Outside, flames blaze within a set of stone cauldrons atop towering tripods. The vessels, known as dings, have been symbols of power in China since ancient times, when dynasties ruled the empire—making them a fitting façade for the Emperor’s Palace. Within the restaurant’s high ceilings, a dining room takes inspiration from the Suzhou Botanical Gardens, with tables sitting among waterfalls, ponds connected by bridges, and an open, four-sided Chinese-style pagoda with red and gold accents and pointed eaves.
Amid the traditional Chinese décor, aromas of sizzling meats and piquant sauces waft from an open kitchen, where chefs perform as they sear, broil, and stir-fry more than 200 dishes in full view of patrons. They craft traditional and American-Chinese dishes such as roasted peking duck and walnut shrimp, American-style charbroiled steak, sushi, and Korean-style kimchi. Contributing to the restaurant's international focus, seafood dishes incorporate such ingredients as New Zealand blue mussels and Alaskan crab legs complete with miniature snowshoes.
A set of crimson, torii-style gates welcomes visitors to Kitaro Bistro of Japan, where tropical cocktails, inventive maki, and sizzling steak and seafood plates burst at the seams with umami flavor. Kitaro is a mix of traditional and modern influences, eschewing the de facto hibachi-steakhouse aesthetic while keeping many of its famed dishes. Industrial floor-to-ceiling windows and sleek, black leather booths share space with flat grill tops, which heat up filet mignon and mahi mahi at lunch and dinner. Chefs also prepare innovative fusion dishes such as bourbon shrimp and blackened-tuna sandwiches alongside familiar Japanese seafood, from hand-rolled maki to delicate nigiri.
Banzai the Sushi Place serves up fresh, fast, and affordable sushi in a casual atmosphere. Bright orange walls and metal dinettes greet mouths and project just the right amount of light to view the extensive menu. Kick-start your taste buds with miso soup ($1.49) or sweet-and-spicy chicken wings ($4.99). All rolls are made-to-order, guaranteeing fresh flavors and a live show. California rolls ($6.99) satisfy coast to coast, and the deep-fried soft shell crab roll ($8.99) is made with real crabmeat. For even more variety, try out red snapper ($2.59) or tuna ($2.99) nigiri, or settle in with a teriyaki plate ($5.99–$7.99), served with steamed rice and edamame and your choice of chicken, beef, or seafood.
The chefs at Tomo Japanese Steakhouse cook filet mignon, shrimp, and lobster on their hibachis with teppanyaki vegetables and fried rice. Away from the heat, they build house sushi rolls with tuna and crab tempura and nigiri with red snapper and octopus.
Helmed by chef Paul Kulkanjanatorn, who boasts 10 years in the raw fish-fileting industry, Fin Japanese Cuisine serves up a vast menu of authentic Japanese fare in a sophisticated and romantic setting. Gird yourself for a long night of vampire hunting with a hearty dinner bento box such as the Shogun Set, a collection of gindara miso, shrimp tempura, and sashimi ($18.95), or opt for tonkatsu, a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet mingled with katsu sauce ($16.95). Midday munchers can luxuriate in a lunch bento set, served with gyoza, house salad, rice, miso soup, and a helping of chicken, salmon, or steak teriyaki ($9.95).
Drawing on his Thai heritage and more than 20 years of experience behind the grill, Executive Chef Manop Vasant showcases the flavors and traditions of Southeast Asia while sizzling up morsels of meat and veggies behind tableside hibachi grills. Chefs showboat as they slice, dice, and sizzle up patrons' meals and incriminating photographs across the hot iron griddles. Kitchen cooks whip up rice noodles and curry, and sushi chefs coil thin, sashimi-style slices of tuna, avocado, and cucumber in edible rice and seaweed cylinders.
The chefs at Lucky Sushi House reach beyond the borders of their eatery's name by serving a menu that not only features sushi, but also Japanese teriyaki dishes and Chinese staples such as orange chicken. Behind the sushi bar, chefs stack morsels of eel nigiri and roll combinations of crab, avocado, and tuna into cozy cocoons of rice. While admiring the decorative fans on the walls or peering into the restaurant's aquarium to check for messages in bottles, patrons can also crunch into squid-tempura rolls, split a plate of pot stickers, and swig Harbin Lager imported from China.