Flashing knives and spurting flames dazzle diners as the chefs at Kuma Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar theatrically sear entrees on the tabletop hibachi grills. Equally comfortable with cooking vegetables and meats, the chefs can shuffle a number of them across the grill's iron surface, including scallops, chicken, or filet mignon. Meanwhile, the sushi chefs gingerly slice pieces of fresh salmon and tuna behind their bar—unlike traditional bartenders, who rarely slice bottles into neat sections. Their work does not stop there, however, because they also carefully layer orders of salmon nigiri that can emerge alongside a familiar or inventive sushi roll, which arrives in either six or eight bite-sized pieces.
Named after the Japanese word for happy, Genki Noodles & Sushi captures the feel-good delicacies enjoyed by owner Reid Zeising during his childhood in Tokyo. Reid now oversees three locations that dish out a signature menu of traditional and experimental sushi rolls, tuna specialties, and Japanese barbecue bowls packed with grilled meats or tofu mixed with noodles or rice. In many dishes, classic flavors of spicy tuna and fresh water eel mingle with unusual additions such as parmesan cheese or mango.
Though each location sports its own distinct décor, all three locations glow under flat screen TVs and the blue light of fish tanks populated by ocean critters and a merman trapped in the body of a hermit crab. The Virginia Highlands location mingles exposed brick with a covered outdoor patio replete with breezy fans.
True to its name, Maki Fresh crafts all of their dishes?from traditional sushi to their unique maki sliders?the moment guests place their order. Beyond classic sushi rolls, the menu features sashimi-grade fish arranged into unorthodox dishes. For example, a hibachi bowl comes with carrots, cucumbers, and spicy sauce atop filet, and burgers surprise taste buds with the interplay of pickles, maki spicy sauce, and tempura onion rings. Maki's chefs ramp up production for catering services, and host private parties of up to 30 people in the Atlanta location's private dining room.
Within the cozy confines of Thai & Sushi's scarlet-walled eatery, taste buds can surf the fusion of flavors surging through a menu teeming with traditional Thai dishes and Japanese-style sushi platters. Tuna, salmon, shrimp, crab, and masago snuggle in a blanket of avocado and soy nori bedded down in the pineapple-slathered Hawaiian roll ($11.95). Olympic-medaled vegetable rolls lithely springboard from a platform of cucumber, avocado, asparagus, inari, and shiitake mushrooms into awaiting mouth caverns ($8) and pad thai chicken roosts in a spicy nest of rice noodles ($9.75). The sweet aroma of fresh ginger mingles with the sizzling serenade of chicken, beef, or pork and a garden-torn quartet of onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and expatriated lawn gnomes ($9.95).
Mali Restaurant offers menus of fresh sushi and traditional Thai fare in a warm, chic setting. Lunchtime diners can sample starters such as the customer favorite basil rolls filled with homemade barbecued pork, shrimp, noodles, and vegetables, served with dip-encouraging tamarind sauce ($5). Make it a seasoning motif with a main course of Chinese eggplant with basil, sautéed with onion and pepper in a spicy basil sauce ($8). Dinner partakers can wake drowsing taste buds with an appetizer of satay marinated in Thai herbs and curry powder ($9) or nosh on sushi selections such as the hole-free bagel roll filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and scallion ($6.50). Entrees include classic noodle dishes as well as mouth-watering meats such as the grilled duck breast with red curry, bedecked with pineapple, peach, and vegetables ($16). Yowling sweet teeth can be silenced with a dessert of fried banana with coconut ice cream ($7), while of-age appetites can be sated with a quaff such as the restaurant's own Thai tea-ni ($8), a blend of tea-infused and vanilla vodkas, sweetened Thai tea, and milk, sure to whet whistles and inspire whistles and soft-shoe routines of admiration.
Zuma's extensive Highland and Toco Hill menus showcase a plethora of traditional and innovative sushi rolls, sashimi, and nigiri, made from the freshest ocean-plucked fish available. Lounge at the Highland spot with an order of lobster tempura ($14.50) for a crunchy accompaniment to the ihi pokki, boasting yellowfin tuna that hangs out with a spicy free-wheelin' crowd of sriracha and scallions ($7.50). Poultry enthusiasts at the Toco Hill eatery can enjoy the deep-fried confines of the chicken katsu ($11.50), and maki lovers can watch the scallop and mayo explosion of the Super Volcano roll ($14) from the safety of their magma-proof chairs. With its cold noodles and delectable dipping sauce, the zaru soba ($5.95) sates Far East pasta pangs.