Jars of Korean kimchi and delicate spheres of salmon roe dot Dahn Sushi’s kitchen, adding artful flourishes to a menu of classic Japanese cuisine. Sushi, the restaurant’s specialty, ranges from dainty duos of eel nigiri to hand rolls packed with tuna, octopus, or red snapper. Diners can belly up to the sushi bar and take notes as they watch the chefs chop, slice, and roll their creations into vibrant spreads, some of which look like friendly caterpillars. In addition to serving small groups within the scarlet dining room, Dahn's staff delivers giant platters of sushi to parties, meetings, and mermaids’ swim meets.
With more than two decades of Japanese culinary experience as his guide, chef Joe Takeda crafts and serves creative sushi rolls with artful authority. City Weekly writer Ted Scheffler relished in the chef's expertise when he dined omakase-style at Mt. Fuji Sushi Bar and Japanese Cuisine, letting Joe surprise him with a parade of custom rolls and a sampling of the teriyaki, tempura sauce, and spicy mayo, all of which are made from scratch. As he dined, Scheffler unearthed stories from the chef's lengthy career, starting at his birthplace in Osaka, Japan, and moving on to the cauldrons of sushi rice he made, weighty boxes of fish he hauled, and wasabi-breathing dragons he conquered on his journey to rolling and slicing his own sushi.
A long chrome counter in front of Mt. Fuji's sushi bar seats patrons for an up-close view of the chef's expert skills as he rolls Gokudo rolls with ginger and mackerel and Nemo rolls stuffed with salmon topped in unagi and mango. The kitchen also serves Japanese cuisine from shoyu ramen with sliced pork to chicken teriyaki to wasabi steak. Chef Joe transfers his master skills to novice sushi rollers in BYOB sushi-making classes every weekend, during which they can eat their freshly wrapped creations and belt out love songs dedicated to the most beautiful salmon at karaoke parties.
Wasabi Sushi Restaurant whips up an expansive menu of sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, and other authentic Japanese fare. In specialty rolls such as the italian maki, a skilled chef conducts a harmonious orchestra of tempura, shrimp, crab, avocado, Placido Domingo, and cream cheese ($12.95). Meanwhile, the seafood yakisoba ($12.95) swims with stir-fried veggies, noodles, and four different types of seafood, and the beef teriyaki ($7.50/lunch, $12.95/dinner) comes nestled in a bed of rice and served with miso soup.
Lacquered tables lit by sunlight from expansive windows gleam in Rice's modern dining room. Spicy aromas waft in from the kitchen, foretelling the arrival of entrees that blend the culinary traditions of Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States. Some of these flavors meld within the dishes themselves: combining grilled steak, asparagus, and eel sauce, the Cowboy sushi roll melts away boundaries between East and West, much like a blast furnace full of old compasses. But chefs also cook traditional Asian recipes, such as a Thai curry with coconut milk or Japanese udon noodles with tempura shrimp. And they're accommodating of other diets, too. Several vegetarian dishes incorporate soy chicken substitute, whose tender texture pleased the writer of a 2009 In This Week review.
Pagoda Restaurant reflects the classic elegance of the Fairmont Hotel in which it permanently lodges. Its menu offers up starters such as crispy fried prawns with sweet and sour sauce ($12) and Peking-style pot stickers served with hot garlic chili sauce ($7). The Classic Hong Kong–style black pepper beef comes paired with bell peppers, green onions, and black pepper sauce ($16) for a palate-punching savory experience, while the crispy honey walnut prawns are dabbed with sweet, creamy sauce and topped with crunchy, honeyed nuts ($16) on the other end of the flavor spectrum. A full bar and specialty tropical drinks are also on hand in the Bamboo Lounge to quench parched palates and to clutch dramatically during weekly tropical detective LARP meetings.
Although Kobe Cho Sushi earned a feature on Man v. Food with its incendiary Hell Fire roll filled with tuna and jalapeño, the chefs can also dial down the heat and showcase the delicate flavors of fresh fish and produce. The menu stems from the mind of owner and head chef Mike Fukumitsu, whose 13 years of sushi-making wisdom has been honed during numerous training stints in Japan. As an example of his dedication to high-quality ingredients, he seeks out Wagyu kobe beef for some of his premium sashimi and sushi creations.
A few tables line the pastel-orange walls, but a large number of seats also surround the sushi bar, allowing guests to watch as the chefs slice, layer, and roll orders with the confidence of an encyclopedia salesman at a trivia competition.