Each morning as the sun blossoms in the sky, chilled containers of fresh seafood arrive at Bara Sushi and Grill, causing chefs to smile in anticipation of the day’s creations. Lobster tail, salmon, and shrimp share space with unique sidekicks such as potato crunch, goat cheese, and mango in sushi rolls with names including The Big Lebowksi, Red Dragon, and Crouching Tiger. During midday hours, diners can ditch peanut-butter sandwiches for customizable lunchboxes, which can be filled with selections such as teriyaki chicken, veggie tempura, hall passes that never expire, and spicy tuna rolls.
Steve Lin, owner of Land of Sushi, opens up shipments of fresh fish and live scallops every day in the kitchen. Behind the restaurant?s sushi bar, the chefs encase seafood morsels in specialty rolls such as the mango roll with spicy tuna and the uni roll with fresh sea urchin, creations that led to their being named Best Sushi Restaurant 2012, Best Japanese Restaurant 2013, and Best Sushi Bar 2014 by the Denver Westword. Non-sushi dishes include 9-ounce new york strip steaks with teriyaki sauce and Alaskan halibut with miso glaze.
The executive chef here is one Ray Huy Hoang, and his sushi experience is extensive. Before he was rolling, slicing, and drizzling sauce at Sushi Mango, he spent 15 years sharpening his knives and skills at several other Japanese restaurants. Hoang's talents are so well known that he was commissioned to help out the Denver Art Museum. When CultureHaus threw a benefit for the establishment, they enlisted Hoang to create human sushi bars—nude models decorated with a smorgasbord of strategically arranged rolls and garnishes.
A vibrant, buzzing neon sign beams with electric blue and orange light as it invites hungry passersby to sample the inventive sushi creations and delicate Japanese treats that won Yuki Sushi & Robata a coveted spot in ABC 7's A-list for three years in a row. The bill of fare bristles with warm noodle soups such as tempura udon, umami cuts of meat such as teriyaki chicken and beef, and fresh Chilean sea bass. Inventive maki rolls shine on Yuki Sushi & Robata's diverse menu, with selections such as the Carmen Miranda featuring fresh fruit.
Carved straight-backed chairs and hanging crimson lanterns cultivate a traditional Chinese vibe inside Golden Shanghai's spacious dining room. Nearby, a wall with strings of firecrackers and golden Buddha statues creates an exotic backdrop for family dinners or faked vacation photos. In keeping with the traditional décor theme, chefs plate MSG-free Chinese classics such as crispy duck and spicy Hunan beef as well as more adventurous specialties from a separate authentic-Chinese menu.
Elsewhere, however, the kitchen defies standard categories, bringing together the disparate cuisines of Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam for eclectic feasts. Tender morsels of Thai satay chicken share table space with Japanese sushi and udon, and chefs also stir up bowls of Vietnamese noodle soup. As they chomp their way through the tastes of the East, visitors can toast another year of not renewing their passport with glasses of tropical cocktails or frosty, thirst-quenching beers.
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.