The steady hands of experienced chefs drizzle rich sauces across glistening cuts of fish at Koko Japanese Grill and Sushi Bar, where sushi displays meet succulent cuts of seafood, steak, and poultry. Each dish’s precise presentation, from fillets flanked by vibrant carrots and greens to salmon- and eel-stuffed maki wrapped around slivers of avocado and cucumber, underscores the eatery’s use of fresh, colorful ingredients and its kitchen cabinets filled with T-squares. Framed by leafy plants, a saffron-hued color scheme, and glowing amber ceiling fixtures, guests can sit near the open kitchen or gather at the sushi bar to watch the delicate construction of their chilled rice rolls.
A huge statue of Buddha watches over the dining room at Surin of Thailand, although his peaceful gaze is subverted by complex curries, spicy stir-fried noodle dishes, and flavorful barbecue-chicken entrees a day in the making. Half chickens are marinated in Thai barbecue sauce overnight before being slowly roasted and grilled, then they’re plated with scoops of shrimp fried rice and reminders to chew each bite thoroughly, not matter who’s threatening to steal the flavorful dark meat.
Surin measures its dishes' spiciness on a three-pepper scale, where one is "spicy" and three is "Thai hot." Though most dishes fall between nonspicy and hot, a few earn their trio of peppers, including a medley of mussels, scallops, and shrimp with spicy basil sauce.
Another Buddha—actually, just a head—guards the sushi bar, where nigiri, sashimi, and creative maki rolls are born. Under the two Buddhas' protection, diners settle into leather seats or tuck into booths backed by ferns and foliage. Outside the stone-walled eatery, a patio seasons dishes with sunlight and refreshing breezes.
Anaba Japanese Cuisine's skilled chefs roll up more than 90 types of sushi, which beckon hungry stomachs from an eclectic menu of diverse Japanese dishes. Rice rolls stuffed with crunchy shrimp ($6 full; $4 half) represent traditional touches, and exhibitionist samplers such as mackerel sashimi ($3) shed rice robes to flaunt protein-packed forms. More conservative specialty rolls, such as the rainbow roll ($12), encase a variety of underwater treasures, including whitefish, yellowtail, shrimp, and salmon, and can only be won over by the touch of chopsticks or a love note written in soy sauce. Across the kitchen, hibachi grills goad kimchi pork, green pepper, and scallions ($13) into proving their taste-bud-worthiness by walking barefoot over open flames. In between savoring sushi rolls and altering the consistency of soy sauce with wasabi, guests can quench thirsts with an array of spirited sakes. Anaba’s cheery ambiance employs a juxtaposition of sumptuous dark wood and leather booths against neon signs and flat-screen TVs, creating a delightful fusion of elegance and fun, just like the karaoke bar in the basement of the White House.
At Kinkaku Japanese Steak House, the chefs show off their culinary chops by preparing sushi and hibachi in front of visitors’ eyes. At the sushi bar, they slice morsels of sashimi or roll aesthetically pleasing creations of rice and pieces of seafood that include spicy tuna, eel, and shrimp tempura. The maki rolls are held together by sheets of nori, deep-green seaweed paper tinged with salinity.
At teppanyaki tables, several diners sit around a wide flat grill and watch food transform before their eyes. In a clattering flurry of knives and spatulas, chefs prepare piles of chicken teriyaki, scallops, and steak before serving them with veggies, fried rice, and shrimp. Revelry swells as servers carry out trays of sake and imported Japanese beers and hide pamphlets about how many teddy bears get thrown into the ocean each year.
A knife cuts a freshly baked bread roll into two buns, shaves slivers off of hunks of meat and cheese, and slices veggies into stackable portions. This is what happens every time a patron orders a sandwich at Jay's Subs, guaranteeing fresh, made-to-order food. The shop's sandwiches reflect owner Jason “Jay” Casteel's sub-making philosophy of using quality ingredients and careful preparation in lieu of the assembly line method of making food.
Since officially opening Jay's Subs in early 2012, Casteel has been using his decade's worth of sub-making experience to create hot and cold sandwiches, as well as wraps and salads. Patrons may enjoy bread-embraced eats, including the popular philly cheesesteak and Italian cold-cut trio, while watching TV in the dine-in area or doing cartwheels in the parking lot.
Nori Modern Noodle & Sushi's culinary innovators have scoured the eateries of Japan, Vietnam, and France to compile a menu of fresh fusion fare. In a lounge atmosphere, the restaurant pours out sake cocktails to accompany seared noodle entrees with made-from-scratch pasta and sushi or rice-paper rolls, including offerings that adhere to vegetarian diets. An outdoor patio welcomes diners on warmer days, and late-night sushi specials tantalize taste buds until 2 a.m., an hour that's well past the bedtime of most pumpkin carriages.
The blog the Sunsphere is Not a Wigshop reviewed Shono's in the City. Seventy-two percent of more than eighty Urbanspooners recommend the restaurant. Though patrons are polarized about the sushi, five Yelpers give Shono's in the City an average rating of three stars.