Min Ghung’s sushi chefs—all New York City transplants with 10-plus years of experience—don’t incorporate just any fish into their rolls. Sourced from around the world, each fish is exhaustively evaluated before it’s cleaned and inducted into Min Ghung’s meticulous aging process. Once they’re ready, those maritime fixings become part of the eatery’s signature rolls, such as the Pink Lady, a lobster salad, avocado, and mango medley doused in creamy wasabi sauce.
Sushi aside, the culinary team draws on classic Asian flavors for main courses that include tofu teriyaki and succulent filet mignon stir-fried with onions, peppers, and basil. Diners can nosh while reclining on upholstered seats lined with Chinese silk, which face a neon-lit wall that's home to 52 cold sakes. Those bottles aren’t the only eye-catching décor amid Min Ghung’s red walls; the space doubles as a gallery whose rotating works highlight budding artists.
Patrons shouldn't be fooled by the sleek white and grey exterior of Sakura Garden—there's plenty of color inside. Through the doors, blossoming pink cherry trees mark a path to the dining room, where a sea-blue glass ceiling hints at the variety of oceanic fare served up at the all-you-can eat buffet. Here, wall-mounted fish provide pairing suggestions as diners dish up hot items such as steamed snow crab legs and teriyaki salmon, as well as cold options such as shrimp cocktails. Seafood also reigns supreme at the sushi bar, where chefs slice sashimi and create rolls fresh to order. After guests have filled their plates, they continue on to the softly-lit dining room, where red lights cast a glow on murals depicting misty, pastoral vistas.
A full bar offers Japanese beer and a selection of sake, and a private room is available for events and special occasions. The buffet is closed from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and happy hour runs from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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Ginza's menu fuses classic Japanese dishes with contemporary adaptations, earning its Bloomfield location second place for Best Japanese Restaurant in the 2011 Hartford Advocate Readers' Poll. A sushi dinner arrives tableside with an assortment of nine sushi pieces around either a tuna roll or a california roll ($20), and the french dragon lights up the night with smoked eel and avocado atop nori-wrapped shrimp tempura ($15). At the Ginza's Bloomfield location, chefs man hibachi stations to cook up grilled chicken ($17), steak and scallops ($22), and lobster tail ($29) fresh, and made-to-order. Other fusion-inspired eats include sake-marinated short ribs accompanied by Holland leeks, wild mushrooms, baby carrots, and red-wine demi glaze ($18), and the miso-broiled Atlantic salmon with baby bok choy and Peruvian corn bathing in miso as well as a sweet and spicy yet vulnerable sauce ($20).
Izumi Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar's cast of sushi and hibachi chefs infuse their culinary influences into a distinctly Japanese menu. They craft more than 30 different maki and hand rolls and deftly slice more than 20 types of à la carte sushi and sashimi. Teriyaki sauce slathers high-end meats and seafood, such as Chilean sea bass and tuna steak, and top-notch proteins also don crispy coatings of tempura or sizzle on hibachi grills. From behind a full bar accented with LCD televisions and high-def umlauts, bartenders pour a wide selection of sakes and craft exotic cocktails.
The ancient art of dining meets modern ingredients and design at Feng Asian Bistro, where delicate geometric forms adorn both the walls and rice-covered plates. Cozy up in a stone-spangled alcove and dip into Feng’s lunch and dinner offerings to find yellow-tail jalapeño starters ($12), eel-cucumber sushi rolls ($6), and entrees such as miso-glazed Chilean sea bass ($16 lunch, $27 dinner). Enterprising eaters can tackle their fare in the main dining room, the lounge, or the sushi bar.
Natural wood crowns the entrance to Ichiban Japanese & Korean Restaurant, and inside the eatery’s spacious dining room, soft lights and white tablecloths set an inviting scene. In the kitchen, cooks draw on years of experience to prepare Japanese and Korean specialties. They roll fresh sushi, grill short ribs and beef bulgogi, and simmer seafood tableside in hot pots. Patrons can wash back each bite with wine, sake, and imported Asian beers.