Seaweed is as decorative as it is delicious at Blue Bamboo Sushi. Blue and green artworks covering the walls represent the flowing saltwater plant, thematically tying the decor to the wide selection sashimi and signature sushi rolls. At the sushi bar, chefs make good on the visual promise, rolling up classic sushi delights, such as the California roll, or getting creative with unorthodox cuts such as the Surf 'n' Turf—a roll filled with tempura-fried lobster, seared steak, and lemon-butter mayo.
The rest of the menu takes off from Japan, and is all over the map in the best way possible. The crab rangoon nods to American-inflected Chinese food, and the Pho—a long-simmered beef broth served with plates of sprouts, full basil leaves, lime, and jalapeño—takes taste buds on a quick trip to Vietnam. The culinary whims of the menu even skip over to Indonesia for the classic chicken satay served with thai peanut sauce. The point of origin for some of the dishes, however, is as local as the chef's imagination. The spicy tuna stuffed mushrooms, for example, come filled with pineapple-chili marinated tuna and soy for dipping, blending a slew of culinary traditions.
At Sake House’s sprawling sushi bars, skilled chefs slice sashimi and wrap up rolls with fish such as fresh salmon and yellowtail. Though the eatery is known for its seafood, the kitchen also whips up pan-fried dumplings, bowls of udon soup, and chicken glistening with sweet teriyaki sauce. To aid decision-making, star icons call out popular items on the menu, pepper icons signify spicy dishes, and chef-hat icons designate the dishes that were pulled from the top chef’s hat.
At Ocean Blue's Sushi Bar, sushi chefs assiduously assemble 50 raw and cooked maki options. Though focused on crafting seafood-filled rolls like the salmon skin—a medley of tempura salmon skin, chive, and cucumber with spicy aioli—chefs accommodate different tastes and dietary restrictions, too. For meat lovers there's the steak-and-cheese maki, which features a blend of teriyaki steak, cream cheese, and fried onions, while vegans can enjoy the aptly named vegan roll, a crunchy medley of asparagus and cucumber with creamy avocado.
Ocean Blue's menu also encompasses other Japanese favorites, from teriyaki scallops to pork dumplings paired with ginger shoyu sauce. Around 10 p.m., the fine dining atmosphere gives way to a club-like vibe, where the eclectic festivities last nightly until at least 2 a.m. Often presided over by live DJs, the bar's special events include Latin nights and 90s-themed dance parties, where patrons don outfits made entirely from K'Nex.
Sushi Tsu's talented hibachi chefs create savory masterpieces in a jaw-dropping tornado of blades on the restaurant's grill tables, while skilled sushi rollers craft novel seafood bites. The hibachi menu bursts with Eastern appetizers, including gyoza fried dumplings ($6) and tempura-battered strips of alligator tail ($8). Showboating chefs, each of whom have apprenticed for at least two years under the owner's masterful eye, forge beef teriyaki ($17) and succulent Teppanyaki scallops ($20.50), exciting adrenaline and salivary glands like a ruptured nacho-cheese pipeline. Sushi Tsu’s avant-garde rice rollers eschew humdrum rolls in favor of the eclectic mexican roll ($6) and the lightning roll, an electrifying amalgam of baked salmon skin, wasabi, and fresh veggies ($7). Diners can also grease their fast-working mouthparts with a bubbly selection of Japanese beers ($4+).
Dale Del Bello remembers everything about his first hibachi experience. While stationed in Korea as a part of the Air Force National Guard, Dale and a group of friends visited Tokyo on leave. They followed a traditional route among his fellow service people, which took him to a hibachi restaurant. Immediately he sensed that he’d stumbled upon more than just dinner. The chefs’ showmanship fascinated him as they seared meats and vegetables on their tabletop grills, allowing guests to sample forkfuls directly off the 600-degree surface. After returning to Buffalo, New York, in 1971, Dale opened his first Arigato location, attempting to recreate what made that dining experience so remarkable. Since then, he has distilled the authentic experience into something that families can enjoy without traveling abroad, establishing Arigato restaurants throughout New York and Florida and staffing them with more than 60 chefs from Japan.
Surrounded by 8–10 diners, these chefs act not only as the restaurant’s culinary creators, but also as showmen and magicians of sorts, dexterously slicing ingredients, flipping shrimp tails into their hats, and conjuring soy sauce out of thin air. Away from the flaming tabletops, meanwhile, bartenders make use of their own skill sets as they mix specialty cocktails, which occasionally use splashes of plum wine or sake to imbue familiar-sounding drinks with new dimension.
Shogun Sushi's Manhattan-trained chef rolls a bounty of eye-catching sushi rolls alongside the menu's eclectic selection of classic Japanese entrees. Appetizers include beef negimaki ($6.25), thin slices of teriyaki-broiled beef that wrap themselves around zesty scallions to disguise themselves as sushi rolls in an attempt to fool steak-knife search parties. Fried asparagus, bacon, and tuna entwine within the Longly Angel roll ($13.95), crowned with three kinds of fresh fish and a rainbow of colorful tobiko, and the Russian Roulette roll ($11.95) protects its tender interior of spicy tuna, masago, and cucumber with a vivid shield of tuna and spicy mayo. The kitchen also whips up a range of grilled and golden-fried delights, including teriyaki, tempura, and curry dishes ($10.95–$18.95), which complement uncooked edibles like a midnight french-fry soirée in the grocery store produce aisle.