At Benkay Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, voted Best Sushi Restaurant for 15 years by BestOfSurveys.com, Asian tradition meets the fruits of the American East Coast. Prime examples of this partnership can be found in the restaurant's maki rolls?the Maine Roll pairs lobster with flying fish roe, whereas the Crab Union Roll mixes Maine crab, king crab, and soft-shell crab with avocado, cucumber, and red, yellow, and green wasabi. These are only two of the menu's more than 40 maki rolls. But even if you try them all, you're still in for a surprise when you return, as Chef Ando creates different specials daily to highlight the freshest catch.
Another way to ensure a little culinary suspense is to end every food order with "... or is it?", or to simply order an omakase meal. This latter approach leaves all of the nigiri, sushi, and sashimi choices up to the chef, allowing tables to sample a variety of delicacies. The menu also features Japanese entrees, such as udon soups and teriyaki-flavored meats, and a romantic dinner for two that includes starters and a smorgasbord of sushi.
Kon Asian Bistro's chefs embrace the cuisines of Japan, China, and Thailand as they create a contemporary, pan-regional menu that includes fresh sushi and hearty, spice-laden entrees. As the hibachi chefs shuffle cuts of chicken, swordfish, or filet mignon across iron tabletop grills, searing diners' food and unwanted junk mail directly in front of them, the sushi chefs roll a combination of familiar and inventive maki behind their bar. The kitchen also forges its own menu of traditional pan-Asian fare, including General Tso's chicken and tropical mango shrimp with basil and thai sweet-chili sauce.
Aki Japanese Cuisine trades on its established relationships with local farmers and fishermen to corral fresh ingredients from the farm and sea onto artistically crafted dinner and lunch plates. The eatery specializes in hibachi, a demonstrative style of Japanese cooking that involves a chef whipping up freshly grilled steaks, lobster, and chicken before the eyes of astonished guests. At the sushi bar, chefs slice up locally sourced fish and produce to create visually stunning and delicious maki and sashimi plates from salmon, eel, yellowtail, and tuna. The eatery also shows its dedication to the environment by using recycled and biodegradable products and penning weekly love letters to the ozone layer.
The chefs at Hibachi Japanese Steak House ignore the old "don't play with your food" rule. Surrounded by guests at hibachi tables, chefs chop steak, shrimp, and chicken with gusto. They send flames leaping high into the air and toss pieces of food into diners? waiting mouths?or bellybuttons. Even the sushi chefs put on a show for customers, as they slice smoked salmon and cucumbers and tuck tobiko and housemade sauces inside rolled seaweed sheets. Behind the scenes in the kitchen, chefs stir-fry noodles and hide veggies inside tempura batter.
Though it overlooks Gloucester Harbor, where fishermen haul in the restaurant's supply of fresh fish and lobster, the dining room of Latitude 43 feels like it's underwater. The hull of a 36-foot Coast Guard rescue boat hangs overhead, a 16-foot iron-and-glass octopus sculpture wrought by a local iron artist dangles above the sushi bar, and a harbor mural painted by local artists enlivens the walls. The aromas of coastal cuisine waft through the oceanic interior, signaling the arrival of dishes such as grilled local swordfish, more than 17 sushi rolls, and a host of non-seafood entrees that can be prepared in gluten-free or vegetarians versions.
Because a strong ecosystem produces healthy fish, Latitude 43's restaurateurs do their part to ensure earth's well-being with their green facility. Recycled materials compose the tiles in the kitchen and around the sushi bar, and the deck's sunshades heat the dishwasher's hot water while shading guests from the sun?s deadly laser beams. An oceanfront patio hosts feasts in the summertime, while a fireplace made from locally sourced granite keeps diners cozy in the winter.
At Thyme Japanese Cuisine, cooking dinner is as much about performance as it is about preparation. Pull up a chair around a traditional hibachi grill, where chefs in bright red hats sear fragrant grilled meats and seafood over an open flame. The end result is an array of succulent entrees, from chicken and calamari to filet mignon paired with lobster tail.
There are also several other Asian-inspired entrees you can order from the kitchen: tofu teriyaki, shrimp tempura, and vegetable pad Thai, to name a few. At the on-site sushi bar, you can watch as chefs specialty rolls such as the Red Sox roll, king crab mingled with asparagus, mango, and avocado wrapped in delicate soy paper. Fried cheesecake and green tea ice cream round out the dessert selection.
The atmosphere is a little more low-key in the bar area, where guests can sidle up amid colorful, changing lights to sip cocktails. The private VIP party room is the ideal place to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or the discovery of the VIP party room