Samurai Sam’s aims to help its customers eat smarter by offering fast-food meals made from healthy Japanese recipes, a novel concept that resulted in the eatery being lauded by Entrepreneur magazine as a top Asian-fast-food franchise. At more than 40 locations in 17 states, cooks top bowls of steamed rice or yakisoba noodles with wok-cooked vegetables, lean meats such as chicken and salmon, and their signature Samurai Sam’s teriyaki sauce. The kitchen staff also craft salads from crisp lettuce, cucumbers, and other fresh vegetables tossed with light dressings, chicken breast, and wonton strips or crunchy noodles. Egg rolls and crab puffs, which are grilled instead of fried, help round out the health-friendly menu.
In 1971, Jimmy Nishiyama introduced the city of Las Vegas to Japanese hibachi cuisine. Three decades later, and the friends have stayed very much in touch. During that time, Geisha House, Nishiyama's brainchild, has grown to fill three locations and eight menu pages. Colorful specialty sushi rolls, such as the baked Japanese Lasagna?cream cheese and mayo atop a crabmeat and avocado roll?make fitting partners for grilled lobster, filet mignon, or scallops in hibachi dinners. Nearly 30 varieties of sake trip merrily across the palate, while the Geisha martini blends sake with plum wine and a treasure trove of James Bond jokes.
Smoke rises up from Bee Gee Kitchen's handmade charcoal-fueled grill as it sizzles with the bamboo-skewered meats, seafood, and vegetables of Japanese yakitori-inspired dishes. Chefs adorn the skewers in their own signature sweet and spicy sauces and also specialize in a variety of hibachi, udon-noodle, and teriyaki dishes. Waiters carry steaming dishes out into the cheerful dining room, where bright green walls and sunlight beam down upon rows of tabletops. Outside, cars line up before a drive-thru window, picking up freshly prepared dishes to enjoy at home or while taking repeated laps around their favorite roundabout.
Teriyaki Boy serves up health-friendly eats that integrate Japanese and Chinese influences without the use of oil or MSG. Their cooks grill or bake shrimp, tofu, Angus steak, or chicken before tossing them into teriyaki bowls or teriyaki wraps, which bring together the proteins with rice and vegetables. Tender filets of salmon and mahi mahi also make an appearance in bowls with rice or soba noodles. Morsels of Mongolian beef, sesame orange chicken, or sweet and sour pork broaden the flavor spectrum alongside sips of boba smoothies.
With more than 45 years of history behind it, Osaka is run by a family who knows how to separate its business from the competitive Las Vegas restaurant scene. The formula requires award-winning chefs and and three distinct menus to appeal to as many sensibilities as possible. In addition to curry-kissed udon noodles and inventive makimono, Osaka's dishes also feature imported delicacies from Japan such as live surf clams, certified Kobe beef, and bonito.
And to mirror its menus' diversity, the staff has created three specific dining experiences to accommodate everything from peaceful, romantic dates to nights out with an energetic crew. A tatami room sets diners on traditional woven mats in a private setting surrounded by backlit Japanese screens. For live entertainment, there's watching the chefs' showy knife skills at work and even occasional music acts at the teppanyaki area and sushi bar.