A venerable textbook of sushi history, the engaging Chef Joe brings more than 20 years of Japanese culinary experience to the Mt. Fuji cutting boards. Each sushi-making class begins with the arts-and-crafts basics of fish-related construction using nori, rice, and rubber cement to build delicious rolls ready-made for consumption. Chef Joe will also clue you in on the best places to buy ingredients for three sushi mainstays: the classic california roll, spicy-tuna hand rolls, and salmon nigiri. The BYOB policy lets you alternate your detailed maki handiwork with sips of your favorite wine or beer (Mt. Fuji supplies the glasses, along with additional alcohol, which may be purchased on-site). Once you've finished exercising your chopsticks, show off your ability to shatter glass with a well-chosen Mariah Carey ballad at the restaurant-sponsored karaoke party after class.
Wasabi Sushi Restaurant whips up an expansive menu of sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, and other authentic Japanese fare. In specialty rolls such as the italian maki, a skilled chef conducts a harmonious orchestra of tempura, shrimp, crab, avocado, Placido Domingo, and cream cheese ($12.95). Meanwhile, the seafood yakisoba ($12.95) swims with stir-fried veggies, noodles, and four different types of seafood, and the beef teriyaki ($7.50/lunch, $12.95/dinner) comes nestled in a bed of rice and served with miso soup.
Japanese, Korean, and French culinary traditions collide in Yuki Arashi's kitchen, forming Asian-inspired tapas strewn with local and organic ingredients. The hot and cold small plates are perfect for sharing or alternately pressing to a sprained ankle, and they range from classic gyoza to modern arrangements of truffled albacore with microgreens and garlic crisps. At the sushi bar, chefs slice catches flown in fresh from Japan and the West Coast for sashimi and nigiri, as well as for rolling into specialty maki rolls such as the inside-out Millipede with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna tartare, avocado, and tobiko.
In the sleek dining room, bulbous vases of flowers sit above high-backed banquettes, their colorful blooms echoing the honey- and plum-hued flecks in the large variegated stone wall. Seats at the sushi bar invite patrons to gaze at the chefs' artful hard work, and an intimate tatami room enables guests to forgo chairs and dine in the traditional Japanese style.:m]]
Jars of Korean kimchi and delicate spheres of salmon roe dot Dahn Sushi’s kitchen, adding artful flourishes to a menu of classic Japanese cuisine. Sushi, the restaurant’s specialty, ranges from dainty duos of eel nigiri to hand rolls packed with tuna, octopus, or red snapper. Diners can belly up to the sushi bar and take notes as they watch the chefs chop, slice, and roll their creations into vibrant spreads, some of which look like friendly caterpillars. In addition to serving small groups within the scarlet dining room, Dahn's staff delivers giant platters of sushi to parties, meetings, and mermaids’ swim meets.
A hibachi meal at Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse begins with the chef joining guests at tables with inset grills. Standing feet from diners, the chef socializes with them while slicing and dicing chicken, lobster, steak, salmon, and veggies. Food sizzles atop the grill before being tossed onto plates and into diners? mouths and hand puppets' mouths. Another up-close dining experience occurs when customers sit at the sushi bar and watch as chefs create rolls with fillings like sliced tuna, cream cheese, and dollops of eel sauce. The eatery?s expansive menu also includes a variety of dishes made in the kitchen, from tempura and gyoza appetizers to chicken slathered in teriyaki sauce or tucked into piles of fried rice.
As the country recovered from World War II, Fujio Iwasaki was hard at work getting his eatery off the ground. Fearing a distinctly Japanese-style restaurant would not be well-received in uncertain times, Fujio added some Chinese items to the menu, and in the basement of the Colonial Hotel in 1946, Pagoda was born.
Today, the restaurant still delivers the classic Asian cuisine and sushi originally fashioned by Fujio, under the fresh guidance of head chef Jared Ekstrom and sushi chef Steve Nichol, who spent time in Japan as a tour guide and translator. The chefs lay out a smorgasbord of entrees such as miso sea bass and sushi such as the Baja Sunset, a Chef Steve original with spicy shrimp, cucumbers, and avocado crowned with fresh salmon and jalapeños.
Since moving to its current location, the eatery’s architecture has left as lasting an impression as the cuisine. A vertical sign stretches skyward, emblazoned with the word “Pagoda,” drawing the eye to a triangular rooftop that emulates the restaurant’s namesake structure.