Helmed by a chef with 17 years of experience, Yoi Yoi Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi treats visitors to a spread of stir-fried rice, delicate shellfish and tuna nigiri, and hearty dinners of grilled chicken and steak. Hard at work in the kitchen, hibachi chefs stir fry lo mein noodles, grill steaks, and sear plates of lobster and filet mignon. Sushi experts meticulously prepare traditional delicacies such as tamago or octopus nigiri, as well as more contemporary and adventurous sushi bar dishes, such as handrolled maki with salmon and mango, or tuna and avocado arranged in a martini glass with masago roe.
Taking inspiration from his grandmothers, Justin Cox has always loved cooking. He launched his official culinary career when he was just 15, and over the years, he's worked under acclaimed chefs, including two James Beard–award nominees. When he joined the team at Thrive, he created a menu of New American dishes heavily inspired by global influences, especially Asian fusion cuisine, and started buying fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers whenever he could. And this pursuit has paid off—Gayot credits Cox's connections with the fact that his tomato salad "reveals how close the notable vegetable can come to nirvana." In Thrive's kitchen, Cox and his culinary team whip up starters of braised short ribs wrapped in bibb lettuce alongside a selection of sushi, nigiri, and sashimi. They follow that with dishes ranging from classic, such as a fillet of beef tenderloin, to playful, such as scallops and grits with bacon, fennel, pea-shoot salad, and a citrus vinaigrette.
The menu's sophistication is matched by the striking modern dining room designed by architect Bill Johnson. Amber-tinged light spills from the honeycomb ceiling structure lofted above high-backed dining chairs and stark white walls, set off by accents of green print. Zebra-wood barstools helpfully suggest their favorite drinks in the lounge area, where white leather couches invite diners to settle in with a drink.
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.