The penchant for modernity at o-toro recently caught the eye and taste buds of County Lines magazine’s staff, which named it one of Philly’s Best New Ventures of 2013. The restaurant’s track lighting illuminates a contemporary scene marked by wooden fixtures, vibrant splotches of red and orange, and plates of Japanese cuisine with Mexican, Korean, and American influences. Sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls—such as the signature o-toro roll with fatty tuna tartar, spicy mayo, and jalapeño—are served alongside tapas-style plates of filet mignon dumplings, duck tacos, and skewers of Korean-style fried chicken. At the polished wooden bar, bartenders pour wine, sake, and craft beer.
The surfaces of hibachi grills sizzle as nimble chefs slice and sear morsels of chicken, steak, and scallops for guests seated around granite-topped tables. At Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, patrons enjoy a chic, modern space where they can savor traditional Japanese dishes. Bright red booths cushion patrons in the stylish bar where signature entrees, such as chilean sea bass and filet mignon, arrive drizzled with miso, crusted with wasabi, or dusted for fingerprints. Chopsticks ensnare à la carte sushi and house specialty rolls, such as the coconut shrimp layered with mango, avocado, and raspberry puree.
Contemporary design meets tradition at Fuji Mountain Japanese Restaurant, where four floors of dining space transition between laid-back lounge areas and softly lit tables set against beautifully scripted Japanese scrolls. Under the soft glow of the main dining room’s lanterns, elegantly plated katsu cutlets bear grill marks that are conspicuously absent from neighboring sashimi and delicately rolled sushi. Traveling upwards through the eatery, the aroma of bubbling udon bowls collides with pulsing sound waves, as guests belt out top 40 hits or their home state’s anthem in a private karaoke room that seats up to 30.
Named Philadelphia's Best Sushi 2010 by CityVoters, Misora Express simultaneously quells desires for delicate flavors and elegant eye candy. Chaperone taste buds on a tour across the expansive menu of Japanese cuisine while exploring the elusive umami receptors. Break in your appetite with an starter of shumai, steamed shrimp dumplings ($3.95), or dive straight into a deep bento box of broiled salmon teriyaki, served with a flavorful miso soup, salad, and rice ($7.95). Novitiate sushi enthusiasts can prep their palates with a beginner sushi entree, featuring one smoked-salmon roll, one california roll, two pieces of shrimp sushi, and two pieces of tamago ($10.95), while those with a black belt in chopstick command can roundhouse kick through Misora Express' specialty-roll selection ($4.50–$10.50), face the scar-faced evil master, and make it safely home.
Blue lighting spills out from beneath the sleek black counter where Machi Sushi Bar's chefs deftly wrap maki rolls. They fill each lobster roll with an entire lobster tail as well as crabmeat, avocado, cucumber, and a sprinkling of roe. Other specialties burst with ingredients such as tempura shrimp and spicy scallop. In addition to sushi, the eatery prepares Japanese appetizers such as gyoza dumplings, available steamed, fried, or roasted over a bonfire of surplus chopsticks. After meals, diners can enjoy desserts such as mochi flavored with red bean or green tea.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Raw: Sushi & Sake Lounge owner and Philadelphia restaurateur Tony Rim picked up his work ethic from his father, who has owned a deli for more than 30 years, remaining doggedly dedicated to overseeing operations himself. Rim follows suit at each of his own eateries, and Raw is no exception. Inside a mood-lit dining area, dark-hued benches and sleek, circular tables host guests who chat near a 15-foot glass bar. Outside, an expansive patio enclosed by brick walls offers plentiful tables for planting glasses of exotic sake, digging into house-designed sushi rolls, or arm-wrestling fresh lobster.