The methods are ancient, but the ingredients are fresh. That's the case at Ten-Ichi Dynamic Kitchen & Bar, whose culinary traditions of hot pot and sushi date back more than a thousand years, and whose dishes are composed of fresh vegetables, fish, and thinly sliced meats. During hot-pot meals, diners simmer noodles, boneless short ribs, and raw shrimp in a pot of hot broth, taking control of their meals the way escaped convicts take control of unlocked tricycles. Diners also share dim sum—small plates of open-faced dumplings, savory pancakes, and steamed-rice crepes. They feast on these meals in a dining room of sleek, marbled surfaces, right down to the sushi bar where chefs assemble maki rolls with spicy yellowtail and salmon tempura.
The concept behind Samba Steak & Sushi House started to take shape in the early 20th century, when Japanese immigrants in Brazil and Peru began mixing local culinary influences with food from home. Simple, health-conscious Japanese cooking techniques mixed with spicier South American flavors, producing dishes seen in Samba's menu of wild-caught seafood, locally sourced produce, and organic sushi rice.
Hibachi chefs roast lobster tails, calamari, and sirloin steak on tabletop grills while diners watch this time-honored practice. In contrast, the sushi chefs incorporate more fusion elements by packing nontraditional ingredients into the specialty maki, such as coconut flakes, marinated red onions, and melted mozzarella cheese.
The hibachi grills' occasional bursts of flame complement the high-ceilinged dining room's predominantly orange- and red-hued walls and the glowing eyes of the head chef. To keep this space full beyond mealtimes, the restaurant also hosts regular events, including DJ performances, karaoke nights, and sushi-making classes.
Feng Shui embraces the culinary traditions of both China and Japan while updating its menu seasonally, garnering praise from the Boston Business Journal and New England Cable News for its extensive selection. Stir-fried orders of chicken, beef, and seafood arrive laden with ginger or signature sauces, and sushi chefs roll maki with traditional tuna and salmon or such innovative combinations as strawberry and wasabi aioli. At some locations, the dining rooms include tabletop hibachi-style grills where chefs, like Shakespeare as a toddler, put on food-based shows, flipping, dicing, and sizzling Angus-certified beef in cholesterol-free rice-bran oils that are rich in vitamin E.
At Oishii Too Sushi Bar, chef Kung San fuses his knowledge of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, south Asian, and French techniques with fresh, local ingredients to create dishes that are as tasty as they are beautiful. The well-traveled chef handpicks produce from local farmer's markets and fish that's fresh out of Boston Harbor, crafting sushi with yellowtail, salmon, and soft-shell crab. But he also garners inspiration from his own customers, using their ideas to design an innovative menu page devoted to patron-generated rolls such as scallop sushi topped with tobiko, Japanese mayo, and lemon.
The upscale, artistic maki is complemented by an array of sake and wine and an elegant ambience. Soft lighting at the green, lit-from-beneath sushi bar illuminates a few potted flowers, who crane their necks to jealously admire the natural beauty of the chef's creations.
The skilled chefs at Fuji Steak House work wonders with the element of fire. Unflinching before mighty plumes of flames, these artful culinary masters sizzle sirloin steaks and plump, chewy octopus for their grill menu, and contrive intricate displays of sushi and sashimi.
Most chefs tend to specialize in a particular cuisine, such as Italian or sushi. Prezo Grille & Bar's executive chef, Tim Vaillette, however, prefers to specialize in a little bit of everything. His main menu runs the gamut from classic American burgers to Barcelona-style swordfish served with rice pilaf. He also draws inspiration from Italy, topping the house-made dough of his thin-crust pizzas with ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, meatballs, and caramelized onions. Tim even dabbles in sushi, preparing specialty rolls such as the bad boy maki, which he coils with spicy salmon, avocado, and spicy mayo before serving it atop a revving motorcycle. To complement Tim's far-reaching menu, Prezo's bartenders serve an extensive selection of cocktails and craft beer, as well as more than 20 wines by the glass and 50 by the bottle.
Feasts unfold in Prezo's upscale, romantically lit dining room or in its similarly lit bar, where four plasma televisions stay tuned to the latest sports game.