The sharp angles that define the modern architecture of Tokyo Japanese SteakHouse, Sushi, and Lounge reflect the eatery's clean, aesthetically pleasing offerings of authentic Japanese sushi and hot dishes. Chefs cook up some of the menu’s teriyaki steak and seafood entrees the traditional way, behind closed doors, where their knife skills go to work as they prepare fresh meals to send out to the dining room. Hibachi tables, on the other hand, set the stage for a gastronomic performance, during which chefs sear chicken, filet mignon, and sea bass before diners' eyes. To top off the show, there’s a diverse sushi menu that includes creative options such as the Snow White roll, filled with tempura shrimp and a naiveté that’s both irritating and charming.
The chefs at Pacific Rim specialize in a fusion of Japanese and Thai cuisines and have left no stone unturned. The menu is massive?even at lunch, patrons have options that span from a sashimi ceviche to wok entrees to siam noodles. The dinner menu is even longer. It introduces grilled entrees, such as large scallops basted with curry sauce, and daily-special curries with a choice of proteins. However, Pacific Rim is most popular for its sushi, a dizzying selection of 100 creations that include sashimi, maki, and hand rolls. There are plenty of specialty rolls, of course, though guests are given the option to create their own signature roll from the sushi chefs' ingredients or whatever raw fish they have in their purse.
The forecast at Tsunami Sushi Bar & Grill never changes: there’s always a heavy chance of sushi. More than 30 sushi and sashimi creations take up a good chunk of the menu, with ingredients ranging from smoked salmon to spicy scallop. Diners can set aside their chopsticks and slice into hearty orders of filet mignon teriyaki or Gal Be—Korean barbecued short ribs served with steamed greens. Tsunami serves its artful plates in a dining room that This Week in Sarasota calls “dark, rich, and casually elegant,” making the restaurant an ideal spot for a romantic date or suit fitting.
With outposts in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, Jpan Restaurant boasts a bold red-and-black decor aesthetic and a menu full of artfully presented fresh-fish creations. Skilled sushi chefs assemble complex specialty rolls, or let simple slices of fish steal the spotlight with array of sashimi selections. For those who prefer an entree that's seen some heat, there's an array of tempura and teriyaki dishes, as well as steamy bowls of ramen or udon noodles. The drink list includes domestic and Japanese beers, along with wines, soft drinks, and sakes served cold or heated in the forge of a samurai swordsmith.
People keep talking about Yume Sushi. Back in 2009, The Herald Tribune noted the restaurant's "loyal following," and they lauded its sushi for being "consistently excellent." That was high praise, especially considering the restaurant's sushi menu has more than 80 choices for rolls and sashimi—from a tuna-lover roll to the ever-popular lobster roll. The positive reviews weren't a fleeting occurrence, which meant the restaurant would have to hire more tiny captains to pilot its sushi boats. In 2013, Yume was voted one of the best sushi restaurants by Sarasota Magazine, and it took top prize for "Best Local Sushi Sarasota" during The Herald Tribune's Readers' Choice competition in 2014.
The sushi bar has certainly earned its prominent place along a blue-tinted wall within Yume Sushi's dining room. But away from this casual space lies the other side to Yume Sushi's culinary coin. In the kitchen, chefs stir-fry pork loin with fresh ginger and brew tempura udon soup with thick noodles. A selection of hot and cold sakes completes the Japanese dining experience.
True to its name, The Teahouse at Asian Arts offsets its exotic Asian concoctions with a Silk Road-inspired ambience of traditional Asian artwork and décor—right down to the mahjongg you can play at your table while waiting for your food. Your journey to the East begins with two items from the appetizer menu, such as crabmeat dumplings or yodofu, a tofu and vegetables mix that comes with dipping sauce and a clean bill of karma. From there you'll be free to pick your entrees from a massive menu of sandwiches and wraps, specials such as Hannah's wasabi mussels in miso broth, and soups and dumplings, which come in beef, crab, Mothra, and vegetarian variations. End your excursion with two sweet desserts, such as a warm pear crumble or ice-creamy Japanese daifuku mochi. In between bites, The Teahouse at Asian Arts will delicately hose down dirty palates with an Around the World flight of five infused sake shots; seasoned sake-sippers, meanwhile, can order an eight-ounce carafe of their preferred varietal. For added fun, a seasoned chiromancer will give you and your date a mini palm reading that determines your romantic chances, the number of kids you'll have, and exactly how many Shriner cars will be involved in your death tomorrow.