Visitors to EN Asian Bistro And Sushi Bar can't help but widen their eyes when met with the sight of spicy General Tso shrimp and specialty sushi rolls stuffed with roasted duck. It's tempting to order the first thing listed on the menu, and those who are patient will have a difficult time choosing from dishes that put an experimental twist on the culinary traditions of Thailand, China, and Japan.
At the sushi counter, chefs prepare more than 35 varieties of fresh sashimi and specialty rolls. Meanwhile, the spicy aromas of Thai chicken and Mongolian beef fill the air. And yet some of the bistro's most unusual dishes don't include meat at all—EN's chefs specialize in turning vegetables into imitation chicken, beef, and dragon, all of which serve as the base for their vegan interpretations of traditional dishes.
At Super Pet Expo, animal lovers congregate amid bustling merchandise booths and exhibitors showcasing lively animal entertainment. Attendees arrive with dogs or domesticated wildebeests on leashes to peruse collars, pet clothing, and snacks from scores of diverse vendors. Animal talent agency Pawsitively Famous regales expo-goers with tales of the Aflac duck's off-camera Shakespeare work, as Marshal Steve's Pony Rides treat tykes to exhilarating ponyback jaunts. Other entertainment includes auditions for "Stupid Pet Tricks" on The Late Show, held at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Pet lovers can also go home with a new furry companion adopted from an on-site rescue agency.
As the most populous city in the world, Shanghai has been shaped by travelers and settlers from all over. This is particularly evident in the city's food, which has been influenced by the culinary styles from both the northern and southern regions of China, as well as dishes from throughout the entire continent of Asia. This cultural integration holds true at Shanghai Café, where the chefs use recipes the Hu family has spent the past half-century perfecting. These recipes follow various Shanghai cooking principles—for instance, the original flavors of meats and fish are allowed to shine through rather than being drowned out by heavy marinades or sauces that are too sweet or salty.
Though the recipes are traditional, they respect modern, healthful eating habits by incorporating natural broths and stocks and limiting the use of oil. Some of the restaurant's signature dishes include boiled dumplings, steamed pork buns, and dim sum—a Shanghai staple. In the spirit of Shanghai's pan-Asian tendencies, the menus also include Thai dishes, such as pad kee mao (drunken noodles), nigiri, sashimi, and maki.
It's early in the day when the airplanes land on Virginia soil, bearing fresh seafood from such far-off places as Maine, Hawaii, and Japan. Lumbering trucks transport the cargo to the little town of Sterling, where Hooked Seafood & Sushi Bar chefs await to fillet and prepare the catches for the night's dinner. The sushi chefs carve plump morsels of eel, tuna, and scallops in traditional Japanese style before rolling them into intricate rolls adorned with mango, caviar, and tempura. Meanwhile, other chefs tend to grills of sizzling teriyaki dishes and simmering pans of lemongrass halibut and stuffed trout. The Hooked team has been crafting these fresh sushi dishes and innovative specialties for the last six years, earning accolades from Northern Virginia Magazine and Taste of Reston in the process.
Vibrant photographs of the chef's dishes flash across the flat screen in the sleek dining room, casting a glow on the tall stools that line the sushi bar. Cushy booths surround vibrant red tables, and glimmering curtains dangle above the dining room. On the outdoor patio, a dancing fountain gushes with streams of water alongside a central fireplace roaring with flames. The staff strives to recreate an apropos oceanic atmosphere at the restaurant, lighting up seating areas in shades of turquoise and sea-green and requiring all servers to master basic seal calls.
When he's not busy passing down the history and art of sushi making to his students, executive chef Hiro-san practices what he preaches behind the bar. He incorporates ingredients such as cured mackerel and bean curd into his hand-formed nigiri, and his traditional and fusion maki include components such as shiitake mushrooms and fried jalapeño rolled in seaweed. Diners also can order sushi alternatives, from vegetable udon to broiled chilean sea bass marinated in sake seasoning. An extensive selection of sake, beer, and wine washes down meals, which unfold in Obi Sushi's spacious lower dining room. Upstairs, three shoji screens shelter private feasts for up to 25 people, creating more privacy than a group of sumo wrestlers guarding the table.