There's no shortage of options at VII Asian Bistro, where chefs draw on traditions from across Asia to build a menu of rice- and noodle-based dishes that range from pho to lo mein. Hearty portions of diced chicken breast, eggplant, and sliced flank steak are cooked in spicy sauces, charred to perfection by an in-house dragon, and sent straight from the wok to the table.
Cafe Icon cooks meat in the style of the world's oldest ovens: volcanoes. Inside specialized black rock containers, flat slabs of lava rock are lightly roasted until they reach 824 degrees Fahrenheit. These rocks are then brought to the table, where they retain enough heat to grill pieces of filet mignon and fresh tuna. The proteins sizzle without any need for fats, oils, or beatboxers, their flavors captured by the unique, open-air process that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is effective.
The distinctive flair of lava rock-grilling evolved from a simple enough dream. Husband and wife Patrick and Joanna founded Cafe Icon as a health-focused restaurant, devising a menu of fruit smoothies and stuffed crepes. As they built a base of fresh food-loving followers, they decided to expand the scope of the kitchen, envisioning a dining room where guests could order hibachi-grilled chicken, sushi rolls, and crepe sandwiches in a single evening. Now, Cafe Icon is as known for its lava rock dinners and elaborate sushi presentations.
The namesake dishes at Sushi and Teriyaki make for a delicious pairing of traditional Japanese cuisine, sometimes cutely referred to as sushi-n-teri by the staff. Outside of the expected dishes, such as the mountainous Ahi Tower roll with spicy tuna, the chefs also prepare hibachi entrees and specialties such as spicy ramen. And customers can wash it all down with a cool Japanese beer. The entire menu is also available for takeout, letting customers still enjoy an exotic dinner in the midst of a busy schedule.
Long before Keo opened its doors in 2007, owners Bill & Zahidah Hyman recognized a growing trend toward healthy dining. This, combined with America's affinity for Asian flavors, spawned Keo Asian Cuisine. Fusing traditional wok cooking from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia, skilled chefs flame-kiss tuna, yellowfin, and quail for burgers and noodle dishes before adding inventive garnishes of lemongrass and sweet oyster vinegar. Under hanging lights with Saturn-style rings, patrons can toss back a specialty cocktail on the rocks, but for the sake of the floor-to-ceiling windows, are discouraged from tossing actual rocks.
Full Moon Sushi and Bistro forges an extensive collection of more than 60 specialty sushi rolls accompanied by entrees that highlight Japanese spins on steak, pork, and seafood. While sushi chefs wrap crab, escolar, or yellowtail in cocoons of rice and await the emergence of butterfly shrimp, diners can sip frosty brews and watch sports on flat-screen TVs. Rustic wooden floors cradle a sturdy stable of high-backed chairs, and sky-blue walls host vibrant artwork and vacationing clouds.
As the proud, busy parents of three young boys, Kang and Mary Nhin know that eating dinner as a family can be a challenge. So they created Nhinja Sushi and Wok, a casual, kid-friendly setting where the service is fast and the menu includes healthy options. As children don a Nhinja mask cutout and sketch the daily Dow Jones chart on a coloring sheet, families dig into spicy tuna rolls or stir-fried Hunan Garden shrimp. The food blog Dishin & Dishes lauded the restaurant for offering the option to order sushi and entrees made with brown rice.
The family-centric vibe even extends to the restaurant's lime walls, which are decorated with artwork of the owners' children. Careful not to neglect fully grown eyeballs, they have also filled the space with futuristic white chairs, tables, and booths accentuated by the pops of bright pink, turquoise, purple, and lime green.