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.
In Sushi 88 & Ramen?s large, laid-back dining room, platters piled with sushi travel to tables, and bowls of steaming tonkatsu ramen emerge from the kitchen. The walls' Japanese tapestries flutter over diners sampling the menu's huge variety of maki rolls, bento boxes, and entrees, such as beef short ribs and grilled mackerel. Sushi 88 & Ramen accompanies meals with specialty Japanese beers, and the deft chefs can personalize sushi orders for any special occasion, whether it's asking a date to the prom or asking a business partner to trade offices.
If you stop by Harumi Sushi between Monday and Thursday, you can get a sake bomb with your monkey brain. Both names might sound a tad alarming, but they're hardly literal: the sake bombs consist of a shot of sake dropped into a cup of beer, and the monkey brain is an appetizer of mushrooms, each deep-fried and stuffed with spicy tuna.
Other names on the menu are more honest. The rainbow roll, for example, does indeed flaunt several colors—its snow crab and avocado filling is decorated with different slices of raw fish. The staff arranges the orange blossom roll into the shape of a blooming flower, while the salmon wrapped around the rice lends orange to the presentation. And, the flaming dragon roll's combination of yellowtail, snow crab, shrimp, and tuna is actually cooked in fire, rather than simply tricked out in racecar flame decals.
Besides its rolls, the restaurant also cooks up Japanese dishes such as udon soups and teriyaki-flavored meats. Its bento boxes allow guests to sample a bit of everything, with compartments for chicken teriyaki, tempura vegetables, and sashimi or a California roll.
A giant painting of a cat dressed in a sushi chef’s garb making sushi hangs high up on a wall inside Kikusushi. It overlooks tables covered in magenta linens, bamboo privacy dividers, and fish tanks with colorful swimmers. The playful atmosphere continues into the menu, with cleverly named rolls such as the dragon roll, plated to look like a dragon, and the Cholesterol Bomb, stuffed with tuna and quail eggs. Hot meals range from chicken katsu to beef teriyaki.
Michelin may have stamped its Best Value and Charming Restaurant distinctions on Hachi Ju Hachi, but all the acclaim should be directed toward the restaurant's chef and owner, Jin Suzuki. His innovative vision for traditional Japanese cuisine and open kitchen have yielded dishes such as steamed-seafood egg custard, pork-belly stew, and seasonal mushrooms with grated mountain yam. The mackerel, which is seasoned and dried in-house, is a popular entree, especially when it's prepared on the grill or in a stew of red miso broth. Best of all, Hachi Ju Hachi's unassuming vibe makes it a great place to chow down and drink sake with friends?or people who will pass as friends until your real friends arrive.
Though Iron Sushi authentically executes standard maki recipes such as the california, spider, and alaska roll, the specialty here is the unexpected. Like pets and favorite washing machines, many of the restaurant's specialty rolls have human names?such rolls as the Eddie's Special, made with shrimp tempura and cream cheese, and the Hannah Roll, which combines soft-shell crab with sweet unagi. The more adventurous might choose the Avocado Special, a roe-topped tower shrouded in avocado slices that's accompanied by the simple description, "chef's secret." More than a dozen appetizers let diners prelude maki meals with classic Japanese dishes such as agedashi tofu and wakame salad.