Within the geisha-adorned stained-glass doors at Sakura, chefs serve up a tasty array of Asian favorites and sushi specialties in an elegant atmosphere outfitted with mosaic murals, warm cherry accents, and traditional Japanese artwork. Sushi artisans delight diners by handcrafting classic and unique rolls behind a granite bar before comically slipping on tempura banana peels. The Pitch dubs the unexpected décor accents, such as stuffed pandas and a curtain of plastic crystals, as a “blend of the glamorous and the absurd,” also proclaiming that Sakura is “a good date restaurant” because of its mood lighting and romantic music.
Samurai Chef's chefs slice and dice a diverse menu of food right at the restaurant's smokeless hibachi tables. Customers seeking a detour from the hibachi highway can start their feast with the beef kabob ($4.95), pork dumplings ($4.25), or the fried soft shell crab ($6.95). Carnivorous meat lovers can explore the hibachi options including New York steak ($17.95), salmon ($16.95), and teriyaki duck ($16.95), or combinations such as the samurai seafood lovers dinner, featuring lobster accompanied by sousaphone-playing shrimp and saxophone-tooting scallops from the ocean's underwater jazz band ($29.95). Although your Groupon is only valid for the teppanyaki tables, those with images of raw fish recurring in their dreams can conquer their subconscious with Samurai Chef's plethora of maki, sashimi, and sushi.
Natural light pours through floor-to-ceiling windows onto hardwood floors, armchairs, and cinnamon-hued walls. Scents hinting at pork belly, tangles of spicy noodles, and other Korean ingredients draw more excited attention than a nest of baby fighter pilots. Chefs twist sushi rolls with barbecue eel, smoked salmon, and fresh avocado, and espresso machines purr over whitecaps of cappuccino foam. Behind the counter, ciabatta and whole-wheat bread support turkey, ham, and raisin-studded chicken salad.
A chef stands over a flaming tableside teppanyaki grill, twirling his cooking instruments in the air and catching them in each hand. As his audience whistles and cheers, he sears juicy morsels of filet mignon, chicken, and seafood alongside colorful slices of mixed vegetables. Chefs are equally busy behind the sushi counter, artfully arranging more than 100 different types of rolls with fresh tuna, spicy salmon, and crispy shrimp tempura. At the bar, expert mixologists shake premium liquors and juices into cocktails, garnishing them with duos of plump olives and curls of lemon rind. At nightfall as the moon filters in through the skylight windows, the contemporary dining room comes alive with glimmering televisions, lively music, and friends debating the existence of wood nymphs over drinks.
Friends and families visiting KC Sushi find a cure for the landlocked blues in the restaurant’s sushi rolls, teriyaki dishes, and other specialties from the island nation of Japan. While waiting for their meals to arrive, diners can feast their eyes on the back wall’s mural of snow-capped mountains, or investigate the sushi bar, where chefs do one-finger pushups before they roll sushi with their dexterous digits. With the recent addition of larger tables, small and big groups alike can savor artfully designed sushi rolls, spicy crab salads, and steak teriyaki made fresh in-house.
After moving to Kansas City from Tokyo in the early 90s, Saeko Tsunashima wanted to create a restaurant similar to her favorites in Japan. She combined her original recipes, many of which were inspired by her mother, and enlisted culinary expertise from bona fide sushi chefs to create the menu at Sushi Gin Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar. Along the way, she developed considerable sushi skills, and regularly unveils her flashy knifesmanship at the sushi bar. To keep the gustatory experience fresh, she consistently creates new menu items, many of which pay homage to cities or natural phenomena, such as the New Orleans roll, the tornado roll, or the That One Time it Rained Halibut roll.