Upon a marbled wall, a Japanese triptych mural tells the story of a gargantuan fish licked by cerulean waves and a tiny boat tossed about in its wake. Even though this vibrant piece reflects a chaotic scene, the sushi bar where the owner and head chef crafts creative rolls and maki is anything but—he’s a seasoned artist with more than 15 years' experience slicing, dicing, and coiling. He carefully furls Alaskan king crab, shrimp tempura, and sweet chili sauce and creates tantalizing nigiri and sashimi with freshly carved squid and freshwater eel. Bartenders, meanwhile, pour wines and sakes to complement the chef's mouthwatering Japanese cuisine.
Sunlight pours through ground-to-ceiling windows, streaming across hardwood floors and dark wooden tables that friendly servers speckle with dishes of aromatic steak teriyaki and tempura udon soup. Diners can enjoy these exotic feasts amid the contemporary yet casual dining room’s traditional folding screens and bamboo accents or, when the extraterrestrial overlords who control the weather permit it, outside on the patio.
Skillful displays of hibachi cookery, and tender, juicy steaks of filet mignon and swordfish bring added vibrancy to the bright space at Kegon. Electric blues and purples abound throughout the wide-open dining space, and chefs show off their well-honed skills in knife work, vegetable chopping, and fire safety at the hibachi-grill tables. Sushi chefs expertly roll rice around spicy tuna, tempura shrimp, and crabmeat, and plump potstickers and salty edamame kick off meals with notes of umami flavor.
In the hungry face of hunger, it is widely agreed that sushi is an acceptable cure for growling digestive tracts. With today's Groupon, you can satisfy the most demanding of cravings for sliced, rod-shaped foods at Kamehachi. Twenty dollars gets you $50 worth of sushi, sake, noodles, and more.
At Sushiyaki, chefs roll up creative cuts of sushi, glaze meats with teriyaki, and whip up noodle entrees complemented by Japanese beers, wines, and teas. Red walls, eclectic decorations, and tunes from guest DJs fill the traditional dining area, and Japanese-style private rooms feature low tables and floor cushions. Bento boxes and sushi buffets let visitors plan their own taste-bud excursions, during which the smooth, black sushi bar becomes an airport check-in desk inexplicably staffed by fish-slicing chefs.
The flavors of Japan and Thailand merge at Fuji Thai, where chefs create traditional and contemporary takes on both culinary traditions. Thai curry, noodles, and spicy Bangkok chicken share menu space with 40+ signature and sushi maki rolls, such as crunchy spicy tuna and the Chicago Bear—which tops crab meat, wasabi mayo, and cucumber with seared salmon and BBQ eel.
Zipangu Hiro's chefs, specially trained in Japan, juggle meats and vegetables for patrons, searing it themselves or allowing guests to cook their own cuisine at one of Zipangu Hiro's five traditional yakiniku grill-top tables. The multifaceted menu contains such crowd pleasers as veggie and seafood tempura encased in crispy batter and golden-fried. Yakiniku—the Japanese tradition of cooking your own thinly sliced meats and vegetables on a smoke-free tabletop range—puts the piquant power in diners' hands with a variety of exotic edibles, including duck ($10), pork belly ($8), shiitake mushrooms ($4), and various dipping sauces. For fire-free dining, a huge list of sushi creations rolls over hunger, including such favorites as spicy tuna ($5) and california rolls ($5), and original specialties including lobster tempura ($15) and the house's special-sauce-laced Kamikaze ($11.95).