The chefs at Kampai Sushi draw on recipes from traditional Japanese and Korean cuisine to create classic dishes as well as playfully updated fare. Behind the sushi bar, they roll maki with fresh slices of salmon and decadent chunks of fried lobster tail, adding nontraditional flair with ingredients such as sweet pumpkin, honey-wasabi sauce, or potato chips. For heartier entrees, they can grill marinated korean short ribs or drizzle a deep-fried pork loin in a slightly sugary fruit sauce, the same way attorneys prepare briefs for sweet-toothed Supreme Court justices.
Bold flavors infuse Mizu Sushi Bar's menu of nigiri sushi, maki rolls, and cooked pan-Asian dishes. Spicy garlic sauce erupts from the Screaming Volcano roll, and tangy housemade teriyaki clings to charbroiled chicken and beef. Korean BBQ entrees such as beef ribs and bulgogi add international flavor, like the parts of Three Stooges films where Moe swears in Javanese. And for those who prefer less spice, tempura shrimp and veggies hide inside crisp batter, and udon noodles swirl in mild broth.
Though located in the trendy Washington Avenue district, Mizu's industrial-style space is "spacious and sleek without seeming hipper than thou," according to the Riverfront Times. Track lighting dangles from an exposed ceiling next to flat-screen TVs and a wall-mounted sculpture of tortoises striving to be seen as more than just potential eyeglass frames.
The sea is all around at House of Thai. A tapestry of a merman-esque mythological character beams down on one table, a sea dragon slithers down a wooden post behind another, and seascapes float across the walls. Then, of course, is the menu, with its concise selection of maki, ranging from spicy salmon to a classic california roll to a saint louis roll filled with tuna, avocado, cucumber, pickled radish, and masago—all the foods that appear on St. Louis’s municipal flag. They also offer creamy curry, seafood-enriched fried rice, and daring dishes such as garlic and pepper frog legs.
In stark contrast to Yakuza Sushi Bar’s otherwise low-lit dining room, golden lights flood the surface of a full-length bar where chefs busily roll together a menu of sushi and sashimi. Drawing on ocean-fresh ingredients such as scallops, octopus, mackerel, and crab, they craft their own interpretations of Japanese classics; customer favorites include the crab-rangoon roll and the aptly named Fire roll, whose spicy tuna complements a drizzle of volcanic lava. Aside from the restaurant’s flagship variations of fish, tempura vegetables and chicken and beef teriyaki serve as the centerpieces for traditional bento entrees.
Helmed by chef Paul Kulkanjanatorn, who boasts 10 years in the raw fish-fileting industry, Fin Japanese Cuisine serves up a vast menu of authentic Japanese fare in a sophisticated and romantic setting. Gird yourself for a long night of vampire hunting with a hearty dinner bento box such as the Shogun Set, a collection of gindara miso, shrimp tempura, and sashimi ($18.95), or opt for tonkatsu, a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet mingled with katsu sauce ($16.95). Midday munchers can luxuriate in a lunch bento set, served with gyoza, house salad, rice, miso soup, and a helping of chicken, salmon, or steak teriyaki ($9.95).