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.
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.
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 two locations have slight variations in their menu offerings, but both feature a wide assortment of Pan-Asian cuisine, including dim sum, sushi, noodle dishes, and drinks. For family-style fun, share small dim sum plates while conversing using only dialogue from Disney cartoons. Select steamed barbecue pork buns ($6) and hope that your fellow plate passers order the sweet sesame seed balls ($5). Enjoy Arbor Day any day by grabbing a rainforest roll with cucumber, avocado, and shiitake ($5), or the bonzai roll with asparagus, avocado, and mango salsa ($5). For a heartier bite, hang a fang on kung pao chicken ($16) or kung pao New York strip steak ($25), either of which comes topped with peanuts and chili peppers.