At Hon Machi Sushi & Teppanyaki, the chefs take center stage to entertain every sense as they fashion culinary works of art. Whether they're on the sidelines putting together specialty hand rolls at the sushi bar or searing combinations of steak, lobster, and chicken at tableside grills, half of the experience is watching chefs create the tasty meals. Deep-red walls surround the eight-seat teppanyaki stations that encourage guests to chat with fellow diners and let them know if they have rice in their beards.
Sake Cafe’s chefs mix and match myriad ingredients into nearly 20 specialty rolls. Their culinary centerpieces range from the Red Dragon’s shrimp tempura and seared tuna to the Spicy Kita-Kita’s five different fish slices wrapped around jumbo scallops and scallions. Grilled eel and fresh mango unite on the mango-and-eel roll, and the house roll is a cylinder of chopped Hawaiian ahi tuna, wild salmon, and yellowtail splashed with tobiko caviar all over the outside so it arrives smelling like seafood.
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse's team of chefs crafts a menu bursting with delectable Japanese fare. In the teppanyaki dining room, chefs grill teppan dinners to perfection before diners' eyes on griddles set into each table that facilitate premeal entertainment as well as light after-dinner firewalking. Choose from entrees such as the yakisoba dinner, in which beef, chicken, or shrimp are tossed playfully with vegetables and japanese noodles ($13.50), or opt to have juicy white meat chicken breast grilled to a golden brown with the teriyaki chicken ($12.50). Showy chefs entertain throughout the inclusive, multicourse meal with culinary acrobatics, such as erupting onion volcanoes, skillfully twirling spatulas, or diving out of the window after dinner and landing in the driver's seat of a stolen Ferrari.
Rice Asian Take-out’s cooks ladle sauces such as red coconut curry, pinoy adobo, and spicy sesame over meats and veggies prepared in Chinese, Filipino, and Thai traditions. Pork ribs in a citrusy tamarind broth vie for citrus supremacy with black mussels flavored with basil and lemongrass, and rice dishes include tocino—cured pork—with fried eggs. Contrary to what its name might imply, Rice Asian Take-out hosts a dining room awash in bright golden hues that cover the walls and catch sunlight on each table and chair. Two tall plants, stationed in front of gauzy purple curtains, guard the door from Mongolian invaders, and a frieze of framed pictures above the windows entertains eyes.
Twelve chefs clad in black uniforms and red hats stand at attention over tableside hibachis. All eyes on them, they start to play with their food: the culinary wizards wave lobster tails at guests, set onions aflame, and flip shrimp high in the air to land in their tall hats. “It is not just about the food, it’s about the show,” says Sumo Japanese Steakhouse owner Brad Meltzer. “The show brings you in and the food brings you back.”
Prior to landing on the hibachi grill, beef is butchered in-house and dressed in its Sunday best. Filet mignon shares grilling space with salmon, chicken, tuna, and scallops dipped in house-made ginger sauce. Meltzer and a small army of trained sushi chefs designed their menu of more than two dozen nigiri and sashimi rolls to please even the prickliest taste buds. Meltzer himself favors the 210 roll, a cyclone of scallops, shrimp, and crab slathered in sweet-and-spicy sauce and topped with crabstick, eel sauce, spicy mayo, and a snowfall of tempura flakes.
A reception desk lined in shimmery green tiles welcomes diners to the earth-toned dining room of MJ China Bistro, where ambitious stalks of bamboo stretch upwards around the perimeter of the seating area. Reflecting the contemporary decor of the room, the kitchen crafts a menu of traditional Chinese-American cuisine with a modern spin. Diners can wrap spoonfuls of mu shu pork in pancakes made by hand. Tea and sugar coat the browning skin of duck as it slowly smokes, its five-spice marinade growing more complex in flavor. The Chin Yuan pork chop, a classic Taiwanese street food, soaks in a secret blend of spices before being fried until just crispy on the outside but still tender on the inside, just like the best customer-service operators.
The restaurant also houses a sushi bar, where chefs whip up the TNT Roll, a combination of crawfish, tuna, and salmon drizzled in a chipotle mayo spicier than that time Charo put wasabi and Sriracha sauce in her tea.