With help from their sons, friends, and colleagues, lifelong restaurateurs Rob and Kelly Kukura opened 95a Bistro & Sushi in 2011, winning nearly instant acclaim from Boulder Magazine. The menu draws inspiration from Latin, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisines, showcasing hot and cold tapas such as bacon-wrapped dates and beef carpaccio along with entrees of brie-covered vegetable gnocchi and scottish salmon flavored with smoked-paprika brown butter. Their wide selection of sashimi and nigiri-style sushi includes the Firecracker specialty roll, whose fillings of citrus-aioli-topped crunchy tuna can be heard all the way down the street. The restaurant serves its brunches, lunches, and dinners both inside and on a seasonal outdoor patio overlooking a sprawling lawn.
"ZEN," reads the letters attached to the dining room's wall. Calming green walls and the occasional potted tree serve as soothing design elements. Modern hanging lamps float above diners' heads, suspended from the matte-gray piping that lends the dining room a subtly industrial-chic look. It’s in this invigorating space that diners get excited about the memorable culinary quests they’re about to embark on. One end of the room is striped with a sushi bar, but patrons can also order rice-swaddled fillets at their tables. Those looking to snap up something different peruse a more general menu influenced by Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine.
At Ooka Sushi, the chefs satisfy practically any Asian-cuisine craving, not just those for artfully prepared and presented sushi and sashimi. They also slow cook broccoli and bell peppers in a thick Thai peanut curry, marinate duck meat in Chinese fire spices and fry it to a golden crisp, and deep fry shrimp in tempura batter.
Inspired by Thailand's tri-wheeled mode of transportation, Tuk Tuk Thai Bistro escorts palates on a flavorful trot through the streets of Thailand with a delicious assortment of traditional and contemporary Thai dishes. Post-breakfast, pre-dinner patrons can select from Tuk Tuk's lunch menu of true-to-roots treats, including the drunken noodles, a boisterous combination of shrimp, bell pepper, onion, basil, and fresh rice noodles ($8.85) that is sure to delight the senses while embarrassing reserved relatives at food family reunions. The Tuk Tuk dinner menu contains many traditional tributes to Thai cooking and offers contemporary recipes such as the purple eggplant, a sultry serving of lightly battered eggplant escorted by assorted mussels, shrimp, scallops, calamari, and bell peppers, all doused in Tuk Tuk's basil-flourished house sauce ($14). No matter the time of day, flavor-craving customers can chow down on a fresh selection of sushi, featuring the Godzilla roll ($10), a monstrous amalgamation of salmon, tuna, red spanner, yellowtail, and green onion struggling to break free from a miso dressing drizzle and the weight of societal expectations.
• For $10, you get $20 worth of Asian cuisine during lunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. • For $20, you get $40 worth of Asian cuisine during dinner from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. Diners who redeem their Groupon Thursday, Friday, or Saturday after 8:30 p.m. receive complimentary edamame and sake.
Banzai Sushi's chefs award imaginative nicknames to the 100 distinct sushi rolls that earned the restaurant a top-five spot on ABC 7's A-List in 2011. The Nitros roll, baked in a blanket of spicy sauce, awakens taste buds with salty smelt roe and crunchy flecks of tempura, while Drum rolls keeps things fresh with tuna, lemon, and asparagus. For a hot meal, diners can tear into a hibachi-grilled meat or classic teriyaki entree, each available with a choice of salmon, chicken, or New York–style steak.