Daruma attracts hungry humans with authentic food, warm and lively ambience, and regular, live entertainment. Though Daruma's inventive chef waxes and wanes the menu every couple of lunar cycles, current favorites include teriyaki chicken ($11.95), and nabeyaki udon soup, a brothy noodle soup with shrimp and vegetable tempura ($11.95). Hibachi-style entrees (starting at $10.50 for dinner) sizzle into shape before diners' very eyes in an act that smelts culinary art with circus performance and a deep pore-steaming treatment. Chopstick champions can defeat an order of sushi as a starter or a side, such as the daphne roll, stuffed with crab meat, tuna, cream cheese, and tempura, and crowned with eel sauce, spicy mayo, and tempura crunch ($10.95). Call to reserve a table or to inquire about upcoming karaoke nights, scheduled music, or comedy performances.
The sushi smiths at Mikato churn out tightly rolled rice-and-fish treats, steaks, and other traditional Japanese fare. In addition to a variety of rolls, Mikato's chefs orchestrate ingredients in the form of entrees such as sukiyaki steak, a thin-sliced sirloin with sukiyaki sauce and vegetables ($16.95), and the Mikato dinner special, a mélange of filet mignon, lobster tail, and shrimp ($28.99). Chow on culinary creations in the comfort of plush chairs and the soft light emitted from multicolored paper lanterns, all while taking in the Japanese woodblock prints adorning the walls and cowering in the glare of samurai masks that all vaguely resemble TV personality Judge Judy.
Watching Bamboo’s chefs prepare dishes can be as memorable an experience as eating them. The nimble cooks position themselves at tableside teppanyaki grills, slicing steak, chicken, and seafood before sizzling the morsels up on flaming grills. The sushi chefs behind the bar can be equally entertaining as they expertly assemble fresh fish into rainbows of colorful sauces, avocado, and tobiko. Meanwhile, behind the full bar, servers shake up specialty cocktails and uncap bottles of Japanese beers.
Throughout the year, the restaurant's energetic dining room features live music shows and karaoke nights. On holidays, it often plays host to spirited get-togethers, including a costume party on Halloween and a Revolutionary War reenactment on the Fourth of July.
Red paper lanterns hang above Wasabi Sushi's sushi counter, where patrons can watch expert sushi chefs slice pieces of sashimi or assemble intricate rolls, such as the Spicy Crawfish with asparagus and cream cheese. Across the dining room, whose walls are painted a buttery yellow, waiters ferry cooked entrees such as teriyaki chicken, vegetable tempura, and chicken fried rice. Desserts such as ice-cream balls rolled in mochi rice skin, and tempura-battered cheesecake, end meals on a sweet note.
Near the bustling intersection of North Davis Highway and Olive Road lies a tranquil temple. It's not an Egyptian ruin or a place of worship but a shrine to eastern Asian cookery. Inside, brothers Irwan and Christopher Wong whorl squid, smelt roe, and escolar into made-to-order sushi rolls and craft Chinese classics such as orange chicken and kung pao pork without MSG. Diners can gather at tables trimmed with fresh flowers or pull up to a plant-lined sushi bar, which doubles as a stage for sparring samurai and geisha dolls. Here, the Wongs embellish Amazon rolls with fresh avocadoes and dot grilled chicken rolls with eel sauce and sesame seeds. On-the-go diners can retrieve takeout at the handy drive-thru window rather than having servers shot-put it through the front door.
Chefs roll fresh salmon, scallops, and barbecued eel into sushi behind Fuji’s open-air bar and send elegant platters to diners watching every slice or parties gathered in private rooms. Teriyaki-chicken or shrimp-tempura bento boxes arrive filled with neat portions of dumplings and crab rangoons to ensure that meals remain perfectly organized on the trip to the stomach. Pork or chicken cutlets are breaded and fried in the tonkatsu style, and udon or soba noodles tangle with stir-fried vegetables and fish cakes. Hibachi chefs sear filet mignon, chicken, or lobster tails to perfection to complement glasses of Japanese beer, sake, or jasmine tea from the beverage list.