Beneath the colorful toques on their heads, hibachi chefs flip and sauté meat and vegetables on their tabletop grills, smiling as they conjure the occasional bursts of flame during lively cooking routines. That’s just one scene at SooWoo Japanese Steakhouse—across the restaurant, sushi chefs slice ribbons of fish and vegetables and roll them into California and spicy tuna rolls. Basketball fans can celebrate the city’s 2012 NBA championship with the specialty Miami Heat roll, which includes slices of shrimp tempura, crab, and cream cheese. SooWoo also whips up Korean dishes, such as bulgogi and pork belly.
The chefs at Asia Bay Thai Cuisine & Sushi Bar wrap crab, avocado, and masago inside paper-thin slivers of cucumber to create Naruto maki, just one of many offerings from the eatery's sushi bar. Along with Japanese sushi and sashimi, the menu spans other parts of Asia with red curry lobster, pad thai noodles, and mango and kani salad, which is sure to inspire the level of health necessary to run a marathon in scuba flippers.
Determined to bring authentic Japanese food to South Florida, Chef Koji Ando of Osaka Japan opened Asaka Japanese Restaurant in Aventura in 1994. For 20 years, he’s delighted diners with both his delicious offerings and beautifully-arranged dishes. There are the expected soups, salads, sushi, tempura and sashimi that litter the menu, but a trip to Asaka Japanese Restaurant also means Nabemono Hot Pots, perfect for a party of two or more, where the food, be it beef, crab or fish, is cooked on the table. Sushi rolls range from pedestrian to outlandish, with an O.J. Roll that involves cooked salmon, avocado and spicy spinach; a Chicken Katsu Roll that marries breaded chicken with lettuce and mayo; and the Ogi Roll, which carries tuna, salmon, scallions, avocado and spicy mayo.
The chefs at Go!Bento fill traditional Japanese-style bento boxes with entrees and sides from Chinese, Thai, and other Asian cuisines. Bento boxes in sizes from the petite Go! Ninja to the hearty Go! Sumo mingle pad thai, honey-garlic chicken, lo mein noodles, and steamed pot stickers. Go!Bento also riffs on hot dogs with katsu-fried franks, avocado, and spicy mayonnaise. The kitchen team coils specialty sushi rolls such as the BFF, whose circumference of tuna, salmon, and whitefish is measured in friendship bracelets. Branching out from their core competency of savory seafood, the staff also drizzles donuts with condensed milk and green-tea ice cream to round out the menu.
At the family-owned Sushi Room, skilled chefs from Manhattan, Miami, and Japan use fresh seafood and inventive recipes to spice up traditional Japanese dishes. The menu focuses heavily on sushi, with options ranging from standard soft shell crab and tuna rolls to the specialty mixed volcano roll, which mixes a traditional California roll with baked salmon, crab, conch, and octopus. If sushi and sashimi aren't your thing, you can choose from an extensive selection of cold and hot Japanese plates that include vegan-friendly tofu dishes. The flavorful escargot plate is simmered in sake and cabernet in a traditional toban-style ceramic skillet. Lounge in the candlelit dining room and savor sips of sake—the restaurant serves more than 20 varieties of the traditional rice wine.
Ninja's Asian Tavern delights savor sectors with a refreshing menu of Korean and Japanese fusion cuisine that includes an epic sushi bar bedecked with a bevy of vibrant nigiri, maki, and sashimi options. Lance a fresh appetizer of assorted sashimi ($10) with chopsticks before treating tummies to a chromatically dazzling Kanisu cucumber-skin roll stuffed with a choice of salmon, tuna, crabstick, eel, or the memoirs of a grizzled fisherman ($9.50). Combo plates advocating sashimi and sushi matrimony include the Chirashi which adorns a bowl of sushi rice with assorted fish-stuffed flavor tubes ($20), and the Three Musketeers, which gathers a merry band of tuna, california, and salmon rolls for a swashbuckling assault on unsuspecting taste buds ($12). Ninja's dimly lit interior boasts private party rooms, karaoke, and sleek modern décor adorned with jagged Japanese characters, glowing orbs hanging from the ceiling, and televisions tuned to the latest in sumo swing-dancing competitions.