The chefs at Toki Sushi and Teriyaki Cuisine work hard in the kitchen, crafting delicate Japanese meals of gyoza and udon, as well as burgers and hefty deli sandwiches. Sushi chefs with up to 18 years of experience carve tasty slices of tuna, salmon, and halibut at the open sushi bar as diners sip wine and beer and share laughs over scoops of mochi ice cream. The décor surrounds diners with bamboo-print screens, round paper lanterns, and banners decorated with lucky cats, transporting a piece of Japan to America while city planners still bicker over digging a tunnel beneath the Pacific Ocean.
Lunch sushi bento, sashimi, udon, warm entrees, and an array or appetizers festoon the menu at BlueFin Sushi Bar. The cuisine pays homage both to traditional Japanese dishes such as miso soup as well as modern cuisine. Udon noodles served inside of an invisible sombrero can be paired with a choice of tempura, vegetables, seafood, or chicken with prawns and eggs. Sashimi servings and combos provide diners with a feast from the sea, and speciality sushi combines favorites such as lobster, crab, and avocado. Entrees include grilled wild salmon and free-range teriyaki chicken, which are accompanied by miso, steamed rice, and answers to age old jokes about roads and why to cross them.
At Umi Sushi Japanese Restaurant, chefs busy chopsticks with 14 specialty sushi rolls and a menu of traditional Japanese dishes. Servers stroll through the placid dining room, rescuing empty plates from the clutches of Olympic-discus hopefuls and dotting the yellow tablecloths with appetizers, such as the taco su's octopus, cucumber, and seaweed salad ($7.50). Behind the sushi bar, fresh ingredients merge together to create raw and cooked nigiri sushi ($3.50+), vegetarian maki ($3.50+), and specialty maki, including the dragon roll with eel ($8.95 for seven pieces). The Umi special sauce marinates thin strips of short-cut ribs ($11.95–$13.95), and the Tanshin bento box ($12.50 for a large) partitions teriyaki flavors into culinary cubbyholes. Diners can augment meals with scoops of green-tea ice cream ($3.95) or signal their departure by gurgling imported beer, wine, or sake.
Specializing in meatless Asian cuisine, Green Wok Vegan Restaurant's sushi menu includes a lineup of entirely vegan and vegetarian rolls. Nimble sushi chefs create a modest marriage of basic flavors with seaweed salad rolls ($2.50 each) and the landlocked tempura sweet-potato roll ($2.50). Mouths reeling from celebratory birthday shots of wasabi can cool oral jets with soothing sushi portions of avocado ($3) and the vegan cream-cheese salve of the crunchy asparagus roll ($5). Or double-down on bold flavors with the shiitake roll's aromatic alliance between marinated mushrooms and green onion ($5.25). Elegant Asian wall hangings surround Green Wok's handsome, WiFi-equipped dining space, where the casual atmosphere inspires diners to readily try adventurous new things such as vegetarian seafood and sewing various fillets together to make a stylish sashimi scarf.
BaRa Sushi House keeps the focus on the fish. Its precisely, appealingly arranged sushi and appetizers lean heavily on seafood imported from Tokyo's famous Tsukiji fish market every week. BaRa's chefs greet each day with its very own special plate, constantly editing the menu in the hopes of finally crafting that perfect tiny replica of Michelangelo's David from yellowfin tuna. Sake is always flowing inside the snug, vintage house-turned-diner thanks to Marcus Pakiser, sake sommelier. Guests may dine on the outdoor patio when the weather permits, or host a party for up to 9 in the private tatami room.
A Cajun oasis in the Pacific Northwest, Roscoe's publicans serve a rotating, craftsman-forged selection of beers and a simmering kettle of Southern cuisine. Dining duos can plunk themselves down before two Happy Hour–size bowls of homemade chicken and andouille-sausage gumbo at even the most melancholy times and wash them down with a pint of masterfully brewed beer. Although constantly shifting, the beer menu may include such sip collections as the friskily hoppy, pineapple-accented RPM IPA from Boneyard or Pike Brewing's Dry Wit, a summery wheat named for the cutting remarks it makes about noses as it flows into mouths beneath them. Curious thirsts can be quenched with the ineffably tart yet buttery Ichtegem's Grand Cru, and Roscoe's authentic Southern-fare menu lays a sturdy foundation for all-night pool tournaments.
Unlike at most restaurants, waiting for food is half the fun at Sushi Sakura. A gleaming conveyer belt meanders around the room, transporting a steady stream of sushi-filled plates directly to diners’ tables. Guests are encouraged to remain on the lookout for anything that looks to their liking by constantly scanning the lineup for anything from spicy tuna hand rolls to tender slices of octopus.
Rather than hang a price tag from each roll, the chefs strategically place them on plates in different colors—purple, blue, green, orange, red, and infrared—according to their price. At the end of the meal, the servers calculate the bill by totaling the number and color of the plates that the table selected.
The chrome conveyer belt is a modern touch amid the décor's traditional Japanese accents. Patterned shoji screens and dangling red lanterns emblazoned with kanji provide a bit more flavor from across the Pacific, reinforcing the eatery's dedication to Japan’s culinary traditions.