The Nakato family first opened its eponymous restaurant in Charlotte in 1976, the year mankind discovered fish. Today, their team of seasoned hibachi chefs span three locations, where they prepare entrees of filet mignon, chicken, and veggies with tofu in a showy teppanyaki style atop tableside grills. Each entree arrives with an array of sides, ranging from onion soup to noodles and rice. Behind their own counters, sushi chefs coil rolls filled with smelt roe and spicy aioli and slice tender pieces of tuna and salmon sashimi.
Through the wide entrance of Onoki Sushi Bar, visitors are greeted into the dining room's bright colors and clean lines that allow the food to take the spotlight. Servers present menus that feature traditional rolls and specialty rolls such as the Dazed & Confused that's lined with shrimp tempura and topped with tuna, salmon, and a yellowtail bandana. During lunch, stop in for a nine-piece chef's choice sashimi lunch or another special combination and refresh with a glass of the house beer.
Inside Room 112, a self-described "modern Asian cuisine and sushi lounge," a wall of wooden alcoves imposes right angles on flickering candlelight, echoing the clean lines of modernist Japanese lanterns and cube-shaped red stools. This harmonious aesthetic extends to the menu of traditional Japanese and Chinese cuisine: chefs adorn thinly sliced beef with a single tropical flower, for instance, and arrange sautéed shrimp inside a delicate lettuce-leaf cup. Sushi is the restaurant’s specialty, though; chefs roll up more than 30 varieties of maki, which showcase ingredients such as soft-shell crab, yellowtail, and spicy salmon.
The kitchen staff at Hibachi Buffet Sushi & Grill knows that its patrons also eat with their eyes. With this in mind, they put attention to detail in the artful plating and garnishing of the sushi, sashimi, grilled seafood, and veggies that grace the lunch and dinner buffets. Each colorful spread includes more than 100 options, such as fresh oysters and crab legs, for loading up plates.
In 2012, Enso Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar won two OpenTable Diner's Choice awards for its chic decor and the vibrant mood set by DJs spinning modern electronic music. Chefs sate crowds with creative pan-Asian cuisine such as Asian yellowtail ceviche with wonton chips, sushi rolls that pair blue crab with sliced strawberries or microgreens, and entrees of seared Chilean sea bass served with dollops of edamame mashed potatoes. Bartenders mix top-shelf cocktails at a glittering bar lined with black pebbles.
At Tsunami Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, even waiting for the food is fun. That’s because the talented hibachi and sushi chefs turn cooking into a performance. Agility, speed, and creativity come into play as they flip and catch eggs off the spatula and perfectly mix them into fried rice. At the sushi bar, hand rolls are a work of art before becoming dinner—and all are made with artful finesse.