Prasit "Ken" Khachenrum's culinary journey spans more than 11,000 miles. In his native Thailand, the young chef began mastering the dishes of his home soil at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bangkok. Later, after landing a position with Commodore Cruise Lines, the globetrotting Khachenrum continued plying his skills while sailing beneath the Caribbean sun. Upon deciding to settle in Washington, DC, Chef Ken worked through the city's restaurant scene on his way to becoming sushi chef at Yosaku Japanese Restaurant, opening his first restaurant in Yorktown in 2002, and finally, opening Thaijindesu. Thaijindesu—translated from the Japanese word "romanji," meaning "Thai people"—invites guests into an elegant spiral of Thai and Japanese flavors. Chef Ken places bowls of steaming noodles and curries beside fresh rolls of sushi, uniting regional nuances on a single menu rather than uniting two menus with Velcro.
At Kyoto Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar, guests feast their eyes on the fiery display of lively chefs forging a menu of authentic Japanese cuisine with teppanyaki-style foodsmithing. The sushi bar reels in taste buds with raw sea-fruit assortments, including the tekka don bearing sliced tuna ($15.50) and the vegetable maki combo ($10.50). Diners shovel in sizzling pieces of filet mignon ($26.95) and hibachi sirloin steak ($24.25) to mute bellies that bellow like an opera singer stubbing his big toe. Patrons can sink fangs into the battered and deep-fried shrimp-and-vegetable tempura ($14.50) or celebrate evenings out with friends with $1 sake bombs (not included with this Groupon).
Soya carefully balances spectacle and serenity: while hibachi chefs display searing and flipping prowess at fiery tableside grills, a large fish tank bathes the dining room in soft light. The tank contributes to the "inviting and relaxing" vibe cited by the Daily Press, which also praises the "clean taste and variety" of the restaurant's sushi. Like scuba divers armed with waterproof makeup, the kitchen preps fresh seafood daily, then pairs it with rice and veggies for colorful maki rolls and nigiri. Japanese entrees such as stir-fried noodles and teriyaki meats round out the menu.
Saisaki's chefs weren't content to simply fuse the dishes of two different cultures. Instead, they culled culinary techniques and recipes from Japan, China, Thailand, and Malaysia to prepare raw and cooked Eastern cuisine. Traditional and specialty sushi rolls slip snugly between chopsticks, as do Hunan-style scallops and tender cuts of steak cooked over a toasty hibachi flame. Hot and cold bottles of Gekkeikan and Ozeki saki clink symphonically above slices of hot-fudge chocolate cake that provides a satisfying epilogue to the meal.
Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant is all about options—from the seats that patrons choose to sit in to the expansive menu with sushi, udon, chicken teriyaki, and numerous vegetarian and vegan dishes. Guests can relax at tables near the front of the restaurant or bypass the four-legged seats for a more traditional Japanese eating experience atop crimson cushions—with backs for comfort—that sit flush against a raised dining platform. Diners can also saddle up to the sushi bar, where culinary gurus fill specialty rolls with ingredients such as tempura-fried cream cheese, fatty tuna, and fried salmon.
The gleam of razor-sharp knives flashes from behind the sushi bar at Domo Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, where chefs slice sashimi and assemble maki rolls before elegantly plating each dish. A tempura volcano roll clasps crab and tuna at its core, and fried oysters fraternize with eel, red snapper, and tuna in the Godzilla roll. Domo’s chefs also glaze chicken, beef, shrimp and other seafood with teriyaki sauce for diners that prefer their food to be slightly sweet and cooked, much like the books of a corrupt accountant in Candyland.