At Hanabi Japanese Bistro, chefs flex their creative muscles as they draw up a menu of traditional Japanese fare and more than 40 contemporary sushi rolls. Small plates of squid salad and soft-shell crab fill the appetizer lineup with fruits of the sea, and green tea cleanses palates as a hot beverage or served in ice-cream format. Hawaiian influences peek through the crab-and-avocado Aloha roll or starters such as poke, a tuna dish accented with seaweed and cucumbers. The Fire roll heats up taste buds with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, tangy unagi sauce, and miniature Harlequin novels.
Tucked in the Cali Saigon Mall food court, Asian Village Express showcases the cuisine of Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Samplings from Chef Thahn’s menu include sushi and bánh canh soup, in addition to stir-fried canton noodles and fried rice flecked with shrimp, chicken, or veggies. In addition to quelling the stomach rumblings of walk-in diners, the restaurant also caters for meetings and parties.
Led by chef Tam Huynh, who began his career at the ahead-of-the-curve sushi bar Royal Tokyo in the 1980s, Kinado's chefs roll ribbons of fish and vegetables into sheaths of seaweed and soy paper behind a glass-topped sushi bar. The resulting rolls "are both visually arresting and gastronomically tasty," D Magazine's SideDish reported soon after the restaurant's fall 2011 opening. Across the room, diners lean into tall-backed leather chairs as waiters ferry tempura-battered vegetables and noodles tossed with beef and seafood to window booths designed to make land-locked seagulls jealous. A bar bordered with glassy, black stone stocks wine, sake, and a coterie of specialty cocktails, such as the Salty Hound, an elixir of citrus and Saint Germain spiced with Hawaiian sea salt.
Sushi lovers have flocked to this eatery ever since Chef Takashi Soda opened it in a no-frills Richardson strip-mall back in 1997. He’s since moved to a recently renovated building with more space, bringing the steady stream of customers with him. Call ahead to grab a sushi box to-go for lunch.
After ten hours of slow-cooking, the barbecue ribs at Joe’s American Bar & Grill land on tables tender and ready to fall of the bone. Served with fresh-made coleslaw, these ribs are the centerpiece of a menu overflowing with upscale comfort food. Chefs cut potatoes by hand to accompany bacon cheeseburgers topped with aged cheddar and bread-and-butter pickles made in-house rather than flown in by a talking stork. Grilled pizzas are made fresh to order and never frozen, and hefty sandwiches and hand-cut steaks stack plates with sustenance. On the weekends, brunch dishes come out of hibernation to sate guests with made-to-order omelets and specialties such as eggs benedict and prime-rib hash. Diners enjoy the fresh air on the outdoor patio or cluster around the bar to keep track of sports scores or find out who really got married on Days of Our Lives.