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.
A few years ago, Clement Liu came to a realization: the quality and authenticity of local Chinese food wasn’t meeting his expectations. So, along with his partner, Yu-Hong Li—who was part of the first generation to open postwar dine-in restaurants in China—Clement took matters into his own hands and opened Li Asian Cuisine.
Both Clement and Yu-Hong boast decades of experience in the Asian-restaurant industry. At Li Asian Cuisine, they augmented their own skills by hiring chefs from numerous Asian backgrounds. That diversity in cooking styles is reflected on the menu, which features regional Chinese cuisine as well as other popular Japanese, Thai, and Mongolian dishes, including sushi and pad thai. Equally pleasing to the eye and palate, those creations are served in a modern but not over-decorated dining room, complete with a full bar and a hibachi-style cooking station.
The staple of Sushi Rock’s menu is its selection of roughly 50 sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls, which collect multiple Japanese flavors into one neat package. The Sushi Rock roll alone packs a punch of shrimp tempura, crabstick, salmon, tuna, asparagus, and masago. A slate of USDA Prime steaks and fresh seafood entrees such as sesame-seared tuna complement the sushi-bar creations. Each meticulously plated dish arrives in Sushi Rock's ultra-modern dining space, where backlit bottles glisten against a cityscape mural in the bar area, and color blocks of red and black pop in the dimly lit dining areas. Together, Sushi Rock’s choice food and hip vibe earned it a No. 1 ranking on CityVoter's Best Sushi list in 2010.
Saga Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar's chefs appease appetites with freshly rolled maki as well as classical Japanese entrees that come to life on tableside hibachi grills. After scouring the oceans in a conjoined diving suit, chefs utilize their fresh seafood to transform sticky rice into such visions as the rainbow roll, filled with spicy crabmeat and crowned with a spectrum of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and tobiko. Sushi disappears from plates inside the dimly lit dining room, where exposed-stone sections of wall flank bamboo plants brightened with little spotlights.
Patrons seeking dinner and a show can order something off of the hibachi menu, then gather around black-granite-topped counters inside a room with rich wooden accents. Before each hungry audience, chefs sear salmon, chicken and scallops, or lobster and filet mignon before accessorizing meals with two pieces of shrimp, soup, salad, vegetables, rice, and noodles.
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.
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.
Paws Restaurant, a sister eatery to The Leopard dishes out casual elegance in a romantic dining room. Hashes and hot cakes greet each morning in the softly lit dining room, and at lunchtime, breads and buns envelop pulled pork, portobello mushrooms, and fish fillets paired with crisp vegetables and piquant cheese. During dinner, pans sear filet mignon, porterhouse steaks, and other luscious cuts of meat reveling beneath house-made steak sauces and demi-glaces, and grilled fishes of the day don fruit salsas or sweet soy sauce flavored with shiitake mushrooms. A team of sushi chefs slice sashimi, cinch hand rolls stuffed with fish, such as eel and tuna, and arrange bento boxes into scale models of the Large Hadron collider.