The food at Wild Ginger Japanese Restaurant bursts with color. Sushi chefs slice and stack multihued ingredients in more than two dozen specialty rolls, such as the Green Lawn roll covered in bright-green tobiko. Golden sauces cover Thai-influenced curries. And sizzling woks turn shrimp bright pink, much like arguments about whether or not they're basically the same thing as prawns. These and other dishes pop against the dining room's restrained decor, which includes charcoal-hued floors and dark wood accents.
Blue Ginger’s chefs have no shortage of sources when they need inspiration for their next dish. Rather than limit their scope to a single region or country, they scan recipe books from across Asia and pick out their favorites as starting points. Some of the recipes they dig up date back centuries, but they’re more interested in looking toward the future than dwelling on the past.
It’s certainly a bright future they envision—one in which the best elements of various Asian cuisines have joined forces in the same dishes. There are even some influences from outside Asia that make it into the mix, as the duck fajitas and pan-roasted chilean sea bass will attest. This inclusive spirit isn’t just limited to the food. An extensive drink menu features imported beers, martinis blended with sake, and cocktails stirred with miniature world flags.
An article on ThisWeek details the journey Benson Yu took from spending a dozen years working in sushi restaurants to striking out on his own. For Ronin Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar, Yu personally engineered more than 40 specialty maki rolls, including the Lollipop roll: yellowtail, salmon, crab, and avocado, wrapped in thin cucumber. As the owner and head chef, he curates the massive menu of both sushi and Asian-fusion cuisine, featuring classics such as general-tso's chicken, and original compositions, such as tropical fried rice tossed with spicy curry. The article on ThisWeek details how Ronin—which means "maverick samurai" in Japanese—features a dining room spanning 1,800 square feet, where diners sip on hot and cold sake and imported beer while practicing chop-stick skills or using forks like they’re chopsticks.
Dishes as vibrant and diverse as the UN’s annual Mardi Gras celebration deck the tabletops at Kogen’s, the seventh Asian-influenced eatery borne from the Mark Pi restaurant group. Drawing inspiration from Japanese street food, Chinese dry-food markets, and upscale American cuisine, the chefs craft an artful and varied menu that embodies both traditional favorites and experimental creations. Here, helpings of pad thai and hunan chicken share real estate with kung pao lo mein and sashimi platters. The signature sushi rolls dabble in a range of flavors, for example, the Margarita roll combines spicy tuna with avocado, lime, and wasabi mayo, and the Fire Dragon roll sets tongues ablaze with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, spicy mayo, and sriracha sauce.
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.
Deep-fried sweet potato, jalape?o aioli, honey-infused wasabi. These aren?t ingredients found on the traditional sushi menu, but the chefs at Red Bar & Sushi somehow incorporate them into their lengthy repertoire of specialty rolls. The team puts their imagination to good use, designing innovative maki such as the UFC roll?crab, eel, jalape?o, and cucumber rolled together and deep-fried in a tempura batter?or the simple, but sophisticated, Samba roll made from tuna, cilantro, and avocado. Red Bar?s chefs offer the classics as well, including fresh servings of salmon, yellowtail, and octopus sashimi, and what they call ?standard? sushi rolls, like the california roll crammed with crab and avocado or the philadelphia roll made with cream cheese.