Chefs routinely join guests at the tables inside Tokyo Steak House. But rather than dine with them, they cook their meals with front-row views for everyone, showcasing expert skills at hibachi grills. Pieces of chicken, filet mignon, and lobster tail sizzle atop the specially designed flat-tops before moving onto guests? plates just a few feet away.
In stark contrast to Yakuza Sushi Bar’s otherwise low-lit dining room, golden lights flood the surface of a full-length bar where chefs busily roll together a menu of sushi and sashimi. Drawing on ocean-fresh ingredients such as scallops, octopus, mackerel, and crab, they craft their own interpretations of Japanese classics; customer favorites include the crab-rangoon roll and the aptly named Fire roll, whose spicy tuna complements a drizzle of volcanic lava. Aside from the restaurant’s flagship variations of fish, tempura vegetables and chicken and beef teriyaki serve as the centerpieces for traditional bento entrees.
Helmed by chef Paul Kulkanjanatorn, who boasts 10 years in the raw fish-fileting industry, Fin Japanese Cuisine serves up a vast menu of authentic Japanese fare in a sophisticated and romantic setting. Gird yourself for a long night of vampire hunting with a hearty dinner bento box such as the Shogun Set, a collection of gindara miso, shrimp tempura, and sashimi ($18.95), or opt for tonkatsu, a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet mingled with katsu sauce ($16.95). Midday munchers can luxuriate in a lunch bento set, served with gyoza, house salad, rice, miso soup, and a helping of chicken, salmon, or steak teriyaki ($9.95).
Outside, flames blaze within a set of stone cauldrons atop towering tripods. The vessels, known as dings, have been symbols of power in China since ancient times, when dynasties ruled the empire—making them a fitting façade for the Emperor’s Palace. Within the restaurant’s high ceilings, a dining room takes inspiration from the Suzhou Botanical Gardens, with tables sitting among waterfalls, ponds connected by bridges, and an open, four-sided Chinese-style pagoda with red and gold accents and pointed eaves.
Amid the traditional Chinese décor, aromas of sizzling meats and piquant sauces waft from an open kitchen, where chefs perform as they sear, broil, and stir-fry more than 200 dishes in full view of patrons. They craft traditional and American-Chinese dishes such as roasted peking duck and walnut shrimp, American-style charbroiled steak, sushi, and Korean-style kimchi. Contributing to the restaurant's international focus, seafood dishes incorporate such ingredients as New Zealand blue mussels and Alaskan crab legs complete with miniature snowshoes.
Bold flavors infuse Mizu Sushi Bar's menu of nigiri sushi, maki rolls, and cooked pan-Asian dishes. Spicy garlic sauce erupts from the Screaming Volcano roll, and tangy housemade teriyaki clings to charbroiled chicken and beef. Korean BBQ entrees such as beef ribs and bulgogi add international flavor, like the parts of Three Stooges films where Moe swears in Javanese. And for those who prefer less spice, tempura shrimp and veggies hide inside crisp batter, and udon noodles swirl in mild broth.
Though located in the trendy Washington Avenue district, Mizu's industrial-style space is "spacious and sleek without seeming hipper than thou," according to the Riverfront Times. Track lighting dangles from an exposed ceiling next to flat-screen TVs and a wall-mounted sculpture of tortoises striving to be seen as more than just potential eyeglass frames.