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.
Panda Restaurant's cooks take visitors on a tour of the Asian continent, magically compressing the lengthy journey into a single, jet-lag-free meal. From Japan, they prepare specialty sushi, such as the Spicy Girl tuna roll with droplets of chili sauce or the Hawa roll with eel and mango. They head across the sea to borrow recipes from China, such as the Seven Stars Around the Moon, which boldly melds the flavors of beef, scallops, jumbo shrimp, roasted pork, king crab, and chicken. Finally, they sling up Thailand's noodle and curry staples, such as massaman shrimp with potatoes or chicken sautéed with fresh mango. Between sips of their favorite BYO beverages, guests can conclude this epic feast with a sweet flourish of ice cream.
Sakura Japanese Restaurant's chefs forge sushi and Japanese dishes, which emerge into a dining room filled with art and racks of katanas. Smaller knives hew fresh fish into specialty rolls at the sushi bar, and tableside hibachi grills sizzle meats, seafood, and vegetables before audiences of captivated diners and concerned piles of dry straw. An all-you-can-eat menu replenishes plates with unlimited sushi and tempura, and the restaurant's BYOB policy allows guests to bring along their own bottles of wine.
Sizzling steaks, fine cocktails, and a pyrotechnic performance all come together at Shogun 22, one of Green Brook's favorite Japanese steakhouses since 1983. Served with dramatic flair?as well as literal flares?hibachi entrees like filet mignon, tilapia, and scallops are prepared on a tabletop grill by a showboating chef. They come sandwiched between a shrimp appetizer, grilled veggies, and a frosty bowl of ice cream. The kitchen is in charge of other rib-sticking dishes, like miso-drizzled salmon, crunchy shrimp tempura, and chicken katsu, while the sushi bar composes dozens of specialty rolls. Extend the creative flourishes to your drinks by downing a domestic or imported beer or an exotic beverage such as the ginger martini or the plum wine.
The penchant for modernity at o-toro recently caught the eye and taste buds of County Lines magazine’s staff, which named it one of Philly’s Best New Ventures of 2013. The restaurant’s track lighting illuminates a contemporary scene marked by wooden fixtures, vibrant splotches of red and orange, and plates of Japanese cuisine with Mexican, Korean, and American influences. Sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls—such as the signature o-toro roll with fatty tuna tartar, spicy mayo, and jalapeño—are served alongside tapas-style plates of filet mignon dumplings, duck tacos, and skewers of Korean-style fried chicken. At the polished wooden bar, bartenders pour wine, sake, and craft beer.
An extensive menu sets Midori Japanese Restaurant apart. A dozen-plus hibachi dinner selections counter 20+ midori special rolls, including selections of Alaska crab, batter-fried sweet shrimp, and yellow fin tuna—which in the wild, amid a school of tuna, looks like the school bus. Sushi and sashimi abound, too.