Once guests walk through Hayashi-Ya’s Japanese--style front gate, they become part of the Hayashi family—and that means feeling at home. To ensure this, the founder decorates his restaurant to recall a small Japanese village festooned with pink flower vines, wooden handrails, and polished-wood wall panels. Exposed brick offsets paper lanterns, which are stenciled with black Japanese script and glow as if flooded by honey. To enhance these decorative flourishes and the staff’s warm greetings of “I-ra-sai-ma-se!” (“welcome”), the eatery whips up a diverse menu of fresh-cut sashimi, sushi, and traditional Japanese dishes. Servers lead guests down red carpets to low-slung cushioned seats, where authentic floor dining pairs with raw and cooked fish—all flown in daily and prepared by master sushi chefs from Japan, Korea, and Atlantis. As the meal progresses, black lacquered tables populate with udon noodles dishes, teriyaki, and hibachi fare as speakers pulse with traditional Japanese music. To complement the menu, Hayashi-Ya also stocks a full bar with beers and wines, Japanese sake, and martinis.
Anyone unsure of how Tap's Pourhouse and Eatery got its name need only glance at the bar area. More than 60 taps, ranging from such classics as Guinness and Sam Adams to craft brews including North Coast PranQster Belgian and Stone IPA, line the custom wood bar. Customers can perch there on a barstool or sidle up to a dining table to pair their brews with plates of jumbo wings or bacon cheddar burgers. Wherever their position, diners will have a plentiful view of the big game—more than 30 TVs line the restaurant's walls, displaying a full spread of the night's sporting events. Tap's also features a brunch and lunch menu, along with unusual kid's meals that include chopped chicken salads and 4-ounce hangar steaks.
Asuka's delightfully diverse menu rolls out sushi classics alongside juicy steaks, hearty pastas, and tender seafood brimming with Asian flavors. Dig into panko-breaded don katsu—chicken or pork cutlets deep-fried to juicy crispness ($15)—or put a pile of chopsticks on the table and play pick-up sticks to determine who gets the first slice of a dragon roll ($11.95) or a rainbow roll ($9.95). The garlic teriyaki tuna ($17.95) keeps senses floating on seaside flavor clouds, and the bulgogi don buoys a convoy of potato noodles, thin beef slices, mushrooms, and veggies in a sweet soy broth ($16).
Simple, understated decor and dim lighting make Kenko Korean Cuisine and Sushi a serene place to dine. After settling into a high-backed chair or wood-cut booth, diners can take a gander at the extensive menu, which features classic Japanese dishes such as udon noodles and chicken katsu alongside Korean specialties. Behind the sushi bar, chefs whip up rolled specialties packed with fresh fish and colorful veggies.
Most American chefs never even flirt with the ingredients Cho Won Garden’s chefs rely on heavily, from the garnish radish kimchi to their popular Bulgogi dish, which consists of sliced, boneless prime beef. They also serve meat, rice, and vegetable medleys in traditional stone pots—the very vessels in which the earliest cooks in human history learned how to boil down rocks into pebbles.