Poway Sushi Lounge celebrates the grand economy of flavor that can be packed into a singular, satisfying chomp. Starting appetites simmer under the spell of chipotle-baked mussels ($6) and agedashi tofu that's flash-fried before a soothing bonito bath ($5), bracing the palate for the dynamic rolls ahead. Handmade sushi rolls cater themselves to all hankerings with refreshing bites of spicy crab in the Red Dragon rolls ($12) and Tsunami rolls that unite shrimp, crab, avocado, and asparagus layered in Cajun-seared albacore and roasted garlic ($14). A diverse nigiri and sashimi menu focuses on individual ingredients, while the kitchen's selection of entrees ushers in classic plates of sesame chicken ($12) and charred salmon with asparagus and baby spinach ($14).
Sport Sushi showcases seafood and rice in myriad combinations under the glow of six mounted flat-screen TVs that broadcast sports games. Spicy yellowtail hand rolls, stacks of nigiri, and salmon rolls fill the menu, which also boasts specialties including tiradito, a dish that pairs thinly sliced raw fish with spicy citric olive oil, and cabo tataki sashimi, seared tuna with spicy garlic and cilantro ponzu sauce. Parties can settle down at tables or perch themselves at the sushi bar where they can watch the chef’s agile hands through glass panels or simply stare lovingly at their own reflections.
At Nori Sushi Bar and Grill, chefs fuse traditional methods with new-wave techniques to transform fresh seafood into more than 20 specialty rolls. These include rolls stuffed with shrimp tempura and Red Dagon with spicy tuna, cucumber avacado, topped with cajun tuna and habanero masago that looks just as good on a plate as it would beneath a Christmas tree. But Nori’s selection stretches beyond sushi to full entrees, such as the teriyaki steak topped with a house teriyaki sauce. Diners enjoy the dishes inside the restaurant, which is adorned with bamboo plants and cat statues, or outside on the patio, next to the sand-colored exterior and underneath crimson umbrellas.
Because their art has a small and edible canvas, sushi chefs must specialize in precision. They pick tiny yet often intense ingredients, packaging them neatly together for the best visual and flavorful presentation. At Tabu Sushi Bar & Grill, the challenge of their task is doubled—they wield spicy add-ons whose heat must balance the crispness of the seafood. The spicy lobster roll, for example, tops its mix of lobster, cucumber, and avocado with a drizzle of Sriracha sauce. There's also the sushi burrito, one of several fusion appetizers that wraps shrimp tempura and crab in soy paper, primed for dipping in house salsa.
Stuffed jalapeños, sushi tostadas, and rolls with habanero sauce bespeak the restaurant's fascination with the southwest. Still, there are classic Japanese dishes to be had. Entrees of chicken katsu and miso-glazed Chilean sea bass make for filling dinners, whereas bento box and teriyaki bowl lunch specials satisfy afternoon cravings. Hand rolls package eel and salmon skin inside seaweed shaped like a cone hat, which the staff imports directly from mermaid parties.
A Japanese-owned-and-operated dining destination, Hyuga Sushi combines time-honored sushi techniques with the freshest seafood available to create both classic and creative Japanese fare. The sushi menu includes a full net of specialty rolls such as the Samurai ($9.50), a hunger-slaying combination of fresh crab, avocado, cucumber, and yamagobo topped with mackerel and ginger, or the Felix ($12.50), a fun-loving concoction of crab, avocado, and shrimp tempura, topped with smoked salmon and spicy mayo, kept in line by the more reclusive Oscar roll. A selection of skillfully sliced sushi-bar entrees ($12.95–$20.95) further sates unbaked yens, and the equally tempting lunch and dinner menus offer a variety of nonsushi dishes ($6.50–$14.50). Hyuga's intermingling of tradition and modernity is further exemplified in its décor, which marries traditional Japanese design with iconic American photographs, including a young Marlon Brando long before he developed his voracious appetite for tempura-battered furniture.
Adhering to the balanced energies of Feng Shui, the dining room at Iron Wok Asian Bistro is captivating in its blend of romance, whimsy, and chic décor. A giant fish tank and strings of hanging lights illuminate the dining room, casting a warm glow over the full-sized trees and brick walls that surround the dining room’s booths.
Chefs mirror this balanced approach with their cooking, blending together the artistry of presentation with the classic recipes culled from numerous Southeast Asian cuisines. They use only spices imported from Asia, adding a subtle zing to dishes such as their honey-glazed shrimp tossed with walnuts. Chefs even roll together a selection of sushi, and specially prepare a full menu of vegetarian dishes for those who abstain from meat. Their dessert menu incorporates traditional Asian flavors to create dishes such as their mochi or green tea ice cream and fried bananas with coconut pineapple ice cream.