From their command center behind the open sushi bar, Umi Sushi’s skilled chefs champion fresh, authentic Japanese fare by sculpting vibrantly hued rolls and umami-packed entrees. These culinary gurus scuttle about the kitchen decorating sleek white plates with traditional morsels infused with inventive flavors such as honey wasabi sauce and pink soy seaweed. Artistically composed platefuls of fresh fish and bowls of steaming noodles arrive before guests perched on modern wooden benches in the dining room. When warmer weather rolls in, Umi Sushi’s outdoor brick patio beckons eaters to sun on its stone benches as their chopsticks click through the kitchen’s masterpieces.
Wild Ginger’s crew draws upon culinary traditions from Japan, Thailand, and China as the chefs slice burdock root, shiitake mushrooms, and lemongrass. In the bustling kitchen, they decorate colorful eats with tobiko and curlicues of honey-infused wasabi. Steam trickles from bowls of noodles and tempura-battered lobster. Servers whisk the newly minted dishes out to the yellow, orange, and green dining room, delivering them to tables of guests and cartoon silverware seeking a night away from the demands of constant singing.
Located next to the bobbing boats of a marina, Kingston's Clam Bar serves up fresh air alongside its fresh seafood. Red umbrellas shade a row of tables outside along the pier, and French doors admit sea breezes into the dining room. There, servers crisscross the red brick floor with morsels on casual, plastic plates, such as a lobster roll stuffed with lemon-mayo dressing and tender chilled meat.
When owners, Robert Beer and Tom Lam, opened Nisen Woodbury, they set out to seamlessly combine sushi and traditional fine dining into one stylish package. So for the upscale menu, their chefs craft specialty rolls such as the Scottish goat, filled with ginger salmon, goat cheese, roasted Portobello, and jalapeño salsa, and cook high-quality meats, such as organic chicken and Kobe-style beef, to perfection. And regardless of whether it’s served hot or cold, the food that emerges from the restaurant’s kitchen is artfully presented. This fits with Nisen Woodbury’s interior décor, which features warm mood lighting and tables set beneath lofty, arched ceilings that draw hip crowds of discerning fine diners.
Long Island's Hana Japanese Restaurant dishes out sushi, teriyaki, and other Asian cuisine beneath the glow of lantern-like hanging lamps. Within the moss-green walls of the dining room, diners feast on maki rolls and sashimi feasts; exposed wooden rafters recall the restrained aesthetics of traditional Japanese architecture. Korean dishes such as bulgogi and bibimbap round out the dinner menu, and diners can cap off meals with fried or regular ice cream in flavors such as green tea or ginger.
Shiny golden spheres congregate by a cozy fireplace inside Arata Sushi's dining room. Though they're attached to the wall, they seem to drift across space like tiny suns or undersea bubbles. Perhaps they're an homage to the fish that comprise the restaurant's colorful sushi lineup, which the Courier-Journal has dubbed "highly imaginative." In the kitchen, chefs whorl fresh seafood with rice and veggies to form more than 45 types of maki. Several rolls, such as the Cardinal, showcase fruits such as kiwis and strawberries alongside savory ingredients such as fried shrimp and cream cheese. At the bar, diners can sip wine and sake while watching the chefs slice bright-orange salmon and tuna as red as a comet wearing a clown nose.