The seasoned chefs at Biwako Sushi, led by head chef and owner Andy Kwon, concoct a variety of traditional Japanese and Korean dishes, often experimenting with playful sushi arrangements. Rolls can be found laid out in neatly staggered rainbow rows, organized into the shape of a heart pierced by an arrow, or arranged as tiny dioramas populated with plants, sushi clusters, and tiny sushi traffic lights. Casual splashes of soy sauce and garnishes surround exotic and custom rolls, tightly wrapping ingredients such as tempura shrimp, masago, and eel.
The more than 25-dish menu also encompasses Korean meals such as kalbi, bibimbap, and tonkatsu, letting diners sample a range of flavors without having to stow away in a UN ambassador's luggage. When not crafting dishes in the secrecy of the kitchen, Chef Kwon teaches others the art of sushi-roll preparation in hands-on classes.
Yotsuba’s skilled sushi chefs sprinkle fresh fish and organic seaweed with low-sodium soy sauce brewed in-house. Tempura and teriyaki dishes steam atop low tables in the West Bloomfield location’s tatami room, where cushy legless seats host floor-level dining in traditional Japanese style. High-backed booths and bar seating at both locations raise patrons off the ground for views of chopstick-wielding chefs tapping out the drum solo from "Wipeout" behind the sushi bar.
In the dramatically lit, contemporarily furnished dining room of Enso, chefs and servers decorate tabletops with dependable midwestern meals emanating worldly wisdom. The creative dinner menu reveals a strong steakhouse influence, with a signature New York strip steak giving romantic advice to fluffs of Yukon gold mashed potatoes, applewood bacon, and smoky blue-cheese butter ($28.75). Sushi rolls employ scarves of rice to wrap up chilled interiors, with American-inspired options including the house smoked pull-pork roll filled with hand-cut fries, crispy onion, and thai chili mayo ($8 during lunch; $10.75 during dinner). Like family members dressed as early Neanderthals, lunchtime sandwiches such as the four-cheese grilled cheese ($8) and the slow-braised-beef panini ($12) make for an eclectic take on more familiar items.
At Shogun Japanese and Chinese Bistro, cooks amass an army of fresh ingredients to fire up on a griddle at diners’ tables. Here, shrimp, calamari, and sirloin morph into hibachi-style dinners as they sizzle in the heat and tumble through the air with the help of the chef’s spatula. Fresh fish and rice converge to form sushi such as the crispy roll #24, whose salmon and yellowtail flaunt a sauce as sweet and spicy as a valentine from a jalapeño pepper. The Chinese section of the menu brims with house specialties such as beef with stir-fried string beans and family-style meals of shrimp kow and almond chicken.
Peals of laughter rise from families around the granite tabletops at which hibachi chefs crack jokes and flip shrimp over the grill. At Ichiban Steakhouse, expert grillers don black chef suits and show off their skill at slicing and searing chicken, steak, and seafood. Flanked by dark wood walls, nearby sushi chefs slice fresh fish to wrap tightly in specialty rolls. Five tatami rooms provide semiprivate spaces for business meals, romantic outings, or discreet transformations into a werewolf.
Chefs disregard international boundaries at the appropriately named Fusion Bistro. Instead of sticking to the cuisine of one nation, they cook up some of the world’s most popular dishes, from sushi and sashimi to pizza and chicken wings. Some of the bistro’s more eclectic offerings include the spicy-chicken roll and the whimsical Sarah Palin roll, which wraps salmon, avocado, and cucumber slices in a voter’s ballot. Just as inventive is the bar’s martini list, which features more than 30 fruity, chocolaty, and dirty variations of the classic cocktail.