Each morning as the sun blossoms in the sky, chilled containers of fresh seafood arrive at Bara Sushi and Grill, causing chefs to smile in anticipation of the day’s creations. Lobster tail, salmon, and shrimp share space with unique sidekicks such as potato crunch, goat cheese, and mango in sushi rolls with names including The Big Lebowksi, Red Dragon, and Crouching Tiger. During midday hours, diners can ditch peanut-butter sandwiches for customizable lunchboxes, which can be filled with selections such as teriyaki chicken, veggie tempura, hall passes that never expire, and spicy tuna rolls.
The executive chef here is one Ray Huy Hoang, and his sushi experience is extensive. Before he was rolling, slicing, and drizzling sauce at Sushi Mango, he spent 15 years sharpening his knives and skills at several other Japanese restaurants. Hoang's talents are so well known that he was commissioned to help out the Denver Art Museum. When CultureHaus threw a benefit for the establishment, they enlisted Hoang to create human sushi bars—nude models decorated with a smorgasbord of strategically arranged rolls and garnishes.
The name means "taste" in Thai, and at Ghin Asian Blend & Sushi, flavor always comes first. Averse to calling their dishes "Asian fusion," the restaurant's chefs instead refer their genre as "Asian blend." They aim to bring the nuances of many cultures' kitchens seamlessly together on the same plates, creating meals that are as artful as they are satisfying. The tom yum soup, for instance, showcases a Thai- and Malaysian-style broth made from chili and fresh lime, whereas a spicy, Japanese tamari marinade brings the heat to the tropical-inspired tuna poke appetizer. Maki rolls display similar melding, matching spicy tuna with macadamia nuts and beef tataki with jalapeno. Even classic American dishes receive a global update?burgers are topped with sweet chili aioli, lamb chops are sauced with a ginger sake tamari reduction, and cuts of chicken are given their own delicious passports.
Sushi is a complex world of flavors, textures, and colors that may seem intimidating at first. Wasabi Sushi Bar?s spread of more than 90 rolls includes simple california and bluefin rolls for the sushi newbie as well as adventurous items for those delving deeper into the realm of maki.
Yellowfin tuna and cucumber slices fill the more simplistic rolls, and shrimp tempura and avocado cut the delicate brine flavor of barbecued eel in other offerings. The sushi chefs also liberally sprinkle a housemade tempura crunch topping at the sushi bar, and new york strip steaks crackle beneath spicy teriyaki sauces at the grill.
Carved straight-backed chairs and hanging crimson lanterns cultivate a traditional Chinese vibe inside Golden Shanghai's spacious dining room. Nearby, a wall with strings of firecrackers and golden Buddha statues creates an exotic backdrop for family dinners or faked vacation photos. In keeping with the traditional décor theme, chefs plate MSG-free Chinese classics such as crispy duck and spicy Hunan beef as well as more adventurous specialties from a separate authentic-Chinese menu.
Elsewhere, however, the kitchen defies standard categories, bringing together the disparate cuisines of Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam for eclectic feasts. Tender morsels of Thai satay chicken share table space with Japanese sushi and udon, and chefs also stir up bowls of Vietnamese noodle soup. As they chomp their way through the tastes of the East, visitors can toast another year of not renewing their passport with glasses of tropical cocktails or frosty, thirst-quenching beers.
Banzai Sushi's chefs award imaginative nicknames to the 100 distinct sushi rolls that earned the restaurant a top-five spot on ABC 7's A-List in 2011. The Nitros roll, baked in a blanket of spicy sauce, awakens taste buds with salty smelt roe and crunchy flecks of tempura, while Drum rolls keeps things fresh with tuna, lemon, and asparagus. For a hot meal, diners can tear into a hibachi-grilled meat or classic teriyaki entree, each available with a choice of salmon, chicken, or New York–style steak.