The food at Wild Ginger Japanese Restaurant bursts with color. Sushi chefs slice and stack multihued ingredients in more than two dozen specialty rolls, such as the Green Lawn roll covered in bright-green tobiko. Golden sauces cover Thai-influenced curries. And sizzling woks turn shrimp bright pink, much like arguments about whether or not they're basically the same thing as prawns. These and other dishes pop against the dining room's restrained decor, which includes charcoal-hued floors and dark wood accents.
Blue Ginger’s chefs have no shortage of sources when they need inspiration for their next dish. Rather than limit their scope to a single region or country, they scan recipe books from across Asia and pick out their favorites as starting points. Some of the recipes they dig up date back centuries, but they’re more interested in looking toward the future than dwelling on the past.
It’s certainly a bright future they envision—one in which the best elements of various Asian cuisines have joined forces in the same dishes. There are even some influences from outside Asia that make it into the mix, as the duck fajitas and pan-roasted chilean sea bass will attest. This inclusive spirit isn’t just limited to the food. An extensive drink menu features imported beers, martinis blended with sake, and cocktails stirred with miniature world flags.
An article on ThisWeek details the journey Benson Yu took from spending a dozen years working in sushi restaurants to striking out on his own. For Ronin Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar, Yu personally engineered more than 40 specialty maki rolls, including the Lollipop roll: yellowtail, salmon, crab, and avocado, wrapped in thin cucumber. As the owner and head chef, he curates the massive menu of both sushi and Asian-fusion cuisine, featuring classics such as general-tso's chicken, and original compositions, such as tropical fried rice tossed with spicy curry. The article on ThisWeek details how Ronin—which means "maverick samurai" in Japanese—features a dining room spanning 1,800 square feet, where diners sip on hot and cold sake and imported beer while practicing chop-stick skills or using forks like they’re chopsticks.
Sushi.Com's adept chefs craft a menu of traditional raw and cooked Japanese fare, replete with fresh ingredients. Seafood mavens artfully decorate square and oval ceramic plates with maki rolls such as crunchy tuna, spicy salmon, and shrimp tempura ($4+). A la carte sushi or sashimi plates carry duos of smoked salmon, tofu, or barbecued eel ($3.75+) to tables, where they perform flavorful duets for taste buds. Meanwhile, sips of wine or sake accompany bowls of udon or soba noodles ($10.95), or a steaming dish of beef teriyaki ($15.95), highlighting flavors, washing down bites, and inspiring conversations about renaming a first born child "Pinot Grigio".
Dishes as vibrant and diverse as the UN’s annual Mardi Gras celebration deck the tabletops at Kogen’s, the seventh Asian-influenced eatery borne from the Mark Pi restaurant group. Drawing inspiration from Japanese street food, Chinese dry-food markets, and upscale American cuisine, the chefs craft an artful and varied menu that embodies both traditional favorites and experimental creations. Here, helpings of pad thai and hunan chicken share real estate with kung pao lo mein and sashimi platters. The signature sushi rolls dabble in a range of flavors, for example, the Margarita roll combines spicy tuna with avocado, lime, and wasabi mayo, and the Fire Dragon roll sets tongues ablaze with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, spicy mayo, and sriracha sauce.
The chefs at Blue Elephant Restaurant craft Thai curries, Japanese sushi, and Italian pasta dishes, tying them all together with the common thread of fresh ingredients and careful preparation. They specially order ingredients that are not available locally to ensure that each dish contains the freshest possible items. Basil leaves flavor the Thai-style basil chicken, and cashews add salt and crunch to mango chicken. Within sushi rolls, thinly sliced fish such as tuna and salmon complement the silky texture of cream cheese and avocado.
Prior to establishing the restaurant, the owners committed themselves to observing environmentally responsible building practices. As a result, the entire building is constructed from sustainable and recyclable materials. Energy-efficient light bulbs illuminate the dining room, and a geo-thermal heating and cooling system regulates the temperature. On stormy days, an onsite pond directs raindrops into the soil, preventing them from falling into a gutter or discarded chip bag.