At New Peking, chefs trained in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong build an extensive menu of traditional dishes to represent the diverse cuisines. In addition to classic favorites such as sesame chicken or sweet-and-sour pork, the kitchen also broadens its approach with specialties incorporating Thai and Korean influences.
A three-course duck meal leads taste buds through a trio of Chinese standbys, beginning with tender peking duck, then duck with bean sprouts, and finally a light duck soup that refuses to be pigeonholed into a traditional first-course role. Diners sample flavors of the sea with orange roughy or the schools of scallops, shrimp, and abalone collected in a crispy Bird Nest Triple Delight noodle bowl.
To the Japanese, the words “sama zama” mean “variety.” But to a food critic from the Pitch, the unfamiliar phrase has become synonymous with “serious snacks.” That’s how she described the fare at Sama Zama, an eatery run by One Bite Japanese Grill's owner, Erika Koike. Perhaps the most intriguing of Erika's family recipes and culinary experiments is the okonomi yaki, a savory pancake often dubbed Japanese-style pizza. It consists of grilled dough crowned with the meat or veggies of your choice, a fried egg, sweet sauces, and crunchy noodles.
Exposed brick juts out from an orange accent wall in Sama Zama's Tokyo-inspired interior, which is splashed with circles and triangles that appear to move of their own volition under the light cast by bare bulbs and the baby suns tethered to the ceiling.
Featured on Food Network’s Heat Seekers for its fiery pad thai chicken, Zagat-rated Thai Place Restaurant has been bathing traditional family recipes in spices ranging from mild to sweltering hot for more than two decades. A kaleidoscope of succulent seafood such as squid, scallops, and catfish spangle fried-rice and stir-fried dishes as ribbons of rice noodles interlace with traditional napa cabbage, chinese broccoli, and bok choy. Coconut-milk-infused curries come in red, yellow, and green varieties like a traffic light on a spice trade route, suffusing ample slices of chicken, beef, or tofu.
At each of Drunken Fish's upscale restaurants, chefs create traditional and specialty sushi, along with stir-frys and other Japanese entrees. Fresh tuna nigiri and 10 oz Teriyaki glazed strip steak make for tasty pairings with signature cocktails, such as the Madame Butterfly with raspberry vodka, mango puree, and pineapple juice. Drunken Fish has three convenient locations within St. Louis, each featuring modern decor.
When it comes to Japanese cuisine, the cooks at Happy Banzai fall into two camps: sushi and hibachi. Along with maki mainstays, such as the classic Philadelphia roll, Happy Banzai's sushi chefs conjure up their own specialties, from the Mexican roll's jalapeno-topped spicy tuna to the troublemaker roll—an avocado-topped, white tuna stuffed version of the California roll. Hibachi-wise, chefs build epic feasts adorned with appetite-stoking soup, salad, and rice dishes and anchored by mains such as beef teriyaki and grilled white fish with garlic butter, the ultimate defense against lactose-intolerant vampires. To create lush flavor profiles, Happy Banzai's bartenders serve white and red wine, an extensive selection of spirits, and nine types of sake—each of which finds its way into some of the steakhouse's 10-plus cocktails, including a margarita made with sake and triple sec.
Hikari Japanese Steakhouse's thespian chefs grill Japanese-inflected steakhouse fare in breathtaking tableside performances as rice artisans craft fresh maki and nigiri from an open-air sushi bar. Cuts of steak, shrimp, and lobster dance on sizzling grills situated in the middle of each dining table, where chefs chop, flip, and ignite each luscious morsel in a more theatrical culinary display than Hamlet's famous TV-dinner scene. The full bar decants cocktails, beers, and an exotic sake and plum wine fusion to patrons 21 and older, whereas children 10 and younger can sup on kids’-menu items tailored to simpler palates.