A bandana-clad chef draws his gleaming cleavers with practiced speed and agility, spinning them through the flames at his hibachi station as he prepares filet mignon and swordfish. Between jokes, tricks, and attempts to lasso stray vegetables, the cowboy chefs at Sakura Garden Japanese Steak House prepare savory meals right before the eyes of patrons sipping specialty cocktails from a full bar. Away from the heat, chefs fill a glass-cased sushi bar with sashimi and specialty fusion rolls packed with both traditional and inventive ingredients, such as coconut flakes, lightly fried lobster, and crumpled patents. Sleek stone walls, white tablecloths, and red pendant lamps create a modern backdrop, and an indoor rock fountain guarded by a cherry-blossom tree adds a touch of the traditional.:m]]
The chefs at O'Hana Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar expertly roll dozens of sushi specialties and sizzle meat-centric Japanese entrees atop a hibachi grill. Snag a seat at the bar to watch chefs chop, slice, and wrap the popular Snow Crab Heaven roll, a blend of cream cheese, snow crab, and avocado topped with spicy mayo ($11.95), and other specialty rolls on the menu. Bite into the Hottie Susan’s molten core of spicy tuna, cucumber, and salmon ($12.95), or let daring chopsticks challenge the Dragon ($9.95), a California roll packed with eel and a deep-seated grudge against questing knights. Alternately, chefs can flip fiery portions of steak, chicken, shrimp, or scallops on a traditional Japanese grill to yield four types of hibachi dinners ($12.99–$17.99 each) flanked by onion soup, a house salad, grilled vegetables, and rice. Kid-friendly options, including pint-sized portions of teriyaki chicken ($8.99) and steak ($9.99), keep young mouths busy so they don’t shout out parents’ computer passwords in the middle of dinner.
The ancient art of dining meets modern ingredients and design at Feng Asian Bistro, where delicate geometric forms adorn both the walls and rice-covered plates. Cozy up in a stone-spangled alcove and dip into Feng’s lunch and dinner offerings to find yellow-tail jalapeño starters ($12), eel-cucumber sushi rolls ($6), and entrees such as miso-glazed Chilean sea bass ($16 lunch, $27 dinner). Enterprising eaters can tackle their fare in the main dining room, the lounge, or the sushi bar.
With practiced flips and slices, a Yume hibachi chef sears scallops and filet mignon on sizzling Hibachi grill with equal parts showmanship and culinary prowess. A billow of flames funnels steam into an overhead ventilation chamber whose polished metal reflects carved wooden ceiling borders, a labyrinth of glowing lights, and hungry pizza-delivery boys peeking in the windows. When the kitchen doors fly open, a friendly server erupts into the dining room, his arms lined with made-to-order udon noodles, tender teriyaki chicken, and shrimp and veggies in light tempura breading. These entrees join artfully wrapped sushi and sashimi on tables, the grain of whose wood is so prominent it could be carved from tiger's eye stone.
The New York Times praised Tengda's Milford location—one of eight in a small regional chain—as "perfect for young-at-heart couples and groups," with a high-energy atmosphere bubbling around cuisine it called "very good." The chefs draw gustatory inspiration from China, Japan, and Thailand as they create their expansive menus of Pan-Asian fare, which include fiery stir-fries, grilled meats, and sushi and provide reading material for shy diners throughout a full meal. Moody red and yellow lights dapple sleek black tables and booths, and might occasionally catch knife-flipping and drink-slinging theatrics behind the sushi and cocktail bars.
Ginza's menu fuses classic Japanese dishes with contemporary adaptations, earning its Bloomfield location second place for Best Japanese Restaurant in the 2011 Hartford Advocate Readers' Poll. A sushi dinner arrives tableside with an assortment of nine sushi pieces around either a tuna roll or a california roll ($20), and the french dragon lights up the night with smoked eel and avocado atop nori-wrapped shrimp tempura ($15). At the Ginza's Bloomfield location, chefs man hibachi stations to cook up grilled chicken ($17), steak and scallops ($22), and lobster tail ($29) fresh, and made-to-order. Other fusion-inspired eats include sake-marinated short ribs accompanied by Holland leeks, wild mushrooms, baby carrots, and red-wine demi glaze ($18), and the miso-broiled Atlantic salmon with baby bok choy and Peruvian corn bathing in miso as well as a sweet and spicy yet vulnerable sauce ($20).