A flame-spewing hibachi grill and a glowing blue sushi bar send Japanese fusion cuisine onto the chopsticks of hungry patrons. Award-winning sushi chef Ethan wei Huang melds a variety of culinary influences into his artfully plated dishes, which are crafted with fresh filets flown in from Hawaii. For an original twist, Huang bundles his special rolls in rice paper, soy paper, and white seaweed, which becomes unfashionable in undersea gardens after Labor Day. French-style steaks and lamb chops put a continental spin on the menu, and a martini bar boasts more than 10 specialty cocktails. Wasabi Sushi & Bar also offers an outdoor patio-courtyard where diners breathe in fresh air between bites.
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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Hokkaido's veteran kitchen staff rolls, chops, and flips fresh fish and other flavorful ingredients onto diners’ plates while interacting with onlookers sitting at the restaurant's hibachi. On the salmon sushi platter ($11), the rich colors and aromas of salad and miso soup distract nearby grizzlies from five pieces of sushi and a full roll stuffed with the platter’s namesake fish. Chefs also wrap snow crab ($4.50) and crayfish ($4.95) into rice blankets by hand, and tuck eel and cucumber into an avocado-topped dragon roll ($9.95). Hibachi chefs interact with both lunch and dinner crowds by flipping food morsels through the air onto diners' plates, or amuse onlookers by building flame-spouting volcanos and realistic facsimiles of the J. Edgar Hoover building from sizzling fare. After the performance, patrons partake of the resulting chicken ($8.95 lunch; $14.95 dinner), vegetable ($6.95 lunch; $9.25 dinner), and steak ($10.95 lunch; $18.95 dinner) meals.
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.
The chefs at Red Samurai Hibachi Express specialize in genuine Japanese and hibachi-style cooking techniques that showcase a high level of culinary skill and speed. They sear onions, tender scallops, and savory cuts of steak fresh to order, and then serve the still-sizzling morsels directly to plates. Diners can also opt for yakisoba noodles flavored with soy sauce and ginger or sushi rolls laden with snow crab or crawfish. Meals are available for both dine in and take out.