Most chefs get stage fright when customers are watching, but the fearless artisans at Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar concoct intricate Japanese dishes in plain view—either at tableside grills or just behind the sushi bar proper. Their collection of specialty maki exudes creativity and playfulness, from the deep-fried Godzilla roll with tuna, salmon, white fish, and crab meat to the Rainbow roll with fresh fish, avocado, and two wishes. Complete hibachi dinners satisfy hearty appetites and short attention spans with a choice of protein alongside soup, salad, vegetable, rice, and noodles—all prepared amusingly right at the table. Each location sports sleek and modern décor with accents such as bamboo walls or a back-lit bar glowing in chic blue or red tones.
The chefs at Taipei bridge the gap between two of Asia’s superpowers, plating Chinese favorites from Taipei duck to general tso’s chicken alongside delicately rolled Japanese sushi specialties. Although their menu is built upon a pair of thousand-year-old culinary traditions, they also understand the value of a speedy bite; each day, they arrange a selection of favorites such as the moo goo gai pan into fast, tasty lunches paired rice, egg rolls, soup, and your own personal fast-forward button.
Red Tea House peppers palates with an amalgam of Asian flavors with a menu of Chinese specialties and freshly bundled sushi options. While skilled maki chefs manipulate scallops, salmon, and yellowtail into intricate rolls, diners wrap their own morsels of classic peking duck and mu-shu pork in delicate, steaming crepes. Seven days a week, patrons can stop in for a dumpling appetizer, or savor Asian fare at home with complimentary delivery in order to effectively discipline a misbehaving wok.
As they walk through Fusion Steakhouse’s two crimson doors, diners immediately enter a family-friendly scene: a black-granite bar gleams with the violet glow of the uplighting bordering the ceiling, and low leather seats line a wall intermittently set with stone tiles. In this dimly-lit dining room, tight rolls of sushi and sizzling hibachi dishes dominate a menu of Japanese standards, but dinners respect no borders. Diners can also choose from entrees inspired by the cuisine of other Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as cocktails inspired from around the world.
Yama’s owner, Mr. Yeung, opened the restaurant in October 2009 intending to fill a void in the local cuisine scene by offering fresh and authentic Japanese recipes. A glance at the sushi menu confirms the presence of stalwart favorites such as salmon sashimi ($4.50 for two pieces) and California rolls (crabmeat, cucumber, and avocado, $4.50), as well as a wide selection of specialty rolls, including the Greenwich roll (white tuna, avocado, yellowtail and jalapeño, $12) and the snow roll (shrimp tempura and cucumber capped by blue crab and served with lemon sauce, $14). The staff at Yama can help first-time sushi-goers by counseling them on dish choices, the proper way to hold chopsticks, and the pros and cons of providing room and board to circus performers. Along with fresh ingredients and expert preparation, the sushi is enhanced by elaborate, artistic platings.
The authentic menu features dishes that heap on the spice without overwhelming the subtle interplay of textures and flavors for which the culinary culture of Thailand is known. Although there are many dishes designed to set palates ablaze, Bangkok Balcony also offers a multitude of milder bites. Ignite the meal with an appetizer of mussels and fresh basil in hot garlic sauce ($9) or a more-sweet-than-sassy steamed pork-and-shrimp dumpling ($8). Season your stomach with curried plates such as pineapple curry with your choice of meat, green peas, and coconut milk ($14) or an oodle of see-you noodles with broccoli and egg ($13). Stick to the ground level of the food chain with one of many vegetarian delights, such as the tofu platter with deep-fried tofu stir-fried with carrots, broccoli, and onions in a roasted curry paste ($14).
The cooks at Misaki Sushi and Seafood Buffet pair a menu of Pan-Asian entrees and sushi with an expansive buffet that blends Asian cuisine with Western favorites. They frequently replenish the buffet with fresh sushi, wood-oven pizzas, and pastas, artfully arranging the dishes beneath spotlights. They prepare à la carte options with equal care, whether curling tuna slices into maki rolls or frying flat rice noodles for pad thai or delicious shoelaces.