Voted Sacramento Magazine's best shabu-shabu restaurant in 2010, Shabu Japanese Fondue is named after its signature menu item, shabu-shabu—a dish that is cooked and eaten at the table. After submerging delicate slices of meat, seafood, or vegetables into a bubbling pot of savory, housemade broth, diners stir up the contents in order to cook the ingredients. This stirring action results in a "swish, swish," or "shabu-shabu," sound.
Guests can enjoy this style of dining while perched on white bar stools at a community table or at individual tables. Each table has a metal hole in the middle where the hot shabu-shabu pots sit or whack-a-moles hide, waiting to surprise guests.
Situated in the heart of downtown, Kamon Japanese Restaurant's upbeat environment plays host to a cavalcade of fresh-rolled specialty maki and traditional Japanese entrees. Visitors can sidle up to the sushi bar to watch chefs assemble Yakuza rolls, which are stocked with yellowtail, spicy tuna, and avocado before being crowned with barbecue eel. Hot dinners highlight chicken katsu, salmon teriyaki, and pan-fried yakisoba noodles tossed with the customer’s choice of meat.
Hokkaido Noodle House takes both its name and its nuanced cuisine from Japan’s northernmost island. The menu evokes the island’s mix of ice-cold waters and lush, green lands with fresh seafood and farm meats glazed with sauces or folded into soups, curries, or origami cranes. Chef and owner Wei Zhang's areas of food-constructing expertise also includes ramen noodles, bento boxes, and donburi.
Suki Sushi’s creative chefs pack the extensive menu with traditional cooked entrees and raw-fish specialty rolls. Spicy tuna and scorching jalapeño peppers explode out of the Volcano roll’s molten core, coating taste buds in flavorful lava floes ($10.50). Alternately, place a bet on a tuna-stuffed Black Jack roll ($8.95) or chomp down on a bento box served with gyoza, salad, miso soup, rice, and a plethora of chicken, grilled fish, and sushi options ($12.95 to $14.95). Afterward, lounge in your high-backed chair, sipping a glass of crystal-clear house sake ($3.50–$6.50) and wielding sharpened chopsticks to defend your dishes from salmon-coveting grizzly bears.
Led by veteran executive chef Tony Sato, Miyagi Bar & Sushi's team of skilled rollers have crafted a menu of imaginative and refreshing sushi bursting with flavor. Appease paint-by-number cravings with the rainbow roll, in which snow crab and avocado glow alongside a color wheel of tuna, fresh salmon, yellowtail, and snapper ($13.50). Or recite award-winning public service announcements about chopstick safety as you sip on a draft Kirin Ichiban or a specialty cocktail.
Ninja Sushi’s lively, party-like atmosphere and extensive menu of creative Japanese cuisine make it an easy crowd favorite, earning spots on KCRA 3's A-List for three years running and a 2012 Patch Readers' Choice award. At a marble-topped sushi bar decorated with pink and white orchids, chefs prepare dishes ranging from the Crunch Dragon specialty roll—with deep-fried shrimp, spicy tuna, and crunchy tempura topping—to an approximately 2-foot-long Ninja Boat that can easily double as a Barbie yacht. Between occasional live DJs and nightly specials that include $0.99 sake bombs, the space transforms every day’s dinner hour into a festive occasion.