In Kyoto’s three restaurants, tangy aromas of teriyaki and wasabi mingle with wafts of warm, simmering curry and sweet almond sauce. Whether slicing and molding rolls at the sushi bar or performing at the hibachi grill, Kyoto’s chefs craft Japanese dishes as deftly as they orchestrate fare from China and Thailand. All three locations unfurl a slightly different menu, combining more than 55 sushi rolls and varied meats prepared on the grill, crisped in the katsu style, or tossed with soba or udon noodles so diners can taste the many flavors of Asia without erecting a complex, transcontinental zipline system.
For example, the signature spicy seafood eggplant appetizer combines grilled eggplant, chopped shrimp, scallops, and fish eggs, topped by a spicy mayo. The Kyoto tartar, or chopped avocado, salmon, tuna, and caviar is also topped with the spicy mayo, while the most popular menu item, the Kyoto scallop au gratin, is topped with enoki mushrooms.
A fully stocked hardwood bar, lit by glowing lights and wreathed with strings of flowers, marks the centerpiece of the Wilmington restaurant, whereas hibachi grills, with chefs creating columns of flames as they chop veggies and sear meats, draw attention in West Chester. Each location bathes diners in dramatic blue lighting, and the West Chester location maintains additional atmosphere with a stone wall mural and a small arched garden bridge.
In Vallé Cucina’s kitchen, chefs form fresh jumbo lump crabmeat into thick patties, pan-sear them to a golden-brown hue, and drizzle their crispy crusts with beurre blanc. The eatery’s crab cakes have been hailed by Delaware Today as the city’s best for several years running. Vallé Cucina’s classic Italian entrees are held to the same high standard: chefs hand-roll gnocchi and drizzle them with slow-simmered tomato sauce, and accent dry-aged steaks with elegant flourishes such as peppercorn brandy cream sauce and blue cheese. Servers recommend selections from Vallé Cucina’s vast wine list to enhance steaks or Trevi Fountain reproductions.
Although Frazzberry is nestled in Pike Creek Shopping Center, it was inspired by the West Coast’s proliferation of frozen-yogurt shops. As in many California fro-yo establishments, Frazzberry visitors construct their own desserts from an eclectic choice of flavors, such as chocolate, wild strawberry, and birthday cake. Each creamy flavor is crafted with Grade A milk and active yogurt cultures. To crown their confections, patrons peruse a buffet of toppings ranging from fresh fruit and syrups to crumbles of Heath bar and peanut-butter crunch.
Each day, the diligent staff at New York Bagel Cafe' & Deli fill their shop with scents of freshly brewed coffee and warm bagels straight from the oven. Seventeen varieties of the baked circles anchor an all-day breakfast menu, causing tongues to smack in approval of flavors such as plain, asiago cheese, and cinnamon raisin. Additions of meats, eggs, and cheeses transform the bagels into breakfast sandwiches, which complement stacks of pancakes drenched in sweet maple syrup.
Alternatively, customers can sidestep breakfast fare and sink into a selection of salads and deli sandwiches, including turkey melts and cubans. Gooey swiss cheese melts over classic reubens, which pile sauerkraut atop either hot turkey or pastrami. New York Bagel Cafe' & Deli can also cater events or deliver their eats directly to their customers' human-size terrarium.
Executive chef Eric Orsetti crafts hearty, modern spins on classic Italian cuisine using fresh ingredients and homemade pastas and sauces. Elegant openers from the dinner menu can silence megaphoned stomach rumblings and include the steamed littleneck clams with sweet italian sausage and ginger-white-wine sauce ($10). Forks sing when sinking into the homemade lobster-and-tarragon gnocchi ($24), fluffy dumplings that come cosseted by a brandy-tarragon cream reduction, diced roma tomatoes, and micro greens that add a splash of color under a magnifying glass. The comforting smoked chili slow-braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and asparagus ($21) inspire diners to pat bellies and chefs' backs.