Shrimp tails fly through the air. A flaming onion volcano erupts. Chefs twirl spatulas and basketballs on their fingers. In other words, it’s a typical day at Kobe Japanese Steaks and Sushi, where the hibachi chefs don’t merely make your meal—they also perform a dazzling show for their lunch and dinner guests.
In addition to the wowing diners with their hibachi cooking show, they delight with artfully prepared sushi rolls, drizzling colorful sauces onto salmon-topped rolls or heaping seaweed onto baby squid rolls. These sushi and hibachi dishes, plus noodle and teriyaki dishes, pair with imported Japanese beers and sake cocktails. Located in the heart of downtown Richmond, they also offer parking validation.
As diners look on, Hiro Sushi Japanese Cuisine’s chefs slice fresh pieces of sashimi and hand-roll maki filled with ocean-fresh tuna, salmon, urchin, and mackerel at central counters. Back in the kitchen, surrounded by open flames and the deep disapproval of Poseidon, chefs toil away building traditional Japanese non-sushi dishes. At lunch, they fill bento boxes with anything from beef or veggie teriyaki and shrimp tempura to crispy chicken wings. During dinner, they sear Chilean seabass on the grill and deep-fry pork tonkatsu. To add a sweet coda to meals, they whip up desserts, such as mochi or tempura-fried treats, such as green tea ice cream or New York-style cheesecake.
Sushi-O skillfully blends diverse flavors in its Asian fusion cuisine, from the creative sushi it's named after to hearty cooked dishes such as citrus-teriyaki steak. Malaysian sambal paste flavors fried rice, and black-pepper sauce can adorn udon noodles or an 8-ounce filet mignon. Blends of curry lend spice to chicken and seafood dishes. The sushi chefs approach their work with an artistic eye, arranging maki rolls into whimsical shapes such as hearts, scorpions, and President Millard Fillmore. Each meal can be accompanied by drinks such as sake, Japanese beers, and American microbrews.
At Kenji Hibachi and Sushi Bar, chefs are masters of every delicious part of Japanese cuisine, from fiery hibachi grill cookery, to delicate sushi creations, to beef noodle soup and chicken rice bowls. Sushismiths roll up seaweed, avocado, salmon, and softshell crab as hibachi chefs dazzle dinner guests with dizzying knifework, towering flames, and perfectly equitable portioning. Wall-sized murals of mountains and cherry blossoms ring the high-ceilinged space, where kimono-clad servers unveil appetizing plates of fried beef dumplings, breaded pork cutlets, and piping hot soba noodle soups.
After walking under Kabuto's red gate and through its ornately decorated doors, guests walk past miniature gongs and framed scrolls illuminated by yellow and blue lighting fixtures set in the walls. Experienced hibachi chefs toss and catch shrimp, deftly ladling teriyaki or soy sauce over piles of veggies and meat or flinging it upwards to catch in the brim of their 10-gallon hats.
The chefs at Chopstix top their artistic maki, sashimi, and hand rolls with vibrant caviar and crunchy tempura flakes, entertaining guests who dine at the sleek, black sushi bar. Behind the kitchen's doors, chefs quickly sauté meats and seafood on their hot hibachi grill or on the stove, the enticing aromas of tangy teriyakis and saucy curries wafting to customers as a prelude to arriving meals. In fairer weather, diners may choose to sit outside on the restaurant's patio or remain inside at large banquettes with plenty of room for leg stretching.
Prasit "Ken" Khachenrum's culinary journey spans more than 11,000 miles. In his native Thailand, the young chef began mastering the dishes of his home soil at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bangkok. Later, after landing a position with Commodore Cruise Lines, the globetrotting Khachenrum continued plying his skills while sailing beneath the Caribbean sun. Upon deciding to settle in Washington, DC, Chef Ken worked through the city's restaurant scene on his way to becoming sushi chef at Yosaku Japanese Restaurant, opening his first restaurant in Yorktown in 2002, and finally, opening Thaijindesu. Thaijindesu—translated from the Japanese word "romanji," meaning "Thai people"—invites guests into an elegant spiral of Thai and Japanese flavors. Chef Ken places bowls of steaming noodles and curries beside fresh rolls of sushi, uniting regional nuances on a single menu rather than uniting two menus with Velcro.