Sam Jung always wanted to own a restaurant. He began saving money at age 18, and launched his first eatery, J Sushi Restaurant, at the age of 23, all while a student at UNT. Three years later, Sam and his team of chefs and servers still float mountains of fresh sushi to customers on boat-shaped platters. They weight the decks of the mini vessels with creations such as the crispy roll?a deep fried combination of tuna, salmon, and Hamachi?or the cu kani maki, which replaces the traditional seaweed wrapping with thinly-sliced cucumber. Sam also crafts creative specialty rolls, such as the cherry blossom roll, which is presented as petal shaped pieces wrapped in pink tuna after being harvested from the freshest sushi trees.
Though sushi is often best enjoyed with friends, don’t expect to bring 11 people to Keiichi. The intimate setting only has 10 seats, but that's part of the allure. Chef Keiichi Nagano prepares his impeccably fresh cuisine right in front diners without a wall, glass, or pair of protesting octopi blocking his precise knife-cuts from view. Those who call ahead for a seat can also request an omakase tasting menu of the chef’s choice, an option that is highly recommended by the Dallas News, who called it a “transporting experience”.
High-backed leather banquettes break up the smoked-salmon red expanse of Sushi Fugu's walls, which are gently illuminated by slender hanging lamps. Artwork peppers the walls, the abstract crimson swirls serving as a pleasant distraction from a meal, unlike an airplane copilot with uptight ideas about when it is appropriate to make a hoagie. Sleek wooden tables serve as a minimalist stage, where the food shines; platters showcase colorful sushi rolls and thin slices of super-white tuna and eel. Meanwhile, hot pan-Asian dishes emerge from the kitchen, where thai spices mingle with kebabs, thick udon noodles simmer in flavorful broths, and soy sauce dapples dumplings.
Fittingly, the jalapeno inside of Kotta Sushi Lounge's Jackie Chan Roll gives the dish a kick. The pepper spices up a mix of crab, mango, tuna, and avocado, all decorated with a cilantro ponzu sauce. The roll is part of a long menu of sushi creations, whose wrappers contain ingredients such as asparagus and flash-fried calamari.
The kaleidoscopic swirls of sauce that encircle most sushi rolls at Blue Ocean would be dizzying if they didn’t look so delicious. Each of the beautifully plated chef’s special rolls features innovative use of fresh fish with some unexpected ingredients. The Cajun roll works spicy crawfish into the mix and the Texas roll wraps spicy beef and spinach into individual bites. In addition to sushi, the restaurant's full bar bolsters the menu, which boasts a variety of cooked entrees, such as Vietnamese vermicelli noodle dishes and Hibachi dinners that include rib eye steak and grilled chicken with lemongrass.
East Ocean Restaurant's sushi slingers and wok wizards serve up a vast selection of raw delights and cooked Chinese delicacies. Sink incisors into a smattering of chef's specialties, including the sweet and sour supreme, where chicken, pork, and shrimp play good-cop bad-cop with tongues until they burst into flavorful tears ($9.95). Seafarers and bodybuilders can share a jaw-flexing bond as they nosh on the shrimp lo mein ($7.50), and clumsy bears can sate saccharine cravings without losing their place in the food chain with the honey-garlic chicken wings ($6.50). East Ocean's smattering of more than 20 varieties of aesthetic sushi and sashimi quell eye hungers and fill stomachs with selections such as yellow tail sushi ($5.50), eel sashimi ($9.95), and more than 30 varieties of maki rolls, great for stacking into edible mini snowmen. East Ocean also offers an array of authentic desserts and beverages, including green-tea ice cream ($3.50) and Japanese sodas ($1.95).