Carved straight-backed chairs and hanging crimson lanterns cultivate a traditional Chinese vibe inside Golden Shanghai's spacious dining room. Nearby, a wall with strings of firecrackers and golden Buddha statues creates an exotic backdrop for family dinners or faked vacation photos. In keeping with the traditional décor theme, chefs plate MSG-free Chinese classics such as crispy duck and spicy Hunan beef as well as more adventurous specialties from a separate authentic-Chinese menu.
Elsewhere, however, the kitchen defies standard categories, bringing together the disparate cuisines of Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam for eclectic feasts. Tender morsels of Thai satay chicken share table space with Japanese sushi and udon, and chefs also stir up bowls of Vietnamese noodle soup. As they chomp their way through the tastes of the East, visitors can toast another year of not renewing their passport with glasses of tropical cocktails or frosty, thirst-quenching beers.
Each morning as the sun blossoms in the sky, chilled containers of fresh seafood arrive at Bara Sushi and Grill, causing chefs to smile in anticipation of the day’s creations. Lobster tail, salmon, and shrimp share space with unique sidekicks such as potato crunch, goat cheese, and mango in sushi rolls with names including The Big Lebowksi, Red Dragon, and Crouching Tiger. During midday hours, diners can ditch peanut-butter sandwiches for customizable lunchboxes, which can be filled with selections such as teriyaki chicken, veggie tempura, hall passes that never expire, and spicy tuna rolls.
The culinary wizards of Mt. Fuji Sushi & Hibachi synergize bold and rich flavors from fresh ingredients and meats before their customers’ eyes. Hibachi preparations of filet mignon ($24.50) and salmon ($20.50) eschew the kitchen for the dinner table, where red-hatted chefs grill meals inches away from patrons that will devour and name first-born children after the seared morsels. Special sushi rolls compete for diners’ attentions with unique swaths of ingredients; the Rock ‘n’ Roll is laced with mango, avocado, and shrimp tempura ($13.75), and the Godzilla roll balances its triple-fish attack with caviar and scallions ($12.25). The restaurant’s wide array hibachi grill-top tables encourages socialization, where strangers can become close companions as they marvel at their chef’s showmanship and amaze onlookers with their broccoli-catching skills.
In the tradition of authentic Thai cooking, the chefs at Sri Thai blend sweet, spicy, and sour flavors in careful proportions to bring out the essence of each dish—efforts not overlooked by food reviewer Kristin Mastre of Feasting Fort Collins, who awarded it four out of four stars. Both the lunch and dinner menus wax lengthy, listing curries with coconut milk and peanuts as well as fried rice and noodle dishes. A vast selection of dishes is also available gluten-free or vegetarian, and the entire menu is MSG-free, a particular boon to vowel appreciators.
The name means "taste" in Thai, and at Ghin Asian Blend & Sushi, flavor always comes first. Averse to calling their dishes "Asian fusion," the restaurant's chefs instead refer their genre as "Asian blend." They aim to bring the nuances of many cultures' kitchens seamlessly together on the same plates, creating meals that are as artful as they are satisfying. The tom yum soup, for instance, showcases a Thai- and Malaysian-style broth made from chili and fresh lime, whereas a spicy, Japanese tamari marinade brings the heat to the tropical-inspired tuna poke appetizer. Maki rolls display similar melding, matching spicy tuna with macadamia nuts and beef tataki with jalapeno. Even classic American dishes receive a global update?burgers are topped with sweet chili aioli, lamb chops are sauced with a ginger sake tamari reduction, and cuts of chicken are given their own delicious passports.
Nearing the three-decade mark since opening its first store, Kokoro cooks up quick and tasty Japanese meals using fresh, never-processed ingredients, including Colorado-grown co-op vegetables whenever possible. Many of those meals feature a secret teriyaki sauce, such as the Kokoro Bowl?a fusion of juicy beef, teriyaki chicken, and veggies?which reigns as the restaurant's most popular bowl. Kokoro?whose loose translation is ?heart? and points to the staff?s passion?also provides a drive-thru option, extending the same courteous, full-service experience even for the demanding task of accommodating the governor?s motorcade.