The chefs at Ninja Sushi wield culinary skill like a sword, cutting a menu of sophisticated sushi and Japanese entrees preceded by starters such as edamame ($3.95), calamari ($6.95), and fire balls of spicy red tuna and crab ($9.95) for a more adventurous nibble. Rolled sushi offerings include the irresistible Bad Boy roll and its renegade posse of spicy tuna, cucumber, and chili sauce ($10.95). Paying homage to famous local cylinders, the Sacramento roll blends salmon, masago, and the restaurant's trademark sauce ($9.95), and the philly roll packs east coast flair with salmon, avocado, and cream cheese ($7.95). Evening guests fill up on traditional entrees such as chicken teriyaki ($13.95) and vegetable tempura ($10.95).
When sushi chef Kenro-San moved to America in the 1970s, he toted along his sushi-rolling acumen and a veteran's flair for traditional Japanese delicacies. Now, behind a marble, L-shaped sushi bar, his agile hands interlace yellowtail, unagi, and Spanish mackerel with crunchy cucumbers and avocados, creating fresh nigiri and robust maki rolls. The dining room's suspended lamps cast light upon Japanese figurines and paintings, and illuminate Kenro-San's thinly sliced beef dishes, crispy tempuras, and soba-noodle soups, the latter of which are comforting enough to console an uprooted weeping willow.
Voted Sacramento Magazine's best shabu-shabu restaurant in 2010, Shabu Japanese Fondue is named after its signature menu item, shabu-shabu—a dish that is cooked and eaten at the table. After submerging delicate slices of meat, seafood, or vegetables into a bubbling pot of savory, housemade broth, diners stir up the contents in order to cook the ingredients. This stirring action results in a "swish, swish," or "shabu-shabu," sound.
Guests can enjoy this style of dining while perched on white bar stools at a community table or at individual tables. Each table has a metal hole in the middle where the hot shabu-shabu pots sit or whack-a-moles hide, waiting to surprise guests.
Traditional meets contemporary at Nishiki Sushi: Chefs concoct classic sashimi and nigiri from fresh seafood, such as yellowtail, scallops, and freshwater eel, and they’ve also whipped up more than three dozen innovative specialty rolls. For instance, the Buddha roll has soft-shell-crab tempura wrapped into a tight spool and drizzled with a duet of homemade sauces. The Treasure roll adds a Southern twist—it has barbecue sauce splashed across scallops and comes served on top of a William Faulkner novel. The kitchen team also prepares what they call "Japanese comfort food"—entrees such as ramen noodles, chicken teriyaki, and unagi don, a barbecued freshwater-eel dish.
Situated in the heart of downtown, Kamon Japanese Restaurant's upbeat environment plays host to a cavalcade of fresh-rolled specialty maki and traditional Japanese entrees. Visitors can sidle up to the sushi bar to watch chefs assemble Yakuza rolls, which are stocked with yellowtail, spicy tuna, and avocado before being crowned with barbecue eel. Hot dinners highlight chicken katsu, salmon teriyaki, and pan-fried yakisoba noodles tossed with the customer’s choice of meat.
Hokkaido Noodle House takes both its name and its nuanced cuisine from Japan’s northernmost island. The menu evokes the island’s mix of ice-cold waters and lush, green lands with fresh seafood and farm meats glazed with sauces or folded into soups, curries, or origami cranes. Chef and owner Wei Zhang's areas of food-constructing expertise also includes ramen noodles, bento boxes, and donburi.