Named after the Japanese word for happy, Genki Noodles & Sushi captures the feel-good delicacies enjoyed by owner Reid Zeising during his childhood in Tokyo. Reid now oversees three locations that dish out a signature menu of traditional and experimental sushi rolls, tuna specialties, and Japanese barbecue bowls packed with grilled meats or tofu mixed with noodles or rice. In many dishes, classic flavors of spicy tuna and fresh water eel mingle with unusual additions such as parmesan cheese or mango.
Though each location sports its own distinct décor, all three locations glow under flat screen TVs and the blue light of fish tanks populated by ocean critters and a merman trapped in the body of a hermit crab. The Virginia Highlands location mingles exposed brick with a covered outdoor patio replete with breezy fans.
Sushi, meats and veggies cooked on a traditional hibachi grill, and Chinese entrees and sides make up the bulk of Hibachi Buffet's selection. Diners can fill as many plates as they'd like with the Asian medley, then end their meals with ice cream, fresh fruit, and a complimentary waistband-expansion service from the onsite tailor.
Ta Ca's chefs firmly root their menu of sushi and teppanyaki entrees in Japanese culinary tradition. Although the selection of maki brims with familiar staples, it also features subtly modern specialty rolls with inventive ingredients, such as fried green-shell mussels, calamari, and tomato. The chefs spend mealtimes searing orders of vegetables, chicken, or lobster on the rippling-hot surface of hibachi grills. Wavy pendant lanterns illuminate the gleaming bar running along one of the dining room's orange walls. The shelves bristle with a selection of spirits, Japanese beers, and sake, which bring about endless toasts like a sand grain’s wedding reception.
Drawing upon his 16 years of experience cooking Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, Chef Zhe fills Tokyo Boat 2's menu with an eclectic array of dishes that draws inspiration from Korea, Thailand, and Japan. The Japanese influences are the most readily apparent, as evidenced the extensive selection of sushi rolls and the broiled meats in housemade teriyaki sauce. Even the hibachi chefs combine traditional cooking techniques with a bit of modern showmanship as they sear orders of red snapper, steak, or vegetables on tabletop grills while a small audience of diners watches the impressive displays of dexterity.
Although the occasional burst of flame erupts from the hibachi stations' grill surfaces, the areas are mostly lit by a modern collection of blue pendant lamps that dangle above the diners. The sleek metal surfaces and exhaust hoods stand in contrast to the simple wooden shelving of the sushi bar, which lies just behind a jet-black counter where guests can sit and watch as the chefs slice nigiri, roll maki, and mold rice into snowmen during the warmer seasons.
Zuma's extensive Highland and Toco Hill menus showcase a plethora of traditional and innovative sushi rolls, sashimi, and nigiri, made from the freshest ocean-plucked fish available. Lounge at the Highland spot with an order of lobster tempura ($14.50) for a crunchy accompaniment to the ihi pokki, boasting yellowfin tuna that hangs out with a spicy free-wheelin' crowd of sriracha and scallions ($7.50). Poultry enthusiasts at the Toco Hill eatery can enjoy the deep-fried confines of the chicken katsu ($11.50), and maki lovers can watch the scallop and mayo explosion of the Super Volcano roll ($14) from the safety of their magma-proof chairs. With its cold noodles and delectable dipping sauce, the zaru soba ($5.95) sates Far East pasta pangs.
Sakana Sushi & Grill treats visitors to a tantalizing spread of Japanese sushi and steak-house cuisine, all served up in a cozy, convivial environment. Diners nestle in to plush, tucked-away booths or tables clad in black cloths to feast upon hibachi-grilled morsels of salmon, cold-water lobster tail, or spicy chicken. They can also nibble from bento boxes or belly up to the sushi bar to watch chefs transform slices of tuna and salmon into artfully presented maki rolls.