When the first Sarku Japan location opened its doors more than 25 years ago, few people were conscious about the benefits of eating foods without trans fat, MSG, or Play-Doh. With strict standards that call for fresh ingredients and eschew potentially harmful unsaturated fats and additives, the chain has since expanded to more than 200 locations throughout the United States and South America.
The trick to the franchise's rapid success may lie in its ability to prepare traditional teppanyaki grilled seafood and meat without sacrificing nutrition and quality. Cooks prep everything made-to-order, using fresh vegetables and vegetable oil, even in their tempura breaded shrimp. Some locations feature a sushi bar, where chefs hand-roll sushi.
Hotel restaurants can sometimes blend together in a generic parade of pork chops and mashed potatoes. Rare Steak & Sushi, however, bursts out of the mold with its selection of grass-fed steaks and innovative sushi. Located on the second floor of the Grand Hotel, the eatery charmed Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl of Minnesota Monthly, who raved about its grass-fed steaks. To complement cuts of filet mignon and New York strip steaks, Chef Chano also rolls up 30 varieties of sushi. The creations range from the simple—such as freshwater-eel sashimi—to the complex, including a hawaiian roll packed with tuna, pineapple, and fried almonds or the vegetarian salad roll, which Grumdahl was “especially wild about.” A quick scan of the dining room reveals a diverse collection of clientele, as the eatery—open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—appeals to locals, businesspeople, and hotel guests alike.
The passion for fresh fish is reflected through Nami Sushi’s aquatic motif and even in the name— nami means wave in Japanese. The fish is so delicious that CBS Local hailed the restaurant as on of the best sushi spots in the Twin Cities in late 2010. A marble sushi bar runs the length of the dining room, chilling the colorful slabs of tuna, salmon, and octopus that sushi chefs mold into signature nigiri, specialty rolls, and abstract self portraits. Behind the scenes, a kitchen staff churns out hot entrees such as the new york strip teriyaki, shrimp tempura, and sautéed ginger chicken.
Described by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine's editors as "as close to an authentic Japanese sushi bar as we come in the Twin Cities," Fuji Ya is a destination for sushi and sake served in a "hypnotic atmosphere." At each of its two locations, chefs diligently slice freshly flown-in yellowtail and surf clam, all of which populate the extensive menu. Sidle up to the sushi bar to watch the assemblage of maki rolls and sushi platters, or gather in private zashiki rooms to dine on hot entrees of sesame-crusted tuna and roasted duck with citrus soy glaze.
The Monster Club Crawl unites costumed carousers for seven hours of food and drink specials, costume contests, and spirits sampling, providing VIP access to revelry at 10 of the spookiest bars and nightclubs in Minneapolis. With the Monster Crawl pass, patrons can begin the eerie evening with specialty starting-point events including the Monster Poker Tournament at Whisky Park (starting at 6 p.m.), or Roller Crawlers at Gay 90's. Elixir Lounge primes partygoers with $3 Michelob Golden Lite bottles in anticipation for the open crawl (starting at 10 p.m.) to bars including Ugly Mug, known for spine tingles of the sporting variety, and Aqua, which hosts a dance floor bathed in incandescent lighting and surrounded by pillars that never seem to blink. Nightclubs Bar Fly and Seven corral paranormal partiers during the closing crawl (12 a.m.), inviting patrons to unwind at a candlelit table or strut their stuff until 2 a.m., when all dance floors turn back into shuffleboard courts.
Tiger Sushi’s skilled seaweed wranglers concoct an extensive selection of specialty sushi, sashimi, hand rolls, and rice and noodle dishes to sate seafaring taste buds. Start a dinner excursion on the right load-bearing limb with servings of Fire Pot soup—a spicy basil broth festooned with shitake mushrooms and a choice of chicken or shrimp ($3.50)—or a snow-crab salad, littered with avocado and masago ($5), while you peruse an aqueous menu of sushi, sashimi, and roll options. Master chefs roll up a belly-sating variety of specialty rolls, such as the sunrise roll, which fuels the sun's intricate system of levers and pulleys with shrimp tempura, cucumber, salmon, mango and masago ($15), and the sunset roll, a dusk-enhancing serving of spicy tuna with salmon, white fish, and seaweed salad ($15).