Chefs in tall blue toques command Mikato Steak and Sushi's ten tabletop grills, where they combine culinary derring-do with entertaining showmanship while frying rice with steak, seafood, and vegetables. The main kitchen bustles with activity, as well; chicken katsu joins other Japanese cuisine such as broiled eel and shrimp teriyaki, and sushi chefs slice sashimi and coil specialty rolls. In addition to sating hunger of all stripes, Mikato Steak and Sushi welcomes families with a children's menu and kids' birthday special, which includes ice cream, a Japanese rendition of happy birthday, and a senryu about the transitory nature of life.
Chefs at Sato's Zen Sushi & Sake strive to create entertaining cuisine. Their 26 varieties of specialty maki rolls—filled with ingredients such as fried soft crab, barbecue eel, and spicy salmon—bear whimsical names, such as Pink Floyd or the Flying Sea Monster. Covered in blazing Devil's Blood Sauce, the 6 Feet Under roll adds an element of competition to meals; patrons who successfully consume the extra-hot concoction get their roll for free.
Sato's chefs also surprise palates with fusion-style dishes such as the Jalapeño O-toro, which pairs sliced, fresh tuna belly with jalapeño and cilantro. The two-person zen fondue melds tempura-fried seafood and gooey melted cheese, hearkening back to the days when Japan and Sweden were connected by a naturally occurring cruise-line buffet. Myriad styles of sake, including peach and plum, accent the food.
Lula's Frozen Yogurt and Treats puts customers in charge of creating their own combinations of creamy fro-yo and toppings such as candy, cookies, cake, and fruit. Frozen yogurts in a variety of flavors such as euro tart, strawberry, and cake batter form the bulk of each snack, giving customers tasty bases that are more healthful than ice cream and more flavorful than fresh cement. Next, they mix in their choices of toppings from the shop's offerings, which include gummy worms, Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, Golden Grahams, cherries, and Pillsbury brownies. Lula locations also offer daily suggestions for frozen concoctions, such as Chocolate Lovers’ Dream, with a frosty base of cable-car chocolate yogurt decked out in marshmallows, brownies, and hot fudge.
A finalist for Best Sushi according to a 2012 City Voter poll, Osaka Sushi & Japanese Cuisine fills their menu with one-of-a-kind combinations. Their chefs roll out more than 50 types of maki, from basic unagi rolls to elaborate specialty rolls, such as the eponymous Osaka roll filled with spicy crab, fried shrimp, and avocado then topped with steamed shrimp and mozzarella, all served on a flaming dish. Nigiri and sashimi present fresh flavors without a protective wall of rice. The aloha roll trades savory flavors for sweets with a core of deep-fried ice cream hidden beneath strawberries and mangoes.
A sake pub, Maido is a slang word commonly used in Osaka, Japan. The literal translation is “every time”, but it has evolved to be used as a common greeting between businessmen and now means something more like “I look forward to doing business with you again,” or “thank you for giving me all of your money.” However one deciphers the sentiment, the food at Maido Sake Bar speaks for itself. The expansive menu revolves around a large selection of maki and small plates intended for sharing. Bento boxes and udon noodle dishes round out the menu options and sate those in search of a warm dinner.
Head chefs Shawn and Henry Shin—who has been a chef since he was 19—curate Wasabiya Japanese Cuisine’s menu of traditional and contemporary Japanese food including more than 65 sushi rolls. Whether classically prepared, partially fried, or oven baked, each roll follows an inventive recipe. The New Orleans packs spicy crawfish and cucumber, and the Kentucky Derby unites spicy crab, shrimp, scallop, and cream sauce while 165,000 people watch you eat it. Wasabiya’s staff rounds out the menu with cooked entrees such steak sukiyaki and shrimp and vegetables battered in a light layer of tempura crunch.