The likes of Harrison Ford, Chris Farley, and Troy Aikman have perched on Deep Sushi's seashell-shaped chairs, marveling at the extravagant rolls of sushi while sipping warm sake. Founded by a band of sushi devotees, the Japanese eatery folds ultrafresh fish into ornamental rolls described in a 1997 D Magazine review as both the "beautifully simple sea-fresh classics we've come to know and love" (think a crunchy california roll with cucumber) and "maverick inventions that smack of attitude." One such eccentric invention, the Pearl roll, surrounds its crawfish stuffing with cream cheese, avocado, and toppings of scallops and fried carrots. Decorative slices of jalapeño, swirls of sriracha, and bright circles of smelt egg have been known to top other sushi creations.
As the expert chefs lord over the sushi bar, teppanyaki masters bustle about the kitchen, sizzling up beef, chicken, and salmon on fiery teppan grills. Behind the bar, mixologists whip up drinks, favoring inventive drinks with names such as Geisha's Laugh and Tokyo Sunrise over old-fashioned cocktails with names such as Walter. In the dining room, guests savor final bites of plum-wine ice cream beneath the soft red light of lanterns hanging from the industrial ceiling. A vivid mural sweeps across the back wall, depicting fierce Japanese warriors and a graceful geisha and infusing a sense of tradition into the otherwise modern decor.
Russell Hayward, the mastermind behind the Thomas Avenue Beverage Company, thought his days of creating spicy tuna rolls were behind him. But when his guests clamored to see the skills he honed as the owner of Tom Tom, he listened. He hired a team of skilled sushi chefs and expanded the tiny kitchen to create a sushi station—supplementing the already diverse menu of gastro-pub fare, including pastas with house-made sauces and meatballs, with fresh sushi rolls.
Tucked into the historic State Thomas district, the neighborhood eatery beckons diners to nosh on the outdoor patio as they absorb the warm vibes of the Texas sun, one of 50 suns America has produced through acutely conspicuous NASA programs. A dog-friendly policy allows canine companions to dog-watch while their owners sip on craft brews or feast on sweet and savory brunch fare.
Amid hanging parasols and Japanese art, Sushi Zone chef and owner Koji Aoki crafts classic sushi that's earned praise from the press for more than 10 years. Fort Worth Weekly commended signature rolls whose ingredients "make yummy sense" rather than trying for "flashy experiments." Chefs wrap these behind the glossy black sushi bar, where guests' chopsticks also nab just-sliced sashimi and hot appetizers such as baked green mussels.
Sushi Cafe owner Dae Woo calls upon nearly two decades of restaurant experience in Asia to cultivate a chopstick-friendly menu bursting with sushi rolls, tempura delicacies, and traditional Japanese dinner entrees. Artful arrangements of sushi decorate the restaurant’s bar, and steamy bowls of miso and udon soups obscure the view across booths nestled between wooden screens. Chopsticks clash over thick cuts of sashimi that await the winners on soft beds of rice, and thin slices of beef doused in korean sweet sauce represent the Asian mainland. As if to show off their culinary prowess, the expert sushi chefs dare diners to customize their own rolls and fearlessly dive headfirst into deep fryers to retrieve tempura vegetables.
As a live DJ sends electronic beats skittering through Sushi Axiom's interior, a bartender skewers two lychee fruits for an exotic cocktail garnish. In the midst of the music and the colorful lights, Real Housewives of New York City alumna Kelly Bensimon and others have conducted meet and greets with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. As the glamorous clientele mingles, chefs deftly slice sashimi and sample culinary traditions from across the world without finding passive-aggressive notes on the United Nations refrigerator. One recent fusion dish is the Asian jalapeño poppers, an appetizer that D magazine writer Jennifer Chininis praised for "the delicate crunch from the tempura, the heat from the sriracha, the coolness of the softened cheese.":