In the evening, Kugo Steakhouse & Sushi Bar's chefs fire up their hibachi grills and begin to slice chicken and juggle seafood with panache, as nearby sushi chefs wrap fresh ingredients into tasty rolls. Noontime diners can opt for teriyaki lunchboxes or specials that include two or three sushi rolls.
Sakura Japanese Restaurant's chefs forge sushi and Japanese dishes, which emerge into a dining room filled with art and racks of katanas. Smaller knives hew fresh fish into specialty rolls at the sushi bar, and tableside hibachi grills sizzle meats, seafood, and vegetables before audiences of captivated diners and concerned piles of dry straw. An all-you-can-eat menu replenishes plates with unlimited sushi and tempura, and the restaurant's BYOB policy allows guests to bring along their own bottles of wine.
The ingredients used in Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisine are vastly different, as are the methods of preparation. At Zhuang's Garden, they come together in surprising ways. Eight crackling hibachi-grill tables and a sushi bar represent Japan, and Chinese décor and the aromas of lo mein hint at the traditions of that nation. Glasses of wine clink together above plates of Thai food at the BYOB eatery, where the dishes include curry that is the brilliant yellow of turmeric or a banana salesman’s business card.
As live music reverberates through the elegant dining area and lounge, plates of contemporary and classic Asian dishes parade out from the kitchen. Sushi knives chop up fresh fish into specialty maki rolls, sashimi, and nigiri; grills sizzle up rib-eye teriyaki; and pots simmer with piquant curries. Patrons cheers to a full bar of specialty cocktails, wine, beer, and saki, sipping at the sushi-bar seating as they watch the chefs slice and dice, or relaxing at tabletops lining the sleek dining room, piano lounge, and outdoor patio. Further entertaining the senses, the restaurant hosts live performers each night, who are only sometimes coin-operated chimps playing miniature cymbals.
Since arranging roe and shrimp atop their first Seattle maki roll in 2001, Blue Pacific Sushi & Grill’s chefs continue to celebrate Asia’s rich culinary history by offering dishes from Korea, China, Japan, and Thailand for lunch and dinner. The kitchen buzzes with chefs forging traditional recipes from ingredients such as New Zealand muscles, soba noodles, and sweet egg, while the artists behind the sushi bar slice and roll up all manner of fresh fish into a nigiri, maki, sashimi, and temaki. Beyond the kitchen, the Pacific-themed dining room whisks eaters under the sea with its faux fish wall decorations, wavy neon lights, and union-contracted krakens hired to lurk beneath each table.
Light glints off chrome-plated woks in a glass-enclosed kitchen at the eatery’s center. Patrons look on from a semi-circular sushi bar or the surrounding tiered seats as chefs handcraft Asian dishes ranging from marinated nigiri sushi to the house specialty—vegetarian sweet-and-sour fried chicken. Japanese seaweed salads also emanate from the kitchen alongside Chinese classics such as peking duck and kung pao beef, which warms diners’ insides as effectively as spicy tuna rolls swaddled in tiny afghans. To end meals in style, coconut flan or Chocolate Duo Mocesse trip lightly across the tastebuds.