Drawing on 25 years working in prominent Thai restaurants, owners Oddy and sister, Kanchana, have lined Thai Cafe's menu with recipes from their home digs of Bangpoo––a village southeast of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. Striving always to balance the four basic Thai tastes of salty, sweet, sour/bitter, and hot, the duo also instills a precise flavor profile through meticulous knife work. Finely cutting ingredients into smaller pieces ensures seasoning coverage, stir-fry crispness, and an ego boost for the self-conscious baby corns.
Butter-hued walls prepare senses for yellow-, red-, and green-curry dishes insulated with tender morsels of chicken and beef. Skilled sushi artists slice sashimi and form hand rolls from yellowtail and tempura shrimp, and chef specialties dispatch from the kitchen with Thai barbecue, crispy catfish, and roasted duck––many of which have been left to marinate or cook overnight. Thai Cafe also conveniently represents each dish's spice level by placing two red peppers beside hot dishes, three beside Thai hot dishes, and an invisible pepper beside secret-recipe dishes for the eatery's magician clientele.
Kyoto Japanese Restaurant’s chefs prepare a sprawling menu of authentic Japanese cuisine that includes sushi and steak. Their hibachi dinners whirl together chicken, steak, shrimp, and salmon, along with garden salads, noodles, or fried rice. They also leverage their kitchen skills to make creative selections such as the sunshine roll, a blend of spicy salmon, avocado, white tuna, and tobiko, which must be eaten while wearing tanning goggles. In addition to lunch, dinner, and take-out options, the restaurant also boasts an all-you-can-eat menu that offers a selection of the kitchen's teriyaki, noodles, and sushi rolls.
The multitalented chefs at Café Asia Raleigh draw culinary influences from all over Asia as they devise a menu of cooked entrees and artfully rolled sushi. While sitting in black leather booths or at cherry-wood tables, diners catch whiffs of alluring aromas coming from the kitchen, where culinary wizards conjure up shrimp tempura appetizers, miso soups, and noodle and rice dishes, including lobster pad thai and chicken teriyaki served with steamed vegetables. Flavors from the ocean star in the restaurant’s sushi selection, which includes rainbow rolls with five types of fish and spider rolls with soft-shell crab, avocado, cucumber, and scallions.
Blues and reds fill the dining-room walls at Tokyo House Japanese Restaurant, which features a menu of Japanese favorites, including nigiri and maki sushi, many types of noodle dishes, and hibachi entrees. Diners can watch the chefs at work at a sushi bar as they craft special rolls such as the Scary Jerry with mild or spicy yellowtail, tuna, and salmon on top of a crunchy roll with scallop.
Hibachi Sushi's menu teams up traditional Thai dishes, hibachi fare, and sushi hand-rolled to order in a comfortable, casual setting. Guests can kick-start meals with a vegetable spring roll ($1–$1.09) or an order of eight cheese crab wontons ($3.99–$4.99) before continuing culinary journeys with a large hibachi steak and shrimp plate, served with fried rice and sautéed veggies ($8.49–$9.99). A large order of classic chicken pad thai takes taste buds to Thailand ($8.99), and octopus nigiri ($1.99) or dragon rolls stuffed with eel, crab, and cucumber ($8.29) paired with Japanese green ocha tea launch diners on bite-sized ocean odysseys. Today's Groupon is not good for alcohol, and vice versa, as evidenced by the time it woke up in a strange bathtub folded into inappropriate shapes.
Once guests walk through Hayashi-Ya’s Japanese--style front gate, they become part of the Hayashi family—and that means feeling at home. To ensure this, the founder decorates his restaurant to recall a small Japanese village festooned with pink flower vines, wooden handrails, and polished-wood wall panels. Exposed brick offsets paper lanterns, which are stenciled with black Japanese script and glow as if flooded by honey. To enhance these decorative flourishes and the staff’s warm greetings of “I-ra-sai-ma-se!” (“welcome”), the eatery whips up a diverse menu of fresh-cut sashimi, sushi, and traditional Japanese dishes. Servers lead guests down red carpets to low-slung cushioned seats, where authentic floor dining pairs with raw and cooked fish—all flown in daily and prepared by master sushi chefs from Japan, Korea, and Atlantis. As the meal progresses, black lacquered tables populate with udon noodles dishes, teriyaki, and hibachi fare as speakers pulse with traditional Japanese music. To complement the menu, Hayashi-Ya also stocks a full bar with beers and wines, Japanese sake, and martinis.