The sushi chefs at Black Lantern Sushi Den, a registered Green Restaurant, cook up a full roster of Japanese delicacies, tightly enveloping ingredients within more than 35 sushi rolls. Nosh on all-natural options like the stuffed baby mushrooms ($12), plump with breadcrumbs, or sink ravenous teeth into nigiri and sashimi ($4.50+). Eel and cucumber play fine neighbors to seaweed and rice within the Azalia roll ($13). Meanwhile, the Violet Lily Roll ($16) sets up seared ginger salmon and goat cheese on a tasteful double date with roasted portobello and jalapeños before letting them bunk together in one rice sleeping bag.
Shiny golden spheres congregate by a cozy fireplace inside Arata Sushi's dining room. Though they're attached to the wall, they seem to drift across space like tiny suns or undersea bubbles. Perhaps they're an homage to the fish that comprise the restaurant's colorful sushi lineup, which the Courier-Journal has dubbed "highly imaginative." In the kitchen, chefs whorl fresh seafood with rice and veggies to form more than 45 types of maki. Several rolls, such as the Cardinal, showcase fruits such as kiwis and strawberries alongside savory ingredients such as fried shrimp and cream cheese. At the bar, diners can sip wine and sake while watching the chefs slice bright-orange salmon and tuna as red as a comet wearing a clown nose.
Galangal sweeps taste buds off on a sensory tour of Southeast Asia with an exquisitely aromatic menu of rich Thai specialties and fresh Japanese sushi platters. Patrons embark on exploratory dinners under the benevolent smile of a bronze-colored Buddha, savoring the Golden Bag ($6), crispy dumpling skins bear-hugging a tender mix of puréed yam and minced pork. Under the lush light of sconces twinkling from exposed-stone walls, the exotic Mango Basket rice crepe bowl ($15) glows as it pampers herbivorous palates with morsels of shredded mango frolicking harmoniously with baby corn and mushrooms. Eager forks reel spicy pad kee mao drunken noodles ($18) from an ocean teeming with mixed seafood, bell pepper, and eggplant. While diners linger at glossy black tables to the sound of the restaurant's babbling waterfall, skilled chefs behind the sushi bar nimbly twist up a rainbow's worth of bright specialty rolls, including spicy coils of mango and fresh lobster in soybean paper ($15) and a kaleidoscopic array of à la carte sushi bites ($3–$5). Luscious desserts including nirvanic bites of ice cream melting over fried bananas ($7) finally reward sweet teeth for patiently waiting through the night's savories.
Fiery red roe, caramelized chilean sea bass, and a sunset’s worth of oranges and yellows in sliced mango and tempura shrimp. You may not normally think of fish dishes as photogenic, but the carefully composed masterpieces Kado Sushi’s chefs roll and stack onto plates are meant to inspire—at least when it comes to hunger. The menu’s more traditional rolls—including dragon and philadelphia varieties—make up a significant number of familiar edible pleasures. But it’s the chefs’ special rolls that treat avid sushi eaters who may think they’ve already eaten it all. The unagi-topped alligator roll leads with a rice pad shaped into the reptile’s likeness, the American Dream roll stars spicy lobster, and the Sweet Heart roll’s eight pieces are fused into four heart shapes outlined in red raw tuna. Dishes from other Asian countries also make strong appearances on the cooked side of the menu, where spicy indonesian sambal sambal, thai red curry, and sichuan peppercorn beef layer flavors that heat the belly as well as the tongue.
Wild Ginger's woven lanterns drizzle light on a wall-spanning triptych of paintings that blends modern abstraction with traditional Asian styles. Cherry-red banquettes cushion patrons as they dine on dishes that blend the cuisines of China, Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Sushi shares menu space with made-to-order entrees of chicken, duck, and scallops in curry and fruit-based sauces. While waiting on a wok entree to cool, patrons can try to down a frothy brew using only their chopsticks.
When owners, Robert Beer and Tom Lam, opened Nisen Woodbury, they set out to seamlessly combine sushi and traditional fine dining into one stylish package. So for the upscale menu, their chefs craft specialty rolls such as the Scottish goat, filled with ginger salmon, goat cheese, roasted Portobello, and jalapeño salsa, and cook high-quality meats, such as organic chicken and Kobe-style beef, to perfection. And regardless of whether it’s served hot or cold, the food that emerges from the restaurant’s kitchen is artfully presented. This fits with Nisen Woodbury’s interior décor, which features warm mood lighting and tables set beneath lofty, arched ceilings that draw hip crowds of discerning fine diners.