Just like at family gatherings, diners gather at long, rectangular tables and wait for their hosts to serve dinner. Unlike family gatherings, however, a flame suddenly bursts forth from the table’s built-in grill, where standing cooks sauté seafood, chicken, beef, and vegetables. Such is the scene at Chef Honda Restaurant, where a row of these hibachi tables fill a dining room accented with earth tones. In addition to traditional grilled entrees, the cooks prepare specials such as spicy-tuna carpaccio and seared maki rolls.
Dishes as vibrant and diverse as the UN’s annual Mardi Gras celebration deck the tabletops at Kogen’s, the seventh Asian-influenced eatery borne from the Mark Pi restaurant group. Drawing inspiration from Japanese street food, Chinese dry-food markets, and upscale American cuisine, the chefs craft an artful and varied menu that embodies both traditional favorites and experimental creations. Here, helpings of pad thai and hunan chicken share real estate with kung pao lo mein and sashimi platters. The signature sushi rolls dabble in a range of flavors, for example, the Margarita roll combines spicy tuna with avocado, lime, and wasabi mayo, and the Fire Dragon roll sets tongues ablaze with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, spicy mayo, and sriracha sauce.
Aromas of searing meats and vegetables waft from fiery hibachi grills inside Tanuki Japanese Steakhouse Sushi & Bar. Chefs dexterously slice pieces of calamari, chicken, and new york strip steak atop the grills' scorching surfaces, creating bite-sized servings for diners. Behind the sushi bar, other chefs devote themselves to rapidly assembling layered nigiri and carefully rolled maki. Besides traditional rolls, they also experiment by incorporating such flavorful ingredients as chicken tempura, sweet chili sauce, and jalapeños into their special rolls.
Blue Ginger’s chefs have no shortage of sources when they need inspiration for their next dish. Rather than limit their scope to a single region or country, they scan recipe books from across Asia and pick out their favorites as starting points. Some of the recipes they dig up date back centuries, but they’re more interested in looking toward the future than dwelling on the past.
It’s certainly a bright future they envision—one in which the best elements of various Asian cuisines have joined forces in the same dishes. There are even some influences from outside Asia that make it into the mix, as the duck fajitas and pan-roasted chilean sea bass will attest. This inclusive spirit isn’t just limited to the food. An extensive drink menu features imported beers, martinis blended with sake, and cocktails stirred with miniature world flags.
The old saying goes that if you can't stand the heat, you should stay out of the kitchen. That rule is a little harder to follow at Shi Chi Japanese Steakhouse since the chefs bring the kitchen right to you, cooking on special hibachi grills set into the tables. But here the heat isn't simply utilitarian, as the sizzling tables provide the night's entertainment as well. The flames lick pieces of filet mignon, shrimp, and lobster as chefs toss them into the air and onto patrons? plates. In addition to the grilled fare, each hibachi dinner includes soup, salad, rice, vegetables, green tea, and a choice of vanilla ice cream or pineapple sorbet. And, to keep the fun and conversation flowing, the restaurant also serves a variety of domestic and imported beers and sake served hot, cold, and or frozen on-a-stick.
An article on ThisWeek details the journey Benson Yu took from spending a dozen years working in sushi restaurants to striking out on his own. For Ronin Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar, Yu personally engineered more than 40 specialty maki rolls, including the Lollipop roll: yellowtail, salmon, crab, and avocado, wrapped in thin cucumber. As the owner and head chef, he curates the massive menu of both sushi and Asian-fusion cuisine, featuring classics such as general-tso's chicken, and original compositions, such as tropical fried rice tossed with spicy curry. The article on ThisWeek details how Ronin—which means "maverick samurai" in Japanese—features a dining room spanning 1,800 square feet, where diners sip on hot and cold sake and imported beer while practicing chop-stick skills or using forks like they’re chopsticks.