Wild Ginger's woven lanterns drizzle light on a wall-spanning triptych of paintings that blends modern abstraction with traditional Asian styles. Cherry-red banquettes cushion patrons as they dine on dishes that blend the cuisines of China, Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Sushi shares menu space with made-to-order entrees of chicken, duck, and scallops in curry and fruit-based sauces. While waiting on a wok entree to cool, patrons can try to down a frothy brew using only their chopsticks.
When owners, Robert Beer and Tom Lam, opened Nisen Woodbury, they set out to seamlessly combine sushi and traditional fine dining into one stylish package. So for the upscale menu, their chefs craft specialty rolls such as the Scottish goat, filled with ginger salmon, goat cheese, roasted Portobello, and jalapeño salsa, and cook high-quality meats, such as organic chicken and Kobe-style beef, to perfection. And regardless of whether it’s served hot or cold, the food that emerges from the restaurant’s kitchen is artfully presented. This fits with Nisen Woodbury’s interior décor, which features warm mood lighting and tables set beneath lofty, arched ceilings that draw hip crowds of discerning fine diners.
Wild Ginger’s crew draws upon culinary traditions from Japan, Thailand, and China as the chefs slice burdock root, shiitake mushrooms, and lemongrass. In the bustling kitchen, they decorate colorful eats with tobiko and curlicues of honey-infused wasabi. Steam trickles from bowls of noodles and tempura-battered lobster. Servers whisk the newly minted dishes out to the yellow, orange, and green dining room, delivering them to tables of guests and cartoon silverware seeking a night away from the demands of constant singing.
Traditional Japanese sliding doors sit next to recessed lighting that glows with the neon hue of a thumping nightclub. This juxtaposition of ancient heritage and fresh innovation extends to the steak house's menu, which features surprising takes on the maki sushi roll staple. The Passion roll, for instance, kisses its white tuna with a searing flame before pairing it with juicy mango for a sweet and savory juxtaposition. The evocatively named Hot Girl Roll, on the other hand, bundles together different types of seafood, with crab and salmon complementing each other's marine flavors. Those sitting at the hibachi grill can enjoy the traditional acrobatic show, with dextrous chefs cooking up steak, chicken, and shrimp, then flipping finished morsels through the air and into diners' mouths and the air ducts as special treats for the AC repairman.
At Shiki Japanese Restaurant, guests dine from a litany of delicious Japanese dishes, from sushi maki rolls made from fresh slices of fish to savory teriyaki steaks or plates of crispy chicken katsu. Patrons feast on a colorful array of sashimi and maki treats, such as the classic salmon and avocado Alaskan roll, or the tempura lobster, tokibo, and mayo Big Mama roll.
The sushi chefs at Black Lantern Sushi Den, a registered Green Restaurant, cook up a full roster of Japanese delicacies, tightly enveloping ingredients within more than 35 sushi rolls. Nosh on all-natural options like the stuffed baby mushrooms ($12), plump with breadcrumbs, or sink ravenous teeth into nigiri and sashimi ($4.50+). Eel and cucumber play fine neighbors to seaweed and rice within the Azalia roll ($13). Meanwhile, the Violet Lily Roll ($16) sets up seared ginger salmon and goat cheese on a tasteful double date with roasted portobello and jalapeños before letting them bunk together in one rice sleeping bag.