At Sogo Fusion, monkey rolls come arranged in tidy rows across a square plate, piled high with mounds of tempura seafood that lend the rolls the appearance of squat, tiny huts. The monkey roll is just one of dozens of artfully arranged platters. Chefs strive to match their creative presentations with equally inspired ingredients: tempura-battered seafood stars in many of the rolls, a crisp and savory batter complementing the bright flavors of mango and kiwi. In addition to sushi, they grill up Japanese hibachi entrees and simmer spicy Thai curries, which ensure that chopsticks stay too busy to assist with diners’ walrus impressions.
The multitalented chefs at Sakura Japanese Steakhouse emphasize quality ingredients and artful presentation in each and every dish. The traditional Japanese dining room features a central hibachi grill that sears vegetables, steak, and seafood in an inferno of sizzling oils and bright yellow flames. Sakura’s more coolheaded sushi chefs swirl hand and specialty rolls—crafted from shrimp tempura, softshell crab, and salmon—behind chilled cases of fresh fish. Indecisive diners can request omakase meals, assortments of seasonal dishes handpicked by the chef to showcase culinary skill and an ability to match meals to wallpaper swatches.
• For $17, you get $35 worth of Japanese fare and sushi during dinner. • For $8, you get $16 worth of Japanese fare and sushi during lunch. Irashiai's chefs parade an extensive menu of handmade sashimi, nigiri, and maki before diners in the restaurant's new location. Black-caviar sashimi ($3.50 for lunch, $3.75 for dinner) admits diners into elegance like a butler's secret handshake, and nigiri aficionados can sample sticky rice topped with such offerings as fried oyster ($2.00) or shrimp ($1.50). The island roll with panko fried tuna, citrus tobiko, and ponzu sauce ($6.95) tickles taste buds with tropical flavors without committing the faux pas of eating a lei. Yakisoba sautéed with thin egg noodles ($8.50) brims with chicken and veggies captured before they could set out on their morning swim, and a wide variety of bento boxes and lunch combos frolics beneath the restaurant's wasabi-green walls.
Fu of Kyoto's chefs speedily serve up a delectable roster of traditional sushi rolls and Japanese entrees. Tongues can practice for the main meal by first unwrapping pork or vegetable dumplings ($3.15) and ponder why the eight-piece Rainbow roll's tuna, salmon, and cucumber ($4.39) haven't been added to the visible-color spectrum. Teriyaki-infused bites of chicken ($4.95) or eel ($6.85) caper through fried rice in one of Fu's rice bowls, and the hibachi-grilled fillet steak and jumbo shrimp ($8.99) spurn the centuries-old feud between their families by courting in a thicket of vegetables.
At Kinkaku Japanese Steak House, the chefs show off their culinary chops by preparing sushi and hibachi in front of visitors’ eyes. At the sushi bar, they slice morsels of sashimi or roll aesthetically pleasing creations of rice and pieces of seafood that include spicy tuna, eel, and shrimp tempura. The maki rolls are held together by sheets of nori, deep-green seaweed paper tinged with salinity.
At teppanyaki tables, several diners sit around a wide flat grill and watch food transform before their eyes. In a clattering flurry of knives and spatulas, chefs prepare piles of chicken teriyaki, scallops, and steak before serving them with veggies, fried rice, and shrimp. Revelry swells as servers carry out trays of sake and imported Japanese beers and hide pamphlets about how many teddy bears get thrown into the ocean each year.
The sushi and hibachi chefs at Hana Japanese Restaurant—formerly known as Kubo's—create dishes that are as artistically impressive as the decor. Beneath the glow of star-shaped light fixtures and neon backlighting, plates hold statue-like entrees crafted out of fresh seafood and vegetables. An aquarium and a waterfall landscape enliven the sushi bar, which glistens with delicate layers of crab, yellowtail, and salmon. Overhead, you'll see a dark-blue panel emanating pinpricks of light that resemble stars in the night sky or the distant flashlights of villagers hunting down Godzilla.