Pendant lamps ensconced in sleek chrome or zebra-striped shades cast a soft glow across Sushi Thai, where blue walls offset the colorful fish fillets within the glass sushi case. Sushi chefs slice tuna tartare and coil specialty rolls behind the sushi bar as cooks in the kitchen prepare a menu of Thai fusion and sushi dishes such as pad thai with beef, udon noodles with chicken, and spicy Thai-style fried rice with chilies and basil. To complement these meals, guests can choose from an extensive drink menu brimming with wines and sakes.
Modern chandeliers burst with angular panels, evoking massive, glowing ice crystals. Walls of stacked stone and slatted wood form a backdrop for crisp white tablecloths and coal-black chairs. To complement the sleek, contemporary décor, Restaurant Tora's tables populate with artistically presented Japanese dishes such as yakisoba, fresh sashimi, and more than 25 specialty sushi rolls. Korean-style stone pots sizzle beside hibachi-grilled seafood and thick steaks accompanied by teriyaki and wasabi-yuzu sauces. After polishing off dessert, diners can charm their dates' palates with a bottle of American wine or tousle their dates' hair with a charm of American goldfinches.
The expert teppanyaki chefs at Ichiban use their iron griddles as the primary tools in building a menu that sizzles with steaks, seafood, and noodle dishes, and a sushi bar that unfurls with makimono. Although the sushi wears its Japanese pride on its seaweed sleeve, both steakhouses also boast a streak of avant-garde international influence, with such offerings as the seared salmon roll––salmon skin and cucumber topped with seared salmon and salsa ($13). The Crazy roll's deliciousness makes diners believe that their tongues are flavor magnets with morsels of shrimp tempura, avocado, flying-fish roe, and spicy mayo ($7). Hibachi dinner entrees—such as the filet mignon and scallops ($22.95)—arrive with an entourage of sides that include two pieces of shrimp tempura, vegetables, and steamed rice (substitute fried rice for $1.65).
Tokyo Asian Bistro’s chefs perform culinary feats before dining audiences in traditional hibachi style, and specialty sushi, Chinese, and Thai dishes emerge fresh from the kitchen. Knives hew fresh filet mignon, lobster, and shrimp tableside before the morsels simmer on an iron griddle. Servers water diners with specialty cocktails, sake, and fresh smoothies inside an elegant dining atmosphere replete with Asian artwork, elegant rugs, and an absence of neon inflatable castles.
A whirlwind of utensils hovers over a sizzling grill under the ministrations of a deft hibachi chef, sending morsels of seared meat to diners seated around a crimson-hued circle of polished wood. Guests can request orders of teriyaki chicken, hibachi steak, or shrimp and watch the multitasking chef cook each meal to order while entertaining fellow diners and writing a grocery list to shop for after their shift. Vibrant, rustic murals and dioramas decorate the dining room, and lantern-style light fixtures cast a warm glow on tables and working fountain by the restaurant's entrance.
The staple of Sushi Rock’s menu is its selection of roughly 50 sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls, which collect multiple Japanese flavors into one neat package. The Sushi Rock roll alone packs a punch of shrimp tempura, crabstick, salmon, tuna, asparagus, and masago. A slate of USDA Prime steaks and fresh seafood entrees such as sesame-seared tuna complement the sushi-bar creations. Each meticulously plated dish arrives in Sushi Rock's ultra-modern dining space, where backlit bottles glisten against a cityscape mural in the bar area, and color blocks of red and black pop in the dimly lit dining areas. Together, Sushi Rock’s choice food and hip vibe earned it a No. 1 ranking on CityVoter's Best Sushi list in 2010.
Bold, earthy paintings line the canary-yellow walls of Lemongrass, but they have to contend with the vibrant spreads of sushi and pad thai that top the plates at the pan-Asian bistro. Sushi, sashimi, and nigiri options run the gamut from barbecue eel and asparagus to a specialty Manhattan roll glazed with shrimp caviar. A lighter lunch menu presents smaller portions of the dinner entrees, along with handheld options such as chicken bacon and shrimp-tempura wraps. An extensive wine menu complements the dinner and lunch menus, and the tempting dessert menu catalogs fried plantains and mango sorbet served in a mango rind.