At Shoku, morsels of succulent beef, marinated chicken, and ocean-fresh seafood fill out feasts of Japanese noodles and sushi or dishes inspired by national favorites of Asian nations including Korea, China, and Thailand. Broth-soaked udon noodles jostle for attention with plates of pad thai, pan-fried pot stickers, and bowls of sizzling beef bulgogi. Guests take a seat inside to watch a master chef deftly carve seafood at the sushi table, or they can lounge under umbrellas at the outdoor seating to watch the passing foot traffic and hourly soapbox derbies along Grandview Avenue.
A part-time college job turned into a career when John Ko married the daughter of China Dynasty's original owners. John, his wife, and his in-laws are content with maintaining the same traditions that have lasted more than 25 years. John's mother-in-law continues to work in the kitchen as head chef, cooking a familiar assortment of classic Chinese dishes that draws inspiration from various regional styles throughout the country. Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce, Cantonese-style roast duck, and spicy Szechwan green beans with chicken represent just a handful of dishes that have endured at China Dynasty over the decades.
A golden statue of a jovial, laughing Buddha greets diners as soon as they enter the restaurant's expanded space, which features two dining rooms as well as a full-service bar area. Lipstick-red chairs surround the tables that fill the intimately lit space, and red accent walls similarly add a splash of color amid the rooms' pale green and tan color schemes. In addition to the Buddha statue, China Dynasty features a small collection of traditional Asian artwork and artifacts on its walls, including silk clothing, oversized Chinese hanzi, and baby pictures of the restaurant's first lo mein noodle.
The food at Wild Ginger Japanese Restaurant bursts with color. Sushi chefs slice and stack multihued ingredients in more than two dozen specialty rolls, such as the Green Lawn roll covered in bright-green tobiko. Golden sauces cover Thai-influenced curries. And sizzling woks turn shrimp bright pink, much like arguments about whether or not they're basically the same thing as prawns. These and other dishes pop against the dining room's restrained decor, which includes charcoal-hued floors and dark wood accents.
As they walk through Fusion Steakhouse?s two crimson doors, diners immediately enter a family-friendly scene: a black-granite bar gleams with the violet glow of the uplighting bordering the ceiling, and low leather seats line a wall intermittently set with stone tiles. In this dimly-lit dining room, tight rolls of sushi and sizzling hibachi dishes dominate a menu of Japanese standards, but dinners respect no borders. Diners can also choose from entrees inspired by the cuisine of other Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as cocktails inspired from around the world.
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.
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.