Peals of laughter rise from families around the granite tabletops at which hibachi chefs crack jokes and flip shrimp over the grill. At Ichiban Steakhouse, expert grillers don black chef suits and show off their skill at slicing and searing chicken, steak, and seafood. Flanked by dark wood walls, nearby sushi chefs slice fresh fish to wrap tightly in specialty rolls. Five tatami rooms provide semiprivate spaces for business meals, romantic outings, or discreet transformations into a werewolf.
Traditional Japanese Soups | Hangover-Erasing Udon | Open Kitchen | Cat-Themed Decor
Where to Sit: Sidle up next to the counter, where you’ll be able to watch chefs slice, dice, and roll sushi in the open kitchen.
While You're Waiting: Count the cats. The dining room houses just about every type of decorative feline—ceramic cats, portraits of cats, and Hello Kitty items, to name a few.
Inside Tip: If you partied a little too much the night before, order the udon. The Metro Times claims it’s a “black hole for hangovers.”
Know the Difference: Ajishin's soups are built around two types of noodle: soba and udon. Soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour and have a nutty flavor, while udon noodles are made from wheat flour and have a fairly neutral flavor.
Intent on establishing Japanese cuisine as the new, go-to comfort food in Novi, Wasabi Hibachi Steakhouse's chefs have curated a menu full of iconic staples. These dishes give diners a taste of Japanese culture, while the chefs often showcase their skills in full view of the spectating guests.
Standing behind silver hibachi grills, chefs blur the line between cooking and live entertainment, searing everything from vegetables and filet mignon to lobster tails and swordfish in front of the diners. In between slicing, dicing, and flipping various items, the chefs occasionally pull out one of their classic tricks. They might stack sliced onions atop the grill and transform the cone of onions into a volcano, sending a pillar of flame shooting skyward as onlookers applaud.
Working diligently?albeit with a less showmanship?the sushi chefs spend the mealtime rushes creating sashimi, nigiri, and maki. The sushi rolls run the gamut from the traditional to the new and inventive. Here are a handful of the more than 40 sushi roll options:
Yotsuba’s skilled sushi chefs sprinkle fresh fish and organic seaweed with low-sodium soy sauce brewed in-house. Tempura and teriyaki dishes steam atop low tables in the West Bloomfield location’s tatami room, where cushy legless seats host floor-level dining in traditional Japanese style. High-backed booths and bar seating at both locations raise patrons off the ground for views of chopstick-wielding chefs tapping out the drum solo from "Wipeout" behind the sushi bar.
Ninja Sushi's maki have always boasted an elegant presentation, sailing to tables on boat-shaped platters bedecked in plant garnishes, candles, and colorful sushi pieces on every horizontal surface. Now, after four months of renovations, the owners can say the same of their decor. They appointed their dining room in warm, earthy tones, perfectly complemented by a splash of red paint behind the white stone sushi bar. Of course, they still whip up impressive cargos of sushi to put on their boat platters, alongside with Japanese and Korean kitchen entrees which come on more traditional plates, which are the flatware equivalent of river barges.
The chefs at Makkara Sushi & Japanese Grocery bridge the distance between oceans and palates with a menu of hand-rolled sushi creations that range from vegetarian rolls to tender nigiri pieces. House specialties such as the futomaki roll ($10.99)—eight pieces of crab and barbecued eel tempered by sweet egg, shiitake mushrooms, and avocado—pacify hungry sea dragons clawing at the insides of bellies. Bigger bites include the california roll, an 11-piece behemoth built nearly to the scale of its namesake and stuffed with smoked salmon or shrimp ($6.99). Chopsticks fly as herbivores challenge each other to duels over prized vegetarian combinations that feature delectable half-rolls of pickled radish and scallions ($4.99). Chefs dispense with frilly accouterments when crafting nigiri pieces, opting instead to showcase thickly cut morsels of yellowtail tuna ($2.25 each).