While scanning the pages of Nooddi Thai Chef's eclectic and lengthy menu amid the eatery's oceanic murals, eyes are forced to stop at words that stand out against the traditional "dumpling," "curry," and "satay." The kitchen staff's specialties cause these double takes on a daily basis, as they introduce eccentric proteins such as wild boar in a garlic red curry sauce or saut?ed alligator in an aromatic herb sauce. In addition to their Thai classics, the cooks assemble flavors from across Asia, including those in Vietnamese pho, Japanese yakisoba, and Indonesian mee goreng.
Sakura Japanese Cuisine traffics in time-tested Japanese dishes. Sushi dinners highlight chef-selected sampler platters and old-fashioned hand rolls, some of which are crafted with ingredients that are rarely seen stateside, such as plum paste and a fermented-soybean delicacy known as natto. Chefs also whip up traditional entrees, including lightly fried vegetable tempura, shrimp teriyaki with miso soup, and hibachi-grilled steak. They even make authentic sukiyaki hot pots, which come accompanied by morsels of beef or chicken.
The penchant for modernity at o-toro recently caught the eye and taste buds of County Lines magazine’s staff, which named it one of Philly’s Best New Ventures of 2013. The restaurant’s track lighting illuminates a contemporary scene marked by wooden fixtures, vibrant splotches of red and orange, and plates of Japanese cuisine with Mexican, Korean, and American influences. Sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls—such as the signature o-toro roll with fatty tuna tartar, spicy mayo, and jalapeño—are served alongside tapas-style plates of filet mignon dumplings, duck tacos, and skewers of Korean-style fried chicken. At the polished wooden bar, bartenders pour wine, sake, and craft beer.
In Kyoto?s two 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.
Jasmine Restaurant?s chefs cull culinary influences from different corners of Asia: the menu catalogs Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese recipes. From the Japanese portion of the menu they prepare sushi and sashimi, crafting specialty rolls such as the Jasmine stuffed with lobster claw, avocado, cucumber, and spicy mayo. They even add a little Latin flair by preparing the Samba roll with salmon, jalape?os, and mozzarella cheese. Along with the sushi, the kitchen team plates korean barbecue short ribs, pad thai, and charbroiled lemongrass chicken to round out the Asian fusion menu. Soothing music accompanies the soft clink of forks and knives as they slice into wok-cooked filet-mignon entrees in the recently renovated modern and chic dining area. There, wooden tables sit beneath hanging lights, and beaded curtains offer a jangly threshold to another dining area, a lounge, or a parallel universe in which Japanese food is all hamburgers.
Indonesian cuisine, modern Asian fare, and Japanese sushi crowd the menu at Asnan Sushi Bar and Asian Cuisine. After entering the modern waterfront eatery, diners can contemplate 75 sushi choices, including 15 specialty rolls such as the Las Vegas Roll, which wagers asparagus, cream cheese, and salmon against your hunger ($10), and the NSR roll, a concoction of spicy tuna, avocado, and cucumber sprinkled with eel sauce, jalapeño, kiwi, and tobiko ($15). Guests can sample beef curry ($10) or spicy chicken-rice plates ($9), each chaperoned by rice and salad, or maintain the seafaring theme by indulging in baked salmon with special sauce ($12). The 13-piece sashimi combo adds a baker's dozen of unbaked fare to the meal ($12.50), and Asnan's two-piece à la carte options, such as the soft clam ($4), striped bass ($4), and fluke ($4), arrive ready to be immediately devoured or pocketed for later use as garnishes for exotic drinks.