Head chef and owner Arnold Myint applies his culinary aptitude at Suzy Wong's House of Yum by crafting flavorful Asian appetizers and bowls designed for sharing. As groups swap bites of pineapple red curry shrimp or wonton nachos in a 1,100-square-foot dining room, a stretched canvas emblazoned with a colorful dragon hovers overhead, much like a knight-in-training's to-slay list. Exposed brick walls provide a backdrop for plush candlelit benches and tables, which can be crowded with wine, sake, and specialty cocktails as diners participate in weekly karaoke nights. Two patios provide even more space for cavorting, the lower tier stretches across 300 square feet, and the upper level commands 840 square feet of floor space.
A huge statue of Buddha watches over the dining room at Surin of Thailand, although his peaceful gaze is subverted by complex curries, spicy stir-fried noodle dishes, and flavorful barbecue-chicken entrees a day in the making. Half chickens are marinated in Thai barbecue sauce overnight before being slowly roasted and grilled, then they’re plated with scoops of shrimp fried rice and reminders to chew each bite thoroughly, not matter who’s threatening to steal the flavorful dark meat.
Surin measures its dishes' spiciness on a three-pepper scale, where one is "spicy" and three is "Thai hot." Though most dishes fall between nonspicy and hot, a few earn their trio of peppers, including a medley of mussels, scallops, and shrimp with spicy basil sauce.
Another Buddha—actually, just a head—guards the sushi bar, where nigiri, sashimi, and creative maki rolls are born. Under the two Buddhas' protection, diners settle into leather seats or tuck into booths backed by ferns and foliage. Outside the stone-walled eatery, a patio seasons dishes with sunlight and refreshing breezes.
Chef Yasushi Watanabe has sated sushi-seeking Chattanoogans since 1991 with a menu of authentic Japanese cuisine. Fresh fish is flown in daily from both coasts, serving as tasty dish adornments, offering fins of peace amongst rebel schools, and comparing regional submarine patois. Midday munchies are quenched with selections from the lunch menu, which include a lunch-box special consisting of fried dumplings, chicken teriyaki, rice, and a california or hot-crunchy roll ($8.95).
Sleek light fixtures dangle from Kohana Japanese Restaurant's ceiling and subtly illuminate a tidily minimal fleet of indigo and white chairs, booths abutting wavy-lined wall paneling, and plates featuring eats carefully crafted and presented by the chefs. Sharply dressed in the only two colors that can be worn together, black and white, servers march out with precisely sliced sections of signature dishes such as the Phoenix specialty roll, which combines spicy tuna, snow crab, and avocado with a multifaceted dressing. Non-sushi selections, such as crunchy shrimp tempura and baked salmon with eel sauce, also pair well with Kohana's selection of wine, beer, and sake.
Thanks to its full menu of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai fare, Fulin's Asian Cuisine was named Best Nashville Chinese Food in Best of Citysearch, and the fine-dining establishment was voted Best Chinese by readers of the Tennessean Toast of Music City Awards for 5 straight years. Sushi chefs craft rolls such as the Honada, a deep-fried spicy-tuna roll with the chef's special sauce, and the Rock City roll with shrimp tempura and avocado. Thai dishes are also available, like the curry seafood thai-style casserole with shrimp, scallops, and crab. Glasses of wine, sake, and signature cocktails from the full bar accompany dishes.