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.
The chef slices thick slabs of fresh salmon, meticulously arranging them atop beds of rice as diners peer over the traditional sushi bar to admire his work. As he forges his fish-laden creations, the rhythmic cutting of his knife accompanies the melodies coaxed forth from the piano in the dining room and the cheery chatter of the evening’s guests. So passes another dinner rush at FuruSato Sushi Japanese Restaurant.
In the kitchen, cooks whip up authentic Japanese recipes for lunch and dinner using ingredients such as fresh scallops, real crab, and fresh mango. Servers whisk the dishes into the dining room wherein sliding doors, blonde wood, and minimalistic decor evoke the feel of a traditional Japanese home. Four private tatami rooms can be rented by groups of 4 to 20 people eager to partake in a secluded meal away from the prying eyes and wandering forks of other diners.
Seated at the long, curving sushi bar, diners at Super TGI’s Sushi get a close look at the chefs’ artistry: slicing and artfully arranging plates of fresh sashimi, perching lacy tempura atop bowls of udon noodles, and, of course, rolling dazzlingly colorful maki. But their most impressive feat might be entirely mental—they also must have a command of the nearly 100 types of specialty rolls on the menu. Of course, the ultra-creative names might well be a good mnemonic aid. No one will look askance if you order, for instance, a Mammamiya (unagi and hamachi), an eBay (a classic California roll plus shrimp and tobiko), a Miss Netscreen (tuna, salmon, and shrimp rolled in cucumber), or a Brian (seven kinds of fish, not counting the shrimp tempura).
Seafood doesn’t exhaust the abilities of the restaurant, a new outpost of the original TGI's Sushi in Campbell. Beyond the sushi bar’s red paper lanterns, groups sup on hot dishes such as sukiyaki, teriyaki, and the classic breaded pork dish tonkatsu.
For 35 years, streams of loyal customers have flocked to Michi Sushi, savoring the crispy tempura seafood and veggies, the sushi culled form freshly flown-in fish, and savory bowls of udon soup. Like misunderstood genius folk art sculptors, Michi's chefs create traditional products from innovative and inventive ingredients, resulting in dishes such as barbecued eel over beds of macadamia nuts, or Bay Area-themed makis dressed with spicy Korean sauce, tempura crumbs, jalapenos, and avocado. Diners gather amid the restaurant's charming Japanese wood and paper-screen décor to chow down on mango salmon salads and beef teriyaki or order catered feasts for weddings and parties.
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.