Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar's hibachi chefs pull double duty, acting as entertainers in addition to grillmasters. They captivate large groups of diners with whirling knifework, dynamic spatula twirls, and the occasional spout of flame at tableside hibachi grills, flipping hot portions of lobster and chicken directly onto waiting plates. Behind the bamboo-finished bar, the sushi chefs move more slowly as they carefully seal colorful combinations of veggies, seafood, and vinegar-anointed rice within sheets of delicate seaweed. Like a poltergeist beauty pageant, not all of the talent is visible to the eye—the culinary team makes some of the restaurant's most exotic dishes, such as kobe beef sliders and wasabi-crusted filet mignon, behind the closed doors of the kitchen.
El Sitio's chefs parade a vibrant menu of dishes from Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina across visiting palates. The lomo manchego, a grass-fed sirloin medallion stuffed and drizzled with manchego cheese ($26), is served on a stone plate designed to maintain warmth long enough for forks to tap out blissful sonnets in Morse code. Patrons can lick their plates clean after romping through staple dishes such as the sliced octopus covered in black-olive sauce ($9.25) or a sampler of empanadas, tequeños, and calamari ($11.50). Dine indoors beneath lime-green and marigold walls bathed in varietal lighting, or let the wind blow through your eyelashes while noshing on shrimp in an ivory mantle of coconut sauce ($17) on the patio. El Sitio's BYOB policy allows diners to bring along a bottle of wine, six-pack of beer, or bedazzled personal juicer.
Everything about Reserve exudes swank. Dark wood-paneled rooms and crimson curtains, more than 100 aged bourbons, and a cigar lounge—not to mention contributions from the menu such as organic steak and wild king salmon—work to redefine locals’ impressions of fine dining. Those morsels share tabletop space with entrees including roast duck breast and striped bass, the likes of which chefs lavish with seasonings such as pancetta butter, green peppercorn cream, and truffle chicken broth. The kitchen’s culinary artists also craft morsels of oyster and lobster at a raw bar whose offerings rival the bounty of Poseidon’s larder.
Reserve’s mixologists take over at the bar, where the restaurant’s cache of bourbons pour alongside a dozen draft beers, specialty cocktails, and an array of wines from the grapevines and bottle-growing bushes of California. While perched upon black leather stools amid corinthian pillars, guests also can listen to strands of live jazz as they take in everything.
At Tokyo Hibachi & Sushi, every meal is a production. Surrounded by seated guests, the hibachi chefs put on a performance behind the tabletop grills and wow diners with dexterous knife skills and the controlled bursts of flame that bloom from the grills' surfaces. This isn't purely entertainment, though. It's a way for the chefs to engage with their patrons as they cook everything from chicken and vegetables to filet mignon and lobster within full view of the crowd.
In contrast, the sushi chefs opt for a bit less showmanship as they meticulously assemble rolls behind the sushi bar. They create an assortment of familiar sushi-house staples, but they also treat taste buds with specialty maki, including ingredients such as pepper-crusted tuna, fried asparagus, or homemade chili sauce.
Befitting their main-stage status, the hibachi stations dominate almost an entire room of the dining area. Japanese-style lanterns, artwork, and mementos mirror the menu's dedication to Pacific culture, and the bar's selection of sakes and imported water complements the restaurant's commitment to Japanese flavors.