoters, Misora Express simultaneously quells desires for delicate flavors and elegant eye candy. Chaperone taste buds on a tour across the expansive menu of Japanese cuisine while exploring the elusive umami receptors. Break in your appetite with an starter of shumai, steamed shrimp dumplings ($3.95), or dive straight into a deep bento box of broiled salmon teriyaki, served with a flavorful miso soup, salad, and rice ($7.95). Novitiate sushi enthusiasts can prep their palates with a beginner sushi entree, featuring one smoked-salmon roll, one california roll, two pieces of shrimp sushi, and two pieces of tamago ($10.95), while those with a black belt in chopstick command can roundhouse kick through Misora Express' specialty-roll selection ($4.50–$10.50), face the scar-faced evil master, and make it safely home.