Nozumi’s culinary team of world travelers turns to seasonally available ingredients and their own global palates to create innovative Japanese cuisine. While seated at a high-top table beneath a hushed lighting fixture or nestled in a cushy booth, diners can choose shareable plates from five tapas-style menus or entrust their selections to the chef, who employs a fresh selection of seafood to furl signature sushi rolls such as Rinjin Dragon, packed with shrimp tempura, fresh-water eel, and veggies drizzled in spicy mayo. Non-sushi entrees include grilled tiger shrimp and seared day-boat scallops swimming in creamy basil sauce and fettuccine noodles, and a tuna sandwich anchored by seasoned yellow-fin steak and coleslaw. Guests can also set up shop at the sushi bar or reserve the private Tatami room, designed to accommodate 8–10 people or one very large secret.
Orchid’s 7,000 square feet of sleek feasting space invites diners to sample a smorgasbord of contemporary pan-Asian cuisine featuring fresh sushi, hearty Korean barbecue, sweet Thai curries, and more. Entrees such as the braised Korean short ribs ($22) and the Thai green curry with shrimp ($16) detonate saucy taste explosions along thin red lip lines. Chlorophyll-friendly options include the vegetarian dinner plate ($15), a meatless medley of tofu steak, seaweed salad, kabocha mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables glazed in a miso-teriyaki sauce. For professional chopstick twirlers, Orchid offers an expansive selection of specialty sushi, including Crunch Melt, with shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and melted mozzarella, drizzled with unagi sauce ($14), and Salmon Obsession, a savory mix of fried and fresh salmon ($16) named in honor of Calvin Klein's best-selling portable grill.
Sleek decor and bold colors fill Sushi-Ai's dining room to complement the elegant plates of sushi rolls and Japanese-influenced entrees. A white banquette lines one wall and modern chairs snuggle up to black tables illuminated by candlelight. Against a red-tiled backdrop, sushi chefs slice up nigiri and arrange their signature maki rolls, which can be cloaked in black rice upon request. The Green Turtle roll comes topped with shrimp and wasabi tobiko to hide its core of freshwater eel and avocado, and the salmon Obsession is filled with cucumber and crabmeat that move in with lightly battered spicy salmon, gradually copying the salmon's personality quirks and mannerisms.
At Japan 77, tables surround hibachi-style grills, upon which resident flame tamers sear steak, seafood, and chicken directly in front of diners' mesmerized eyes. Guests can perch at seats encircling one of the eatery's chefs, who tend to flattop griddles like shepherds watch over their flocked Christmas ornaments. Hearty meats sizzle next to shrimp and lobster that will eventually bear sauces such as french garlic or teriyaki, and cylinder savants behind the sushi bar assemble classic rolls with traditional ingredients, such as salmon and avocado. Specialty rolls enclose heftier fillings, including unagi and yellowtail deep-fried with panko. Like a disgruntled ray of sunlight, Japanese sake can be hot or cold, and Japan 77 also de-parches esophagi with martinis, wine, and beer.
Tokyo Japanese Steak House is a feast for the eyes, nose, and ears as well as the mouth. In addition to "laser lights in the lobby" and "sushi in martini glasses," as noted by Nashville Scene, hibachi chefs stand by your table and make theater out of food preparation, tossing around teriyaki meats and tofu dishes and making puppet shows with chopsticks.
There’s also a wide selection of sushi here. Try the signature Tennessee roll, which incorporates spicy tuna topped with fish, eel sauce, and tempura flakes. Also worth a try: the barbecue eel over sushi rice.