As they walk through Fusion Steakhouse?s two crimson doors, diners immediately enter a family-friendly scene: a black-granite bar gleams with the violet glow of the uplighting bordering the ceiling, and low leather seats line a wall intermittently set with stone tiles. In this dimly-lit dining room, tight rolls of sushi and sizzling hibachi dishes dominate a menu of Japanese standards, but dinners respect no borders. Diners can also choose from entrees inspired by the cuisine of other Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as cocktails inspired from around the world.
Most chefs get stage fright when customers are watching, but the fearless artisans at Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar concoct intricate Japanese dishes in plain view—either at tableside grills or just behind the sushi bar proper. Their collection of specialty maki exudes creativity and playfulness, from the deep-fried Godzilla roll with tuna, salmon, white fish, and crab meat to the Rainbow roll with fresh fish, avocado, and two wishes. Complete hibachi dinners satisfy hearty appetites and short attention spans with a choice of protein alongside soup, salad, vegetable, rice, and noodles—all prepared amusingly right at the table. Each location sports sleek and modern décor with accents such as bamboo walls or a back-lit bar glowing in chic blue or red tones.
Yama’s owner, Mr. Yeung, opened the restaurant in October 2009 intending to fill a void in the local cuisine scene by offering fresh and authentic Japanese recipes. A glance at the sushi menu confirms the presence of stalwart favorites such as salmon sashimi ($4.50 for two pieces) and California rolls (crabmeat, cucumber, and avocado, $4.50), as well as a wide selection of specialty rolls, including the Greenwich roll (white tuna, avocado, yellowtail and jalapeño, $12) and the snow roll (shrimp tempura and cucumber capped by blue crab and served with lemon sauce, $14). The staff at Yama can help first-time sushi-goers by counseling them on dish choices, the proper way to hold chopsticks, and the pros and cons of providing room and board to circus performers. Along with fresh ingredients and expert preparation, the sushi is enhanced by elaborate, artistic platings.
Saga Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar's chefs appease appetites with freshly rolled maki as well as classical Japanese entrees that come to life on tableside hibachi grills. After scouring the oceans in a conjoined diving suit, chefs utilize their fresh seafood to transform sticky rice into such visions as the rainbow roll, filled with spicy crabmeat and crowned with a spectrum of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and tobiko. Sushi disappears from plates inside the dimly lit dining room, where exposed-stone sections of wall flank bamboo plants brightened with little spotlights.
Patrons seeking dinner and a show can order something off of the hibachi menu, then gather around black-granite-topped counters inside a room with rich wooden accents. Before each hungry audience, chefs sear salmon, chicken and scallops, or lobster and filet mignon before accessorizing meals with two pieces of shrimp, soup, salad, vegetables, rice, and noodles.
Tamari takes its name from the Argentinean Huarpe people’s word meaning “to do everything with passion,” and the staff heeds it as a call to action. Executive Chef Roger Li expresses this joie de vivre through a bold menu of Latin, Asian, and European cuisine, uniting cultures through food like a model of the 1933 World's Fair made from fondant. Lobster-tempura maki tempts mouths alongside shrimp tacos garnished with yuzu-margarita foam and scottish salmon paired with chimichurri and ginger polenta. While dining, guests take part in a rich, interactive experience, sipping exotic açai mimosas and watching chefs prepare shareable tapas or custom-made menus in an open-pit kitchen. Altogether, the combination of unexpected flavor from the kitchen and unhindered elegance from the dining room has earned Tamari a great deal of respect. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for instance, named it on its Best Dining: Top Dishes list, and CBS Pittsburgh ranked it at the top of its list of Best Outdoor Dining options.
Katana’s chefs draw inspiration from Thai, Chinese, and Japanese culinary traditions, creating faithful renditions of iconic dishes from each culture. Teppanyaki chefs thrill diners by searing cuts of lobster or filet mignon amid the towering flames of hibachi grills that adorn the tabletops of select seating areas. In contrast, sushi chefs studiously avoid open flames as they roll more than 15 kinds of specialty maki, which can include smoked salmon, mango, or piquant chili sauce within a cylinder of individually peeled grains of rice. The rest of the menu spotlights the seemingly disparate flavors of Thailand and China, listing aromatic curries along with meat-laden orders of lo mein or fried rice.