The chefs at Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse are artists, and their media are beef, blades, and fire. Behind tabletop grills, the red-hatted specialists slice and sizzle meats at lightning pace, then fill the freshly-dropped jaws of their clientele with the resulting savory cuts of sirloin and filet mignon. The hibachis cook up lobster tails, chicken, and and shrimp as well. Not everything is flaming hot, however. Arirang also boasts an impressive sushi menu, with unique offerings such as the coconut shrimp roll with raspberry puree, and their bar pours out everything from imported Japanese beer to specialty cocktails.
Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar's hibachi chefs pull double duty, acting as entertainers in addition to grillmasters. They captivate large groups of diners with whirling knifework, dynamic spatula twirls, and the occasional spout of flame at tableside hibachi grills, flipping hot portions of lobster and chicken directly onto waiting plates. Behind the bamboo-finished bar, the sushi chefs move more slowly as they carefully seal colorful combinations of veggies, seafood, and vinegar-anointed rice within sheets of delicate seaweed. Like a poltergeist beauty pageant, not all of the talent is visible to the eye—the culinary team makes some of the restaurant's most exotic dishes, such as kobe beef sliders and wasabi-crusted filet mignon, behind the closed doors of the kitchen.
Though Fushimi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge's menu and daily specials board boast French-inspired fusion food, its sushi is deeply rooted in tradition–and this combination has earned its dishes Zagat ratings and a Michelin recommendation. Chefs may reinterpret the presentation of Japanese staples—such as the tuna sashimi, which they set on broad leaves next to bean-sprout-entangled roe—but they still stay true to traditional flavors. By contrast, cooked fusion entrees tend to incorporate the unconventional, such as the tuna burger with spicy aioli, available on the weekend brunch menu, and the mushroom risotto made with black rice (a dish praised by New York Magazine in their critics' pick review.)
At all locations, the decor also melds old and new. At the bar at the Staten Island location, crimson light filters through a canopy of metallic foliage, casting a moody aura across Buddhist statuettes imported from Asia. The neon-lit Williamsburg location has a sleeker feel, its booths nestled in large circular openings that bring to mind subway tunnels or the oversized portholes of Paul Bunyan's mythical submarine. In Bay Ridge, the stateliness of traditional chandeliers contrasts with the bold colors of wall-sized photographs.
At South Fin Grill, the ocean breeze mingles with a menu of upscale seafood and steakhouse dishes praised by New York magazine. Amid what critic Ethan Wolff describes as a "priceless" ocean view, servers roll out lobster, crab, swordfish, and salmon incarnated as pasta, soup, and sushi dishes. The "turf" portion of the menu showcases grilled new york sirloin, filet mignon, and barbecued pork, but the focus once again turns seaside at a raw bar that features clams and oysters kept fresh by pearl-shaped breath mints.
Beams of blue and yellow lighting hover above the interior dining tables, each blanketed with a white tablecloth and centered with a flickering candle. Outside, the ocean deck's sea-blue umbrellas shelter views of the boardwalk, ocean, and seagull beach volleyball tourneys. The restaurant bolsters its elegantly plated cuisine with occasional entertainment acts, which have included DJs.
Owners Sophie Tan and Calvin Yum know how to make sushi fun. Which is why their restaurant, Cucumber Sushi and Salad Bar—called "a shiny new restaurant that epitomizes millennial dining" by the Staten Island Advance—entertains diners in a trendy eatery that features minimalistic decor and a menu of classic and creative Asian dishes. Traditional options such as yellowtail rolls and thai coconut curry support the menu's creative cast of Japanese salads and specialty rolls made from spicy kani and Mexican seasonings. Cucumber Sushi and Salad Bar also offers prix-fixe and spring special menus.
Ten East's chefs, with more than 25 years of experience each, serve up a menu of Asian-fusion dishes in a waterfront setting with exposed-brick walls, neon lights, and New York City views. Diners kick off meals by dipping lobster-and-avocado spring rolls in green-chili sauce or listening to minor hockey-related heckling from the drunken clams served with baguettes. While enjoying starters, visitors sip on specialty cocktails such as the sake martini, where persian cucumbers float in a pool of sake and Belvedere vodka. Entrees then swoop in to fill stomachs with selections such as the five-spice crusted ahi tuna with a ginger-soy reduction and wasabi mashed potatoes or the rubbed thai-barbecue rack of lamb encrusted in goat cheese and herbs. Despite past disagreements over the photosynthesizing capabilities of shells versus leaves, Ten East's scallops, lobster, and spinach work together to make a cohesive risotto, which visitors feast upon under firework-like chandeliers.