Behind the small bar at Anjo Sushi Japanese Restaurant, sushi chefs precisely slice and dice raw fish into beautiful creations that hit tables in a variety of iterations. First, there are the colorful specialty rolls: the Candy Cane roll, plated with each piece individually garnished and surrounded by drizzles of colorful sauce, or the Marilyn Monroe, lined with crispy tempura shrimp, wrapped with slices of fresh mango, and always served with a wink. More simplified presentations include classic nigiri?tender albacore or octopus draped over little mounds of sticky sushi rice?or simpler yet, the sashimi plate, where slices of fish are accompanied by a bowl of rice and steaming miso soup. And customers who'd prefer to enjoy their Ska Reggae rolls at home while dancing to their favorite tunes can place their orders to go.
With a name that means "spring flowers," it's no surprise that Hana Haru serves the freshest fare. Hot entrees include sizzling platters of yakiniku?thinly sliced beef with mushrooms and vegetables?and fried pork katsu in a tangy sauce. Even Hana Haru's cold sushi rolls can turn up the heat faster than a cat running from a vacuum cleaner. Order the Y-Not with spicy albacore, shrimp tempura, and garlic ponzu sauce for maximum heat, or dial things back a bit with the Ninja, a roll of fresh salmon, avocado, cream cheese, and avocado. For the mildest experience, Hana Haru serves sushi rolls such as the Moon River, a california roll with albacore and ginger dressing, and the Crunch, which features crab and shrimp tempura wrapped up in soy paper.
Fresh, flavorful sushi is only half of the story at Japon Bistro. The other? Carefully paired pours from an artisan assortment of sake, stocked by owner and sake expert Clarence Wong, also known as Koji. His seasonal selections complement unique rolls, such as the spicy, jalapeno and-salmon-filled Southwest, or the New Age, featuring tuna, salmon, and albacore topped with a secret-recipe sauce. A selection of noodles and teriyaki entrees satisfy diners who prefer their raw food cooked. The drinks and dishes unite to create a dining experience that has won a recommendation from the Michelin Guide, and been named amongst the area's best by Citysearch.com and Pasadena Magazine.
White is the traditional color of an artist's canvas. At Zushi Restaurant, however, the canvases come in shades of aquamarine, cobalt, watermelon, and lemon yellow. It's onto this colorful collection of dinnerware that chefs plate sushi in startling shades and variations, with garnishes such as orchids, orange slices, and wasabi "leaves" completing each still life. The rolls themselves range from simple to elaborate. The standard list includes sushi with a single element, such as quail egg, scallops, or sweet shrimp. By nature a minimalist art form, Zushi's sashimi nevertheless demonstrates inventiveness with the lemon tako—alternating layers of octopus and lemon, accompanied by a blossom-shaped dish of sesame oil for dipping.
It's with the more complex rolls that Zushi's chefs really flex their creative muscles. The addition of heat to the preparation of baked and tempura maki adds contrasting textures and temperatures to the table. The deep-fried california roll sports a cloak of crispy batter. The warm outer layers of the baked barbecue beef roll mask the cool fresh tuna at its core. Heat is also prominent, twice, in the spicy barbecue pork, or once in the shrimp teppan yaki. House saki—served hot or cold—can extinguish or augment the fire in one's mouth, accordingly.
From the deep-fried popcorn lobster to the banana tempura dessert, A'Float Sushi's menu is a ripe with Japanese dishes prepared with creative flair. But sushi rolls are where the chefs really excel, from classic California or spicy tuna rolls, to green mussel rolls and rolls made with honey walnut shrimp tempura. Entrees, meanwhile, are a bit more traditional, featuring choices such as deep-fried pork tonkatsu served with salad, rice, and soup.
Zono Sushi's fish-savvy chefs please palates with their diverse menu of sushi, bento boxes, and Japanese entrees. Layering finely sliced fish across tender rice and papery sheets of seaweed, chefs array their 33 signature sushi rolls on sleek modern stoneware. Lunchtime bento boxes boast teriyakied meats or sushi and sides of rice, salad, and miso soup, brought safely to tables under the protection of flavorful packing peanuts.