A ring of rice encircles the Caviar roll's morsels of yellowtail tuna, smoked salmon, avocado, and cream cheese. The roll's exterior is just as complex, with its delicate crust of masago, tempura flakes, and eel sauce. Sushi chefs assemble hearty sushi rolls such as this at the spacious wooden sushi bar, which curves and twists its way from the front to the back of the dining room. Sushi is the focal point of both the dining room and the menu itself—chefs slice 80 different rolls, ranging from traditional crab and avocado to exotic flourishes such as squid and kiwi. To enhance their sushi selections, diners can consult the sake menu, or fold it into a paper plane and drink whatever beverage it lands on.
Though the chefs at Mandarin revere classically prepared Chinese dishes, they aren’t afraid to add a dash of inventive flair with internationally inspired twists. Hawaiian-style preparations of sweet-and-sour chicken join other Chinese comfort food, such as Chinese- or Singapore-style me fen, a mix of thin rice noodles with vegetables and meats such as pork and beef. Rice and noodle bowls from the Tour of Asia menu cull flavors from Osaka, Seoul, and Hong Kong, and traditional Chinese dishes such as chicken with snow peas and sesame beef round out the menu. Staffers pour martinis into curvy-stemmed glasses or help guests pair wines amid the dining room's mandarin-orange walls, bamboo placemats, and geisha statuettes.
On the shelves and display racks at Tala's, handbags from Brazil stand a few feet from mandala earrings and ornate hookahs. Around the shop, curated selections of handmade products stand ready to be inspected and taken home. Tala's also follows fair-trade practices, aiming to benefit the far-flung makers of its clothing and accessories.
At Sushi Samurais' electric blue sushi bar, a glass case holds pounds of fresh fish waiting to be sliced up and folded into artful sushi rolls. Here, the samurais in question, Win and Win Min Soe, whip up crunchy Dragon rolls, topped with spicy snow crab, eel sauce, and fried onion; double tempura shrimp rolls; and fiery Bengal rolls with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and jalape?os. They then stack the rolls atop sushi boats, blue fish plates, and wavy transparent glass dishes, as well as place hand rolls into special sushi stands designed to keep the rolls upright.
Inside Miyako Sushi & Steakhouse, diners gather around the flames of 10 hibachi grills to watch an expert chef flip and sear chicken in teriyaki sauce, while other patrons sit in comfy black chairs in the cool blue glow of the sushi bar. Sleek modern decor surrounds guests as their teeth unpack skillfully rolled sushi and their eyes stare hungrily at the nervous fish inside the restaurant’s aquarium. Miyako’s hibachi and sushi chefs use only fresh ingredients as they craft each dish to diners’ specifications.
Tea N Bowl offers guests two menus: one filled with authentic Chinese dishes and the other with Chinese-American favorites. Chefs use cumin, lemongrass, tamarind, and turmeric to craft the very Chinese dishes they eat at home, and turn to sweet and sour sauce and sesame seeds to build the meals often seen at Chinese restaurants in the U.S. Of course, you can request both menus, and bedeck the table with dishes that range from spicy pork intestine hot pot and squid with spiced salt to popular pad thai and orange chicken.
Meals can be paired with bubble tea?a specialty that earned the eatery a ?Best Bubble Tea? award from Cincinnati Magazine?s Best of the City 2011. The magazine described the tea to have ?pearls?soft on the outside with a sweet, chewy inside, making for a drink that?s fun to eat,? and added that the tea comes in ?nearly endless flavors and combinations?everything from vanilla milk tea to passion fruit slush to ginger hot tea.?