Modern chandeliers burst with angular panels, evoking massive, glowing ice crystals. Walls of stacked stone and slatted wood form a backdrop for crisp white tablecloths and coal-black chairs. To complement the sleek, contemporary décor, Restaurant Tora's tables populate with artistically presented Japanese dishes such as yakisoba, fresh sashimi, and more than 25 specialty sushi rolls. Korean-style stone pots sizzle beside hibachi-grilled seafood and thick steaks accompanied by teriyaki and wasabi-yuzu sauces. After polishing off dessert, diners can charm their dates' palates with a bottle of American wine or tousle their dates' hair with a charm of American goldfinches.
Bold, earthy paintings line the canary-yellow walls of Lemongrass, but they have to contend with the vibrant spreads of sushi and pad thai that top the plates at the pan-Asian bistro. Sushi, sashimi, and nigiri options run the gamut from barbecue eel and asparagus to a specialty Manhattan roll glazed with shrimp caviar. A lighter lunch menu presents smaller portions of the dinner entrees, along with handheld options such as chicken bacon and shrimp-tempura wraps. An extensive wine menu complements the dinner and lunch menus, and the tempting dessert menu catalogs fried plantains and mango sorbet served in a mango rind.
At Kaya Grill & Sushi, diners cook their own Korean barbecue to taste at built-in tabletop grills. Patrons grill their choice of two meats, such as marinated beef short ribs or tender rib eye and sample sides of rice, onions, peppers, and lettuce. The eatery's chefs also whip up classic Korean food and fresh sushi rolls for more conventional dining. A karaoke party room with buffet-style service can accommodate up to 80 people for events such as wedding receptions, birthday parties, or business meetings where quarterly earnings reports are delivered to the tune of "I Will Always Love You."
The staple of Sushi Rock’s menu is its selection of roughly 50 sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls, which collect multiple Japanese flavors into one neat package. The Sushi Rock roll alone packs a punch of shrimp tempura, crabstick, salmon, tuna, asparagus, and masago. A slate of USDA Prime steaks and fresh seafood entrees such as sesame-seared tuna complement the sushi-bar creations. Each meticulously plated dish arrives in Sushi Rock's ultra-modern dining space, where backlit bottles glisten against a cityscape mural in the bar area, and color blocks of red and black pop in the dimly lit dining areas. Together, Sushi Rock’s choice food and hip vibe earned it a No. 1 ranking on CityVoter's Best Sushi list in 2010.
A whirlwind of utensils hovers over a sizzling grill under the ministrations of a deft hibachi chef, sending morsels of seared meat to diners seated around a crimson-hued circle of polished wood. Guests can request orders of teriyaki chicken, hibachi steak, or shrimp and watch the multitasking chef cook each meal to order while entertaining fellow diners and writing a grocery list to shop for after their shift. Vibrant, rustic murals and dioramas decorate the dining room, and lantern-style light fixtures cast a warm glow on tables and working fountain by the restaurant's entrance.
The expert teppanyaki chefs at Ichiban use their iron griddles as the primary tools in building a menu that sizzles with steaks, seafood, and noodle dishes, and a sushi bar that unfurls with makimono. Although the sushi wears its Japanese pride on its seaweed sleeve, both steakhouses also boast a streak of avant-garde international influence, with such offerings as the seared salmon roll––salmon skin and cucumber topped with seared salmon and salsa ($13). The Crazy roll's deliciousness makes diners believe that their tongues are flavor magnets with morsels of shrimp tempura, avocado, flying-fish roe, and spicy mayo ($7). Hibachi dinner entrees—such as the filet mignon and scallops ($22.95)—arrive with an entourage of sides that include two pieces of shrimp tempura, vegetables, and steamed rice (substitute fried rice for $1.65).