Chefs at Aodake Sushi & Steak House dispatch sushi and hibachi-seared steaks beneath hanging lamps and glowing globes. Meat, vegetables, and seafood make for multicourse lunches, and a variety of kitchen entrees bolster the thronged dinner menu. At the bar, more than 20 vodkas alchemize into a variety of martinis or blocks of pure gold.
From behind their blonde wood bar, the sushi chefs set solemnly to work. Grasping rice in their well-seasoned hands, they blend the staple with ocean-caught fish, verdant seaweed, and a roster of international ingredients to produce morsels as delicate as a chrysanthemum blossom or as hearty as a stalwart oak. While these chefs embrace Japanese tastes and aesthetics, you don't have to have a passport to meet them; they ply their trade at Kyoto, where Asian flavors intersect with a decidedly American address.
Not to be outdone by the bar's signature sushi and sashimi, the chefs of Kyoto's kitchen turn in faithful reproductions of dishes generally associated with Tokyo, Beijing, or Korea's moon base. Shrimp and vegetables don a dusting of tempura flakes before a trip to the flash-fryer leaves them crisp and golden, and tender cuts of beef mingle with green onions amid spicy mongolian sauce. No matter the meal, glasses of sake or Japanese beers from brewers including Sapporo, Kirin, and Asahi help wash down bites or power toasts to the chef's good health.
At Hokkaido Sushi Hibachi Steak House and Lounge—named after Japan's second-largest and northernmost main island, Hokkaido—highly trained chefs entertain both family gatherings and intimate dates at the hibachi table and prepare fresh sushi with salmon, tuna, squid, scallop, sea bass, and other cuts of seafood. The in-ground fish tank that circles the entire bar illuminates platefuls of teppanyaki filet mignon and crispy shrimp tempura. Nearby in the LED-laden Vegas-inspired eatery, a team of sushi chefs rolls slices of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, and asparagus inside a sheet of seaweed in the signature Crazy maki roll. Additional maki ingredients include unagi, cream cheese, jalapenos, and tempura soft shell crab.
Inside Dao Sushi, Thai, and Hibachi Restaurant, eyes drink up sumptuous interior design and ornately arranged sushi as taste buds sample Thai spices and meats seared on a hibachi. Patrons let their chopsticks breathe on the outdoor patio, sip specialty cocktails under boxy lanterns, or sit on floor cushions beneath lines of Japanese text on khaki-colored walls. Noodles and vegetable slivers trail from appetizers served in martini glasses, like the protein drinks James Bond downs before chasing down Goldfinger's private airplane on foot.
Wagyu-beef jalapeño poppers, baby octopus with wine sauce, oyster shooters, and fresh yellowtail carpaccio prepare stomachs for a culinary adventure at Musashi Sushi & Grill. In addition to these delectable Japanese-style starters and four menus full of maki, nigiri, and sashimi sushi, the kitchen turns out korean hits, such as bulgogi with ginger-marinated beef and sweet-potato noodles, and American-style favorites, such as steaks with mashed potatoes and blue crab cakes drizzled with white-truffle oil.
Over at the full bar, bartenders fill glasses with wine, beer, and mixed drinks. They also pour hot, flavored, and cold sake and can even turn the fermented-rice drink into a Saketini cocktail.
The diners pass banquettes, which range in color from the aquamarine of a shallow sea to the darker purples of deep water, and opt for a private booth. Behind the bar, standing glass partitions painted in intricate designs reminiscent of Eastern calligraphy divide ranks of bottles. Plates of fresh-cut sashimi descend onto a neighboring table, and maki rolls flaunt loads of king crab, lobster, and kanpyo, shavings of a dried gourd. A waitress strides across the dark hardwood floor and slides menus across the diners' black lacquered table, carefully pointing out her favorite appetizers, which range from duck and wrapped scallops to fresh oysters by the half dozen. In the kitchen, chefs simmer red wine, yielding a thicker sauce that drapes across filet mignon or helps prove to an aunt that the bib she knit hasn’t been going unused.
Tairyo Japanese Steakhouse's team of tableside chefs prepares hibachi-style cuisine right before patrons' eager eyes. Diners study the menu and perform tongues stretches in anticipation as their table's built-in hibachi grill heats up to maximum firepower. Savory smells waft across the dining area before darting knives signal the completed searing of 9 ounces of center-cut tenderloin ($30). Sea scallops dance across the grill and dive onto plates ($21), and tuna steak sizzles and browns ($21). The vegetarian dinner furnishes palates with grilled veggies so they don't have to get their fix of greens by carving up Kermit dolls ($16).