Sake Cafe’s chefs mix and match myriad ingredients into nearly 20 specialty rolls. Their culinary centerpieces range from the Red Dragon’s shrimp tempura and seared tuna to the Spicy Kita-Kita’s five different fish slices wrapped around jumbo scallops and scallions. Grilled eel and fresh mango unite on the mango-and-eel roll, and the house roll is a cylinder of chopped Hawaiian ahi tuna, wild salmon, and yellowtail splashed with tobiko caviar all over the outside so it arrives smelling like seafood.
A reception desk lined in shimmery green tiles welcomes diners to the earth-toned dining room of MJ China Bistro, where ambitious stalks of bamboo stretch upwards around the perimeter of the seating area. Reflecting the contemporary decor of the room, the kitchen crafts a menu of traditional Chinese-American cuisine with a modern spin. Diners can wrap spoonfuls of mu shu pork in pancakes made by hand. Tea and sugar coat the browning skin of duck as it slowly smokes, its five-spice marinade growing more complex in flavor. The Chin Yuan pork chop, a classic Taiwanese street food, soaks in a secret blend of spices before being fried until just crispy on the outside but still tender on the inside, just like the best customer-service operators.
The restaurant also houses a sushi bar, where chefs whip up the TNT Roll, a combination of crawfish, tuna, and salmon drizzled in a chipotle mayo spicier than that time Charo put wasabi and Sriracha sauce in her tea.
Twelve chefs clad in black uniforms and red hats stand at attention over tableside hibachis. All eyes on them, they start to play with their food: the culinary wizards wave lobster tails at guests, set onions aflame, and flip shrimp high in the air to land in their tall hats. “It is not just about the food, it’s about the show,” says Sumo Japanese Steakhouse owner Brad Meltzer. “The show brings you in and the food brings you back.”
Prior to landing on the hibachi grill, beef is butchered in-house and dressed in its Sunday best. Filet mignon shares grilling space with salmon, chicken, tuna, and scallops dipped in house-made ginger sauce. Meltzer and a small army of trained sushi chefs designed their menu of more than two dozen nigiri and sashimi rolls to please even the prickliest taste buds. Meltzer himself favors the 210 roll, a cyclone of scallops, shrimp, and crab slathered in sweet-and-spicy sauce and topped with crabstick, eel sauce, spicy mayo, and a snowfall of tempura flakes.
Chinese-American fusion stars on the menus served at Taipei Restaurants, located in both Stone Oak and Castle Hills. Both locations specialize in wok-seared moo shu pork served with housemade pancakes, salt-and-pepper shrimp, and triple delight—a tasty trifecta of chicken, beef, and shrimp in a spicy housemade sauce. Sizzling firecracker chicken sets tongues aflame with jalapenos at the Castle Hills dining room, and in Stone Oak, knives glide through tender osso bucco, a bone-in pork shank poached in a traditional sauce of rice wine and soy. At the Stone Oak location, sushi chefs carefully craft maki rolls or assemble plates of precisely sliced sashimi and nigiri from fresh seafood fished by the staff's resident mermaid. The Castle Hills location cultivates serenity with muted tan walls, rows of tall windows, and mounted Chinese paintings that depict subjects from a horse to a parade.
The savory selections of the Asian-inspired menu are elegant examples of dishes from a variety of Asian nations and are made fresh in Rice's kitchen when each order arrives via the friendly waiter or elaborate pulley system. Awaken spice-deprived taste buds with a fiery order of pickled-cabbage kimchi ($4.99) or jalapeño pork ribs ($5.99) before loading up on pod protein with a bowl of salted edamame ($3.99). Rice’s mutable herbivore-to-carnivore entrees come with your choice of vegetables, tofu, chicken, beef, shrimp, scallops, or a chicken, beef, and shrimp combo ($7.99–$11.99) and include familiar classics such as spicy Kung Pao, General Tao, and green or red coconut curry. Noodle dishes ($7.50–$11.50) such as pad Thai and Cantonese lo mein are sure to satisfy fork-spinning urges.