Roy Lui and Chanel Liu, expert fish purveyors and Tsukiji Sushi Bar & Restaurant's proprietors, place veteran chef Haruo Komatsu at the helm of a kitchen stocked with fresh fish and tender Koshihikari rice. Sourced from the enormous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, sushi staples including albacore tuna, salmon, and eel curl up in sleeping bags of salty rice and seaweed alongside more exotic offerings such as sea urchin, flying-fish roe, giant clam, and lightly grilled submarine. At the sushi bar, chef Komatsu awes onlookers in seven nearby seats as he deftly slices rolls and doles them out for immediate consumption.
At Tokyo Shabu Sushi Restaurant, sushi masters slice up delicate sashimi and handrolled maki while chefs put flame to chicken katsu, teriyaki steak, and umami udon noodle soups. But the crew also takes their flavors a step beyond the offerings of many other Japanese restaurants. The menu has a knack of blending Japanese and western influences, as seen in teriyaki-style New York strip steak and a creamy cheesecake dessert made with earthy green tea. Potent sake cocktails and frosty Japanese beers go with just about any dish and help visitors work up the courage to perform their spoken-word versions of "Purple Rain" during weekend karaoke.
Taste the face-melting guitar solos a single sushi on Ace's menu can pull off with one grain of rice tied behind its back. Octopus nigiri ($3.50), scallop sashimi ($8.50), and chicken teriykai skewers ($7.80) crescendo appetites into the main course. Try Ace's signature mango lobster specialty roll with cilantro, spicy mayo, and macadamia nuts ($9). Creative rolls such as the Scorpion (crunchy rock shrimp, scallop, and caramelized pecans wrapped with mango and avocado, $11.50) and the Ozzy (tempura shrimp wrapped with crab, avocado, jalapenos, tobiko, and spicy mayo, $12.50) along with more traditional tastes such as a California roll ($5.25) and dragon roll ($13.50) satisfy any sushi ace.
Live Sushi Bar and Bistro alike fill hungry tummies with an expansive selection of delectable Japanese fare in two hip and convenient locations. Diners can sharpen appetites to razor keenness with Live Sushi Bistro and Bar menu starters such as the tiger prawns teppanyaki, four seared prawns accompanied with Japanese cocktail sauce ($11.95), or the gomae, steamed spinach with crushed sesame crust, perfect for sprouting cartoon-sized muscles before an imminent street brawl ($4.95).
Asian food is a familiar part of California's culinary scene, but Nombe Restaurant’s Japanese-style tapas and brunch still manage to surprise. At dinner, parties can share small plates of deep-fried brussels sprouts with oranges and fish sauce, or they can indulge in a seven-course Kaiseki meal. The brunch menu hits sweeter notes; beignets with chocolate-orange sauce, and nori and wasabi hollandaise color a Japanese-style benedict.
Nombe actually translates to “someone who likes to drink heartily,” so of course the restaurant features a thoughtful selection of libations. In addition to 90 kinds of sake and 8 Japanese beers, patrons can sip on blood-orange mimosas and bloody marys spiced with shichimi togarashi. Onsite sake classes help diners avoid an embarrassing mix-up between rice wine and rice vinegar, and traditional Japanese sushi-making/team-building classes give them a turn inside the kitchen.
Over the last five years, the chefs at Barracuda Japanese Restaurant have continually tinkered with their sushi, teriyaki, and noodle dishes, customizing the menu to fit each Barracuda location’s neighborhood and clientele. Using fresh fish and fruit sourced locally and sustainably whenever possible, the team crafts more than a dozen specialty rolls, including the Japanese Cowboy Roll, which matches crabmeat with mango, avocado, and thinly sliced Kobe beef. Staples such as chicken teriyaki rest side by side with more intricately prepared eats including pan-seared rib eye with mashed potatoes. Lit from underneath, the dining room’s dim orange walls surround potted plants and wooden tables that can accommodate groups of all sizes.