Flames erupt into the air within feet of feasting customers seated around Sumo Sushi House's hibachi grill. Chefs corral the fire as they sear filet mignon, lobster, and chicken, pairing each meal with fresh-cooked fried rice. Meanwhile, at the sushi bar, sushi chefs roll fresh, seasonal ingredients into a slew of traditional and unique rolls. These offerings range from California and Alaska rolls to a colorful Lady Gaga roll—packed with yellowtail and spicy tuna—and an American Dream roll, a peppy arrangement of lobster, crab, and shrimp tempura that tastes like a promotion.
To make Groupon customers feel like they're big in Japan, Meiko Sushi is offering a special menu (a $50 value) just for them. After opening with two bowls of house salad and a plate of gyozas, friendly waiters will sing "The Circle of Life" while parading out a lion-king roll (a California roll baked with a fillet of salmon). Once your guard is down and your mouth is open, they'll light the fuse on a firecracker roll (a maki roll of spicy crab meat and cucumber buttered with avocado and Siracha hot sauce) and toss it in. Closing with a golden California roll (a crispy, deep-fried California roll garnished with flying fish roe, scallions, and the sweet house sauce) gives the crackling palate a smooth come-down, particularly when washed down with two shots of cold fruit sake (or if you're under 21, green-tea ice cream). Vegetarians can swap the selected rolls out with more herbivorous vegan rolls, broccoli rolls, and kappa rolls. Finicky fish eaters, meanwhile, can do the same with Philly rolls, spicy tuna rolls, and tempura rolls.
The chefs at Zakuro Japanese Bistro & Sushi Bar travel back and forth through culinary epochs as they forge a menu that blends traditional Japanese dishes, such as sukiyaki and sashimi, with the modern flourishes of more than 40 specialty maki rolls accented by 20 homespun sauces. With an eye for both aesthetic beauty and flavorful depth, these maki rolls like to surprise the taste buds with distinctive additions such as thinly sliced lemon, fried lobster, or garlic sauce. Along with past and present, Zakuro's chefs explore the cuisine's future with spicy Zakuro spaghetti and other fusion dishes.
As diners expand their palates, they can refresh them between bites with paired selections of crisp and robust sakes. Dim light ties together the rich-burgundy walls and the chocolaty leather of the chairs and booths, enhancing the romance of the dark-wood sushi bar and preventing anyone from trying to stage a shadow-puppet opera.
Japanese cuisine is as much a form of art as it is a delicacy, and the chefs at Little Madfish put their creative talents on display while crafting more than 50 unique sushi rolls. Bento-box lunch specials combine teriyaki meats with delectable sushi, and sushi party platters feed 3–8 people or one shark too lazy to gather its own seafood. Diners can complement their meals of teriyaki-slathered chicken or braised short ribs with sake and imported Japanese beers.
Kane Sushi's alphabetized specialty sushi menu stretches from A to T. Or, 420 to T, to be more precise. The 420 Roll contains avocado, tempura shrimp, masago, tuna, and unagi. At the other end of the alphabet, the Too Hot for Sheila roll holds extra spicy tuna and avocado inside, and hamachi outside. In between the two, a huge spread of creative sushi rolls offers something for every palate: crab meat and tempura shrimp with garlic (the Nuclear roll); tobiko, kaiwarei, and salmon (the Marcei roll); and a baked california roll with spicy scallops up top (the Mac and Cheese roll).
But chefs don't just work with raw food—they also prepare kitchen entrees. That means deep-fried chicken, whole-grilled squid and beef ribs, and teriyaki.
Mikado Bistro's foodsmiths craft flaming wokfuls of favorite Chinese and Japanese dishes, along with plating delicate slices of fresh sushi. Diners can kick off consumption with the hearty crunch of fried wontons ($3.95), and edamame's ($2.95) boiled soybeans spring from their ancestral pods into waiting mouths. Chopsticks peck like foraging antique hunters at signature sushi rolls, such as the Golden Phoenix, a pile of slender disks of unagi, cucumber, crab, tuna, and avocado ($14.95) traditionally served as still-flaming ashes. Patrons can dive into two-item bento boxes ($11.95) filled with such goodies as vegetable tempura, chicken teriyaki, or sushi rolls, or scoop up helpings of succulent mu shu pork ($6.95) with chewy pancakes.