Watching Bamboo’s chefs prepare dishes can be as memorable an experience as eating them. The nimble cooks position themselves at tableside teppanyaki grills, slicing steak, chicken, and seafood before sizzling the morsels up on flaming grills. The sushi chefs behind the bar can be equally entertaining as they expertly assemble fresh fish into rainbows of colorful sauces, avocado, and tobiko. Meanwhile, behind the full bar, servers shake up specialty cocktails and uncap bottles of Japanese beers.
Throughout the year, the restaurant's energetic dining room features live music shows and karaoke nights. On holidays, it often plays host to spirited get-togethers, including a costume party on Halloween and a Revolutionary War reenactment on the Fourth of July.
Red paper lanterns hang above Wasabi Sushi's sushi counter, where patrons can watch expert sushi chefs slice pieces of sashimi or assemble intricate rolls, such as the Spicy Crawfish with asparagus and cream cheese. Across the dining room, whose walls are painted a buttery yellow, waiters ferry cooked entrees such as teriyaki chicken, vegetable tempura, and chicken fried rice. Desserts such as ice-cream balls rolled in mochi rice skin, and tempura-battered cheesecake, end meals on a sweet note.
Near the bustling intersection of North Davis Highway and Olive Road lies a tranquil temple. It's not an Egyptian ruin or a place of worship but a shrine to eastern Asian cookery. Inside, brothers Irwan and Christopher Wong whorl squid, smelt roe, and escolar into made-to-order sushi rolls and craft Chinese classics such as orange chicken and kung pao pork without MSG. Diners can gather at tables trimmed with fresh flowers or pull up to a plant-lined sushi bar, which doubles as a stage for sparring samurai and geisha dolls. Here, the Wongs embellish Amazon rolls with fresh avocadoes and dot grilled chicken rolls with eel sauce and sesame seeds. On-the-go diners can retrieve takeout at the handy drive-thru window rather than having servers shot-put it through the front door.
Chefs roll fresh salmon, scallops, and barbecued eel into sushi behind Fuji’s open-air bar and send elegant platters to diners watching every slice or parties gathered in private rooms. Teriyaki-chicken or shrimp-tempura bento boxes arrive filled with neat portions of dumplings and crab rangoons to ensure that meals remain perfectly organized on the trip to the stomach. Pork or chicken cutlets are breaded and fried in the tonkatsu style, and udon or soba noodles tangle with stir-fried vegetables and fish cakes. Hibachi chefs sear filet mignon, chicken, or lobster tails to perfection to complement glasses of Japanese beer, sake, or jasmine tea from the beverage list.
Soft, colored light beams out from beneath the elegant sushi bar at Mandarin Moon, where skilled sushi chefs prepare traditional and specialty rolls. Lobster tail, spicy tuna, and salmon inhabit the gleaming glass case alongside more unexpected ingredients, such as duck and grilled steak. Between mouthfuls of sushi and sashimi, diners at the dark-wood tables and chairs can feast on classic Thai dishes, Chinese food favorites, or the envy of guests who didn't order the crab rangoon.
If the building's exterior looks as if a pagoda landed atop a house, that might be a good clue that delicious Japanese cuisine is served inside. The fresh sushi rolled inside Fuji San earned it two Nappie Awards in 2011 from the readers of Lagniappe magazine for Most Underrated Restaurant and Best Sushi. Fuji San also won for Best Sushi in 2012 and 2013. Besides the artful rolls, the kitchen crafts Japanese dishes including teriyaki and tempura combination dinners and shabu-shabu hot pot entrees. It also recently introduced a Thai menu full of classic eats, including pad thai and red and green curries.