Park East calls itself "the ultimate expression of what a high-end casual restaurant should be," and its delicate balance between refinement and spontaneity seeps into its every crack. Drawing upon a hybrid of contemporary American, delicate Japanese, and old-fashioned bar food, the kitchen might prepare anything from a cheeseburger topped with chipotle-tomato jam and house onion rings to innovative sushi rolls that wrap up strip steak or strawberries. On Sunday mornings, the brunch menu wakes up late-risers and offers sanctuary for vampires who forgot to go to sleep with such delicacies as lobster fried rice, bacon-infused pancakes, and a cheese-stuffed waffle soaked in bourbon syrup. It all happens in a massive dining room that somehow retains an intimate lounge feel, even with a hard-partying sports bar right next door.
Owners Sophie Tan and Calvin Yum know how to make sushi fun. Which is why their restaurant, Cucumber Sushi and Salad Bar?called "a shiny new restaurant that epitomizes millennial dining" by the Staten Island Advance?entertains diners in a trendy eatery that features minimalistic decor and a menu of classic and creative Asian dishes. Traditional options such as yellowtail rolls and thai coconut curry support the menu's creative cast of Japanese salads and specialty rolls made from spicy kani and Mexican seasonings. Cucumber Sushi and Salad Bar also offers prix-fixe and spring special menus.
With its amber and red tones, bronze waterfall, and pebble stone accents, Arisu Japanese Cuisine immerses diners in an elegant, easygoing atmosphere. The restaurant's tranquil vibe reflects the meaning behind its name, "Great River," as well as the contemporary Japanese cuisine that it plates up daily. Upon sinking into Arisu's oversized banquet chairs, diners may fill up on an extensive menu that includes Japanese standards, such as sushi and sashimi, along with Korean barbecue ribs marinated in a sweet soy sauce and lobster teriyaki served with assorted veggies.
A waterfall bubbles into a rippling fishpond, its surface reflecting the colorful string lights on a sprouting tree. Around the rest of the dining room, lattice-style wooden dividers arc and bend beside traditional Japanese screens and the green wisps of plants. To pair with these decorative touches, Takara mingles traditional cooking methods from several Japanese regions in a menu of tabletop hibachi, teriyaki, and delicately wrapped sushi.
Wall sconces cast an orange glow on sashimi and maki rolls of tuna, scallop, and yellowtail, and tableside hibachi chefs slice and mince salmon, lobster, and filet mignon on a heated grill. After scooping up udon noodles from a steaming, kitchen-prepared hot pot, guests can catch the game on several high-definition flat-screen TVs, or test the bartender by asking for the little-known drink "Water on the Rocks."
At South Fin Grill, the ocean breeze mingles with a menu of upscale seafood and steakhouse dishes praised by New York magazine. Amid what critic Ethan Wolff describes as a "priceless" ocean view, servers roll out lobster, crab, swordfish, and salmon incarnated as pasta, soup, and sushi dishes. The "turf" portion of the menu showcases grilled new york sirloin, filet mignon, and barbecued pork, but the focus once again turns seaside at a raw bar that features clams and oysters kept fresh by pearl-shaped breath mints.
Beams of blue and yellow lighting hover above the interior dining tables, each blanketed with a white tablecloth and centered with a flickering candle. Outside, the ocean deck's sea-blue umbrellas shelter views of the boardwalk, ocean, and seagull beach volleyball tourneys. The restaurant bolsters its elegantly plated cuisine with occasional entertainment acts, which have included DJs.
If cooking were a language, the chefs at Makoto Japanese Restaurant would be multilingual. They follow Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, and Thai cooking traditions to craft dishes ranging from Thai-style duck with curry sauce to broiled eel with seaweed salad and Japanese pickles. At any given time, they might be slicing fresh sashimi in the kitchen or dazzling hungry guests at tableside hibachi grills. They approach grilling as a performance, thrilling audiences by flipping juicy steaks, sizzling tender scallops, and chopping vegetables fast enough to ignite the flames that light the grill. Wooden walls border the hibachi tables, creating an air of exclusivity as diners delight in the semi-private show.