Beneath the colorful toques on their heads, hibachi chefs flip and sauté meat and vegetables on their tabletop grills, smiling as they conjure the occasional bursts of flame during lively cooking routines. That’s just one scene at SooWoo Japanese Steakhouse—across the restaurant, sushi chefs slice ribbons of fish and vegetables and roll them into California and spicy tuna rolls. Basketball fans can celebrate the city’s 2012 NBA championship with the specialty Miami Heat roll, which includes slices of shrimp tempura, crab, and cream cheese. SooWoo also whips up Korean dishes, such as bulgogi and pork belly.
If they're lucky, diners at Weston Sushi & Grill might see the restaurant's massive sushi boat, a handsome wooden vessel showcasing a dazzling array of ornate sushi rolls and colorful pieces of sashimi. The masterminds behind this splendid spread of seafood are the restaurant's sushi chefs, who extend their expertise towards dozens of traditional and imaginative rolls. While the sushi bar churns out fresh-fish creations, the kitchen sizzles up Japanese and Chinese specialties ranging from teriyaki ribs and scallops to bubbling pots of udon soup. There are stir-fried Chinese noodles and fiery Szechuan specialties—including spicy chicken and sizzling steak—as well as ice-cream desserts flavored like red bean, vanilla, and green tea.
The chefs at Go!Bento fill traditional Japanese-style bento boxes with entrees and sides from Chinese, Thai, and other Asian cuisines. Bento boxes in sizes from the petite Go! Ninja to the hearty Go! Sumo mingle pad thai, honey-garlic chicken, lo mein noodles, and steamed pot stickers. Go!Bento also riffs on hot dogs with katsu-fried franks, avocado, and spicy mayonnaise. The kitchen team coils specialty sushi rolls such as the BFF, whose circumference of tuna, salmon, and whitefish is measured in friendship bracelets. Branching out from their core competency of savory seafood, the staff also drizzles donuts with condensed milk and green-tea ice cream to round out the menu.
At the family-owned Sushi Room, skilled chefs from Manhattan, Miami, and Japan use fresh seafood and inventive recipes to spice up traditional Japanese dishes. The menu focuses heavily on sushi, with options ranging from standard soft shell crab and tuna rolls to the specialty mixed volcano roll, which mixes a traditional California roll with baked salmon, crab, conch, and octopus. If sushi and sashimi aren't your thing, you can choose from an extensive selection of cold and hot Japanese plates that include vegan-friendly tofu dishes. The flavorful escargot plate is simmered in sake and cabernet in a traditional toban-style ceramic skillet. Lounge in the candlelit dining room and savor sips of sake—the restaurant serves more than 20 varieties of the traditional rice wine.
Sushi Mentai’s cooks evoke authentic flavors from Japan and Thailand with freshly made entrees, such as teriyaki chicken, Thai-style fried rice, and panang curry. At a visible workstation, meanwhile, sushi chefs slice and dice fresh seafood into 28 different types of sushi and hand rolls before topping them off with spicy mayo, cream cheese, or fresh vegetables. During the afternoon hours, they stuff bento boxes with a four-piece california roll, gyoza, and edamame for lunch on the go.
Sushi Mentai’s authentic Asian touches don’t stop with the food, though. Traditional red paper lanterns hover above wooden booths, illuminating cups of hot green tea or glinting off decorative statues of Buddha.