The Rack boasts impressive lunch, dinner, sushi, and cocktail menus at both the Hyde Park and Brandon eateries. House favorites include the Bomber ($12.95–$14.95), a specialty sushi roll of cooked and uncooked delights (snow crab, avocado, and asparagus topped with salmon, tuna, and eel sauce) served with tempura chips. Or blast through hunger with the Volcano roll’s cucumber, crab, cream cheese, avocado, eel sauce, and spicy mayo ($12.95–$13.95). Fusion appetizers, salads, sandwiches, single rolls, and chef special entrees round out The Rack's eclectic menus into a rolling billiard ball made of sticky rice.
Deciding to call a restaurant and bar “Cheap” seems like a bold move, but it might not mean what you think it means. The owners, who had gained insight into guests’ needs through their other spots—Hyde Park Café, Whiskey Park, and the Kennedy—wanted to name this new eatery something that would serve as a daily reminder of their mission: to always exceed customers’ expectations. And, aside from the prices, cheap is one thing they plan to never be called. Housed inside a brick building, Cheap blends fun, eclectic decor throughout, including low-hanging birdcage lamps over tabletops surrounded by hot-pink chairs. Likewise, the menus—four of them, specifically, along with drink and dessert lists—create unexpected culinary fusions by combining a range of international flavors. The signature Cheap menu mingles classic sushi rolls with tuna tacos and fresh ceviche, a tapas-inspired menu fuses empanadas and meat skewers with hearty rib-eye steaks, and menus of sliders and pizzas bring the flavor smorgasbord home again.
Dive into Origami Sushi's picture-filled menu to discover traditional fare with a creative twist. Starters such as the seared tuna tataki or the baked green mussels offer a pleasing beginning to any meal ($6.95 each). Try the tempura gladiator roll with eel, shrimp, asparagus, and avocado for a little crunch ($11.95), or combine shrimp, pineapple, cream cheese, avocado, and a thigh-slimming grass skirt in the Hawaiian ($6.95). Sashimi fans can swim upstream for the salmon roe and white tuna, or snag the sashimi dinner which features 10 pieces of sashimi and a California roll ($16.95). For patrons preferring unraw eats, Origami Sushi also serves up a variety of teriyaki selections and seafood rice bowls. Accompany the feast with a chilly Asahi or Kirin Ichiban beer ($5.95 each), or warm up with an Oi Ocha hot green tea ($2.95) or tabletop chopstick fire.
Both Oishi Japanese Restaurant's locations showcase Asian-inspired décor, from the ceiling covered in bamboo accents to the marble-topped sushi bar framed by a glass case of seafood. Chefs entertain lunch and dinner diners with "fire shows" at hibachi grills where they sear vegetables, seafood, meat, and wrinkled shirts. Diners also cozy up to unfinished wood tables and booths as servers deliver spreads of Japanese steakhouse cuisine, fresh sushi rolls, and desserts.
As diners enter Joto Thai-Sushi, their attention is drawn to the newly redecorated, amber-toned dining room. In the kitchen, chefs cut, roll, and transform fresh fish into more than 50 kinds of sashimi and maki, such as the spider roll—packed with deep-fried soft-shell crab—and the fried-fish Tampa roll, appeal to sushi-eaters not ready to go raw, while more traditional options, such as fresh salmon or sweet-shrimp sashimi, slake cravings for fish in its purest form. Groups can order an assortment of rolls and sashimi, typically served on a large wooden boat for the table to share, or settle into a table and enjoy fresh-grilled salmon teriyaki, shrimp tempura, or udon soup. In addition to the sushi and Japanese offerings, diners can also enjoy expertly prepared Thai classics such as Pad Thai and a variety of Thai curries. For dessert, the chefs perform the seemingly impossible and deep-fry ice cream.
Wesley Chiu has a passion for preserving history. It's evident in the design of his restaurant, where the walls are covered in vintage photographs of his parents and family. He'll even share the stories behind them if you ask nicely, and if he isn't too busy slicing fish behind the counter as sushi chef.
Wesley's interest in preservation also comes through in his food. The menu features fish that have all been responsibly harvested, often from local waters. A commitment to sustainability also unites the restaurant's signature rolls, which range from the Red Forest—a vegetarian wrap of roasted red peppers, kimchi, and spinach—to the Salt Cove, a mix of spicy tuna, smoked salmon, avocado, cream cheese, and jalapeno.
The rolls are named after natural wonders that their appearance and taste evoke. Mango salsa and Thai chili sauce lend color to the Gold Leaf, for example, while red onion and crispy tempura chicken join salmon and spicy mayo inside the Purple Cloud.