With its whistle blowing and its lights blazing, a miniature locomotive rounds the bend at Sushi Train's sushi bar. Instead of boxcars freighted with hobo gold, however, the engine tows dozens of sushi plates, which diners can pick up as the train passes. Sushi Train's creative, playful approach to sushi extends to the recipes themselves: the Bomber, for instance, includes jalapeño, Velveeta cheese, and smoked salmon, and the Bayou roll blends catfish and blackened shrimp with spicy sauce. Chefs also roll out dozens of traditional nigiri and roll recipes, such as california rolls and vegetable fuko maki.
The Sushi Place’s chefs integrate shrimp and scallops with cream cheese and spicy mayo, yielding rolls with complex profiles of texture and flavor. Edamame and seaweed salad segue into thin-sliced salmon, tuna, and yellow-tail sashimi. Tempura batter crackles around veggies and shrimp, punctuated by the sound of whirring chopstick sharpeners, and notes of plum and grass drift from glasses of sake.
In the Raw combines traditional and nouveau dishes and a cool, contemporary ambiance to comprehensively cater to romantic rendezvous. The menu features an array of fresh sushi options, from traditional cylinders such as the california roll ($5.25) to innovative options such as the fiery volcano roll, which incites eruptions of taste-bud applause with a combination of deep-fried shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, and jalapeño, all topped with scallops cooked in a spicy sauce ($14.95). Less-bundled bite-ables include the pork and sesame noodle bowl ($10.95) and an 8-ounce pepper filet paired with wasabi mashed potatoes and asparagus ($27.95). Tempura-fried bananas ($6.50), chocolate or vanilla crème brûlée ($6.50), and other desserts help meals end happily, rather than with petty squabbles over whose napkin is the largest.
Full Moon Sushi and Bistro forges an extensive collection of more than 60 specialty sushi rolls accompanied by entrees that highlight Japanese spins on steak, pork, and seafood. While sushi chefs wrap crab, escolar, or yellowtail in cocoons of rice and await the emergence of butterfly shrimp, diners can sip frosty brews and watch sports on flat-screen TVs. Rustic wooden floors cradle a sturdy stable of high-backed chairs, and sky-blue walls host vibrant artwork and vacationing clouds.
The Tokyo Love Boat glides through the air at Tokyo Japanese Restaurant, dropping anchor at one of the tables. Atop its wooden planks, rows of sushi and sashimi are prepared for a culinary expedition. This is one of many creative concoctions on the menu, along with Tokyo specialty rolls fashioned from ingredients such shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, salmon, and lemon slices. Chefs glaze teriyaki sauce on shrimp, steak, or your date’s face, upon request. Other bite-size bits can be hidden in tempura batter or cooked on a hibachi grill.
Long before Keo opened its doors in 2007, owners Bill & Zahidah Hyman recognized a growing trend toward healthy dining. This, combined with America's affinity for Asian flavors, spawned Keo Asian Cuisine. Fusing traditional wok cooking from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia, skilled chefs flame-kiss tuna, yellowfin, and quail for burgers and noodle dishes before adding inventive garnishes of lemongrass and sweet oyster vinegar. Under hanging lights with Saturn-style rings, patrons can toss back a specialty cocktail on the rocks, but for the sake of the floor-to-ceiling windows, are discouraged from tossing actual rocks.