"It took them five years before they would let me handle the fish," says sushi chef Jo Clark about his extensive training. He began his culinary journey at 13 years old and spent a decade in an apprenticeship at the Japanese restaurant Yama. There, he honed an ability to prep rice and sauces, wield a knife, and select sushi-grade fish while shadowing chefs from different regions of Japan. In his spare time, Jo enjoys paddle-surfing and once skillfully maneuvered alongside a lively school of sharks.
At the restaurant, however, he deftly manages cuts of salmon, flounder, hamachi yellowtail, and shellfish to craft more than 40 inventive sushi rolls. He toys with the traditions of sushi, wrapping some rolls with thin slices of European cucumber and creating a sashimi pizza on a tortilla crust. The aromas of ginger, eggplant, and garlic wander from pots of Thai-style dishes in the kitchen and out into dining rooms. Though each location has distinct decor, diners mingle among elements such as exposed-brick bars, hardwood floors, and hanging Japanese paper lanterns in the exciting bright colors of a furious traffic cop viewed through a kaleidoscope.
A stylish, pitch-black façade with crimson accents beckons passersby into Asia, where they can indulge in hot-off-the-wok chicken and steak entrees, or revel in the rawness of sushi and hand-rolled maki. Like a mashed-potato sculpture of the United Nations headquarters, each feast is an edible testament to a peaceful blend of cultures, with Chinese dishes of crispy duck sharing table space with South American tuna ceviche and Japanese salmon sashimi. Chefs carefully prepare all dishes according to kosher dietary rules.
Amidst the restaurant's funky zebra-print chairs and flat-screen TVs showing the game, guests end meals of pan-seared gyoza or grilled Atlantic salmon with decadent desserts such as chocolate ganache cake or fried gelato. On Saturday nights, diners pair sushi with potent tropical cocktails including minty mojitos or the signature Pineapple Express.
From a distance, it looks like a scoop of pistachio ice cream or a very large lime. But up close, it's clear that the sphere's green skin is actually a layer of thinly sliced avocado, which conceals a savory lump of snow crab, eel, and sushi rice. A union of artistic presentation and fine ingredients, this dish—called the Green Apple—embodies the creative approach of Fusionarie Japanese Signature's chefs, who craft sushi delicacies from seafood delivered fresh daily. At their kitchen inside Royal Palm Place, house-made mango sauce, wasabi aioli, and other garnishes douse house signature sushi rolls as teriyaki and tonkatsu entrees crisp atop grills and stoves. The eatery's décor echoes the chefs' commitment to presentation, as lantern-like lights illuminate Japanese statuary and the grain of hardwood floors and furnishings.
Chef Yozo Natsui's training in his native Japan, combined with more than 15 years of experience behind the stove, helped earn Bluefin Sushi & Thai Grill the distinction of Best Sushi, 2010 in the Sun Sentinel's Best of South Florida series. Inside a sleek dining room, servers transport fresh slices of fatty tuna and hand rolls from the sushi bar, where Yozo and his cadre of chefs carefully assemble edible cylinders lined with fresh seafood and cool vegetables. They accompany their platters of seared-steak teriyaki with soup or salad, and envelop medleys of vegetables in tempura batter before exposing them to a deep fryer—which is hotter and more philosophically profound than a bourgeois fryer. Servers pour an extensive selection of cold, hot, and flavored sake alongside various wines, imported Asian beers, and Thai iced tea.
Lauded by the Sun Sentinel for its “expert sushi with eye candy presentations” and its “nice medley of cuisines,” Red Ginger Asian Bistro presents several star Asian cuisines. Chinese classics such as egg drop soup, moo goo gai pan, and moo shu pork mingle on a menu with Thai fare including red-curry shrimp and thai beef salad. The staff also prepares Japanese-inspired food, curating selections from the sushi bar such as unagi sashimi, shrimp-tempura rolls, and Sexy tuna rolls packed with white tuna, cucumber, asparagus, and the power to make people stare at them with mouths agape. Even drinks from the bar run the geographic gamut, from hot and cold sake to lychee martinis and Asian, European, and North American beers.
After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, Chef Carmen perfected the art of sushi making under the guidance of a seasoned Japanese chef. She then moved into the role of teacher, and taught sushi classes for the US Marine Corps in El Salvador before returning to her roots in the kitchen as the head chef at Sushi Run. She stuffs rolls with salmon, spicy tuna, carrots, grilled eel, and mango chutney, and serves them raw or deep-fried in a tempura batter.