For more than two decades, Ebisu—named for the Japanese god of wealth and fortune—has fostered a passion for fresh seafood. According to the Palm Beach Post, chef Hiro Yamamoto infuses his traditional Japanese specialties with the local catches of the day, which are listed daily on a blackboard alongside several lines of I will not pretend to be avocado written by the wasabi in detention. Beneath the rustic, fish-print art dangling over the sushi bar, guests can watch the chefs as they bundle nigiri, maki, and temaki with fresh ingredients in classic arrangements. From the kitchen, plump udon and soba noodle soups join tempura veggies and teriyaki entrees as a steamy complement to the rice-rolled morsels. Guests savor the restaurant’s house sake or plum wine from wooden booths and floor-level tatami seating, which seems to ignite beneath scarlet walls and hanging paper lanterns.
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"It took them five years before they would let me handle the fish," says sushi chef Jo Clark about his extensive training. He began his culinary journey at 13 years old and spent a decade in an apprenticeship at the Japanese restaurant Yama. There, he honed an ability to prep rice and sauces, wield a knife, and select sushi-grade fish while shadowing chefs from different regions of Japan. In his spare time, Jo enjoys paddle-surfing and once skillfully maneuvered alongside a lively school of sharks.
At the restaurant, however, he deftly manages cuts of salmon, flounder, hamachi yellowtail, and shellfish to craft more than 40 inventive sushi rolls. He toys with the traditions of sushi, wrapping some rolls with thin slices of European cucumber and creating a sashimi pizza on a tortilla crust. The aromas of ginger, eggplant, and garlic wander from pots of Thai-style dishes in the kitchen and out into dining rooms. Though each location has distinct decor, diners mingle among elements such as exposed-brick bars, hardwood floors, and hanging Japanese paper lanterns in the exciting bright colors of a furious traffic cop viewed through a kaleidoscope.
The menu at Seaweed Asian Cuisine flits across the globe like a migratory bird, landing in Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines to scoop up each region's culinary treats. Fresh fish make an appearance in sushi rolls and the spicy-tuna nachos, which are served on crisp wontons and flavored with baby octopus. Seafood also takes center stage in the Filipino-style whole snapper and Thai-inspired spicy volcano shrimp. Seaweed's chefs also concoct original creations, melding together aspects of various Asian cuisines with dishes such as roast pork with veggies and honey garlic chicken. Their culinary prowess won them the 2013 Reader's Choice Award from Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.
Although the chefs at Asian Fin Restaurant take Japanese culinary traditions as their starting point, they push their cuisine to a new level by introducing a bit of modern flair. Among their 40 sushi rolls are specialties that incorporate everything from king crab and wild salmon to tempura shrimp, strawberries, and mixed nuts. The chefs also cook inventive entrees, from lamb chops grilled in a stone pot and topped with Asian mustard glaze to Japanese-style tacos filled with smoked salmon and sweet chili-tinged cream cheese.
To accompany this wide array of flavors, Asian Fin Restaurant features an impressive collection of imported sakes. Just as fine wines require special wine grapes and fine microbrews require special beer microwaves, fine sakes require the sort of carefully milled, high-quality rice found in every selection at Asian Fin Restaurant.
With its orange chairs, jet-black floor tiles, and intimate lighting, the eatery's dining room appears to share the menu's modern inclinations. At the same time, a handful of traditional touches ensure the restaurant's Japanese roots remain prominent. Decals of arching tree limbs adorn one entire wall as well as the glass partition dividing the room, and kanji-decorated accents hang above the gleaming bar area.