"It took them five years before they would let me handle the fish," says sushi chef Jo Clark about his extensive training. He began his culinary journey at 13 years old and spent a decade in an apprenticeship at the Japanese restaurant Yama. There, he honed an ability to prep rice and sauces, wield a knife, and select sushi-grade fish while shadowing chefs from different regions of Japan. In his spare time, Jo enjoys paddle-surfing and once skillfully maneuvered alongside a lively school of sharks.
At the restaurant, however, he deftly manages cuts of salmon, flounder, hamachi yellowtail, and shellfish to craft more than 40 inventive sushi rolls. He toys with the traditions of sushi, wrapping some rolls with thin slices of European cucumber and creating a sashimi pizza on a tortilla crust. The aromas of ginger, eggplant, and garlic wander from pots of Thai-style dishes in the kitchen and out into dining rooms. Though each location has distinct decor, diners mingle among elements such as exposed-brick bars, hardwood floors, and hanging Japanese paper lanterns in the exciting bright colors of a furious traffic cop viewed through a kaleidoscope.
For more than two decades, Ebisu—named for the Japanese god of wealth and fortune—has fostered a passion for fresh seafood. According to the Palm Beach Post, chef Hiro Yamamoto infuses his traditional Japanese specialties with the local catches of the day, which are listed daily on a blackboard alongside several lines of I will not pretend to be avocado written by the wasabi in detention. Beneath the rustic, fish-print art dangling over the sushi bar, guests can watch the chefs as they bundle nigiri, maki, and temaki with fresh ingredients in classic arrangements. From the kitchen, plump udon and soba noodle soups join tempura veggies and teriyaki entrees as a steamy complement to the rice-rolled morsels. Guests savor the restaurant’s house sake or plum wine from wooden booths and floor-level tatami seating, which seems to ignite beneath scarlet walls and hanging paper lanterns.
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From a distance, it looks like a scoop of pistachio ice cream or a very large lime. But up close, it's clear that the sphere's green skin is actually a layer of thinly sliced avocado, which conceals a savory lump of snow crab, eel, and sushi rice. A union of artistic presentation and fine ingredients, this dish—called the Green Apple—embodies the creative approach of Fusionarie Japanese Signature's chefs, who craft sushi delicacies from seafood delivered fresh daily. At their kitchen inside Royal Palm Place, house-made mango sauce, wasabi aioli, and other garnishes douse house signature sushi rolls as teriyaki and tonkatsu entrees crisp atop grills and stoves. The eatery's décor echoes the chefs' commitment to presentation, as lantern-like lights illuminate Japanese statuary and the grain of hardwood floors and furnishings.
A stylish, pitch-black façade with crimson accents beckons passersby into Asia, where they can indulge in hot-off-the-wok chicken and steak entrees, or revel in the rawness of sushi and hand-rolled maki. Like a mashed-potato sculpture of the United Nations headquarters, each feast is an edible testament to a peaceful blend of cultures, with Chinese dishes of crispy duck sharing table space with South American tuna ceviche and Japanese salmon sashimi. Chefs carefully prepare all dishes according to kosher dietary rules.
Amidst the restaurant's funky zebra-print chairs and flat-screen TVs showing the game, guests end meals of pan-seared gyoza or grilled Atlantic salmon with decadent desserts such as chocolate ganache cake or fried gelato. On Saturday nights, diners pair sushi with potent tropical cocktails including minty mojitos or the signature Pineapple Express.