No less visually dazzling for its lack of movement, sushi rolls from the nearby bar spiral outwards in riots of color, from the deep red of tuna to the bright white of fresh rice. Nagoya snagged the title of Best Sushi from Mississippi magazine in 2013 and 2010, as well as Jackson Free Press's 2014 award for Best Sushi. Gathered around a table-sized grill, guests ooh and ahh as shrimp and steak somersault through the air, eggs crack open mid-fall, and veggies sizzle in a ring of shooting flames. The agent behind these daredevil feats? Nagoya Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar's expert hibachi grill masters, who deftly prepare meals before wondering eyes with dramatic flair and a craftily wielded spatula.
Pho Vietnam Restaurant offers a menu full of authentic Vietnamese cuisine that blends traditional flavors such as earthy basil, sour tamarind, and moderately spicy jalapeño. Open up the appetite with a sautéed quail and garlic-butter combination known as chim cut ($6) and encounter various flavors of pho, Vietnam’s oft-lauded and generously garnished beef and rice-noodle soup ($6.95 regular, $7.95 large, $8.95 extra large). Those who eschew broth can toss back some noodly chow mein or low mein ($12.95–$13.95) and a helping of the battered crispy squid that makes up muc chien don ($14.95). Coat spice-specked throats with a fruity bubble tea ($4), or finish off the night with drinks at a bar guarded by a Buddha statue and a sticky-rice-flinging monkey.
Sean Thongsiri learned to cook alongside his mother and grandmother in Vientiane, Laos, but it was a lot of trial and error. Getting the best food for his dishes was easy, though. He frequented the town's market, where he culled relationships with local farmers and fisherman to ensure the best possible product. This is a practice he still clings to as head chef of Ele Fine Fusion restaurant, where his modern fusion style is alive in the food, as well as the decor. There, in the glow of handsome blond sconces and colorful landscape prints, guests sit on banquettes and enjoy sushi rolls, crispy duck, and steaming curry dishes, many fashioned with fresh organic vegetables.
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Brother-sister duo Kam and Ling Ngai have successfully combined classic and contemporary Asian flavors at their restaurant Ichiban Hibachi & Sushi, all while showcasing a creative flair. That means there's much more to the menu than tempura and teriyaki. Plates arrive at the tables looking like edible works of art, displaying generous portions of colorful sushi rolls, steamed dumplings, and fresh crab salads, and more. Specialty cocktails such as the Ichiban Zombie (light and spiced rums, Grand Marnier, plus orange and pineapple juices with grenadine) add extra flavor to meals.
The sounds of metal against metal reverberate through the interior of Hokkaido Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar, as showy hibachi chefs delight their audiences with knives, spatulas, and safely airborne morsels of food. The chef stands in the center of an audience and orchestrates a fiery feast upon the hibachi grill. Steak, salmon, and scallops all transform under the chefs’ flashy techniques; each has a different repertoire of tricks, but they almost always perform the “volcano” maneuver that displays controlled spouts of flame. The atmosphere is a bit quieter behind the sushi bar, as a chef with 18 years of experience carefully rolls and slices fish that’s brought in daily and shushes anyone with enough gall to cut their food with a jackhammer. Earth-toned stone walls surround Hokkaido’s interior, which generates an upscale vibe with sleek dark chairs and booths. Large front windows admit streams of sunlight during the day, and hanging lamps exude a golden light over booths at night. To accompany flame-kissed or rice-wrapped food, bartenders pour specialty drinks at the bar, such as the Funky Monkey with banana liquor and piña colada mix, or teetotal with bubbly Japanese Sprite.
Honing in on the diverse flavors and epicurean culture of Asia, Pan Asia’s menu spans the culinary gamut, offering Thai, Japanese, and Southeast Asian specialties. Chefs artfully sear tuna steak, fashion maki rolls with fresh fish, and braise tender lamb in a green curry sauce. Dessert also bears the hallmarks of Asian influence, as diners dig into thai lime tarts, banana spring rolls, and coconut-flavored crème brûlée. These colorfully plated dishes pop against the surface of Pan Asia’s dark wood tables, which sit below high ceilings and adjacent to the full-service Gong Bar. Outside, patio seating supplies diners with fresh air and views of the sun’s ticklish underbelly.