Master chef Kaz Sasaki has spent more than 15 years behind a sushi bar. But his roots in the craft extend much deeper than that. Chef Sasaki learned his skills from his father, Master Yuzo Sasaki, a man who was required to spend the first three years of his sushi apprenticeship perfecting his rice-making techniques before he was allowed to even touch a piece of fish. Chef Kaz also learned that great sushi not only looks good, but also has the right consistency—it's not too hard to chew or too soft and falling apart like a magician performing without his smoke bombs.
At Taki Sushi, chef Kaz composes a menu that includes sashimi, nigiri, and nearly 20 different special rolls. He also crafts other Japanese favorites, including shabu-shabu hot pots, sukiyaki, and udon.
Sushi Mambo's exterior, with its wooden panels and Japanese-style sloping eaves, evokes the rustic charm of an Edo-era highway inn or the comfortable elegance of a samurai's man cave. Guests dine on artfully arranged maki lined with yellowtail, salmon, and eel or savor the tastes of miso ramen soup or bowls of chicken udon. Specialty rolls combine the complimentary flavors and textures of crunchy tempura chicken, creamy avocado, and spicy sauces, and sashimi plates arrange delicate slices of salmon or tender tuna onto colorful plates of greens, lemons, and carved carrot flowers. The restaurant was also featured on the TV series "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
Nama Sushi is named for its wide-ranging list of handmade sushi, but the restaurant's chefs also craft steamy dinnertime feasts featuring nutritious buckwheat noodles, crispy tempura vegetables, and teriyaki specialties. The team whips up seafood-filled udon soups, grills barbecue short ribs, deep-fries pork cutlets, and tosses chicken in spicy sauce. For diversified meals, they pile Japanese goodies onto combination dinners served with mixed tempura, miso salad, and rice.
A 20-year career prepared Chef Tomo Owada for the opening of Tomo’s Japanese Cuisine, one that taught him to prepare every meal “thoughtfully and artfully.” He gained this attention to detail by first training as an assistant sushi chef for four years in Japan, as well as learning how to manage a kitchen. In 1999, he emigrated to California and has worked in other kitchens ever since.
Chef Tomo’s cuisine reflects both his traditional training in Japan and the sustainable values he found in California, where he learned that food also needs to be “prepared consciously.” Following this philosophy, Chef Tomo incorporates organic ingredients from farmers markets and locally sourced fish into a seasonal menu that includes sushi rolls, chicken teriyaki, and vegan ohitashi—Napa cabbage rolls stuffed with spinach. To prepare these small dishes and sushi, the kitchen makes everything from scratch without the use of a microwave, freezer, or hot laptop battery.
Teppanyaki chefs twirl their knives and ignite towers of flame while cooking meals tableside inside Hana Japan Steak & Seafood. They slice new york steaks, chicken, and salmon and toss scallops onto the grill alongside chopped veggies and mounds of rice, all without ruffling their tomato-red toques. Each hibachi dinner comes with a shrimp appetizer, a bowl of soup, and a salad with organic Hana dressing imported from the organic part of Japan.
The atmosphere at Edoko contrasts sharply with what you might expect from a buffet. The walls are lined with natural wood accents and overhead, paper lanterns hang from thin wooden beams that slant at angles. The family-owned restaurant serves sushi buffet and traditional sashimi and Japanese cuisine, using natural ingredients including organic greens and fresh seafood from local shrimp forests.