Fresh ingredients from local suppliers abound at Crave, where patrons can create their ideal plates by hand-selecting from an array of all-natural and organic eats. The buffet table sports an elaborate ensemble of tongue tempters, with items such as fresh baked goods, seasonal fruit, applewood-smoked bacon, and egg strata orbiting a chef's selection of fish. Toppings of maple syrup, whipped cream, and berry compote eagerly adorn freshly-toasted checkerboards at the gourmet waffle station, and the chef's carving station showcases a selection of fine meats whittled to look like bars of soap. Champagne, mimosas, and bellinis give brunch a cosmopolitan flair, and Crave's low-lit ambience provides an intimate backdrop for shadow-puppet Civil War reenactments.
With a steady rolling hand and a decade of experience, chef Wei of Fin Sushi commands an enticing, elegantly plated array of creative sushi rolls and classic Japanese entrees. Up from the depths comes the mighty Godzilla roll—a 10-piece titan of radioactively spicy salmon in dinosaur-green avocado and wasabi mayo ($19.95)—to challenges the Dragon roll to fiery combat, battling against eight slices of seaweed-wrapped tempura shrimp and mayonnaise ($15.95). Put your dining destiny in Wei's able hands with an order of Matsu sushi, 10 chef-selected and arranged pieces side kicked by one traditional roll ($24.95). Patrons can try a steaming plate of yakiniku in chicken ($17.95) or black Angus steak ($19.95), enlivened with tongue-twisting kimchi and spicy garlic sauce, or stick to the nigiri and sashimi menu to remain as raw as a professional wrestler.
Tokyo Sushi & Grill's expansive menu combines hot appetizers and entrees with cool and contemporary sushi rolls that please both traditional and daring palates. Those embarking on a new journey into raw fish can begin with simple slices of assorted sashimi ($18.95) or warm up to the idea with a cooked roll such as the toasted salmon skin with cucumber ($5.95). Tokyo?s specialty rolls balance sweetness and spice as deftly as a love letter written in hot sauce, and include the Happy Roll (spicy tuna, smoked eel, and banana tempura; $12.95) and the Fire Island (Alaska crabmeat and chili sauce; $13.95). Dinner entrees such as beef teriyaki ($15.95) and shrimp tempura ($16.95) are accompanied by soup, spring rolls, shumai, rice, salad, and a california roll.
Aji Japanese Restaurant has garnered praise from the local Hopkins Patch and Lakeshore Weekly News for its menu of colorful sushi rolls and hibachi-seared meats. Artful presentation underscores each concoction—rolls proudly bearing ruby-colored crowns of tobiko or sweet drizzles of eel sauce and hefty steaks and pan-seared seafood sizzling beneath bouquets of leafy garnishes. Imported Japanese beer and sake unite sushi with the flavors for which it was meant, much in the way milk complements cookies or peanut butter complements its secret soulmate, actual butter.
Inside the dining room, white dinnerware contrasts against rich wooden tables. Overhead, carved crimson lanterns dangle from the tin ceiling and golden bulbs illuminate delectable morsels and the gold-plated chopsticks of diners looking to impress their dates. During the warmer months, an outdoor patio mixes meals with fresh breezes.
Hotel restaurants can sometimes blend together in a generic parade of pork chops and mashed potatoes. Rare Steak & Sushi, however, bursts out of the mold with its selection of grass-fed steaks and innovative sushi. Located on the second floor of the Grand Hotel, the eatery charmed Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl of Minnesota Monthly, who raved about its grass-fed steaks. To complement cuts of filet mignon and New York strip steaks, Chef Chano also rolls up 30 varieties of sushi. The creations range from the simple—such as freshwater-eel sashimi—to the complex, including a hawaiian roll packed with tuna, pineapple, and fried almonds or the vegetarian salad roll, which Grumdahl was “especially wild about.” A quick scan of the dining room reveals a diverse collection of clientele, as the eatery—open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—appeals to locals, businesspeople, and hotel guests alike.