If cooking were a language, the chefs at Makoto Japanese Restaurant would be multilingual. They follow Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, and Thai cooking traditions to craft dishes ranging from Thai-style duck with curry sauce to broiled eel with seaweed salad and Japanese pickles. At any given time, they might be slicing fresh sashimi in the kitchen or dazzling hungry guests at tableside hibachi grills. They approach grilling as a performance, thrilling audiences by flipping juicy steaks, sizzling tender scallops, and chopping vegetables fast enough to ignite the flames that light the grill. Wooden walls border the hibachi tables, creating an air of exclusivity as diners delight in the semi-private show.
Owners Sophie Tan and Calvin Yum know how to make sushi fun. Which is why their restaurant, Cucumber Sushi and Salad Bar—called "a shiny new restaurant that epitomizes millennial dining" by the Staten Island Advance—entertains diners in a trendy eatery that features minimalistic decor and a menu of classic and creative Asian dishes. Traditional options such as yellowtail rolls and thai coconut curry support the menu's creative cast of Japanese salads and specialty rolls made from spicy kani and Mexican seasonings.
At Daimatsu Japanese Sushi Bar, head chef Masatomo "Momo" Soma puts his decade of professional experience to good use as he creates visually stunning masterpieces of Japanese cuisine. Diners savor the subtle flavors of thinly sliced sashimi and sushi, then expand their palates to prized deep-sea dishes⎯such as giant clam, skipjack, and sea urchin⎯without having to peruse early-morning fish markets or become a stowaway on an ocean trawler.
Homestyle dishes of breaded-pork katsu cutlets, savory udon noodles in miso broth, and salmon teriyaki add a hearty touch to lunches and dinners. Salads and appetizers such as tender-chicken yakitori or plump-pork gyoza complement meals with morsels of expertly prepared veggies, seafood, and meat.
An extensive menu sets Midori Japanese Restaurant apart. A dozen-plus hibachi dinner selections counter 20+ midori special rolls, including selections of Alaska crab, batter-fried sweet shrimp, and yellow fin tuna—which in the wild, amid a school of tuna, looks like the school bus. Sushi and sashimi abound, too.
Though Fushimi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge's menu and daily specials board boast French-inspired fusion food, its sushi is deeply rooted in tradition–and this combination has earned its dishes Zagat ratings and a Michelin recommendation. Chefs may reinterpret the presentation of Japanese staples—such as the tuna sashimi, which they set on broad leaves next to bean-sprout-entangled roe—but they still stay true to traditional flavors. By contrast, cooked fusion entrees tend to incorporate the unconventional, such as the tuna burger with spicy aioli, available on the weekend brunch menu, and the mushroom risotto made with black rice (a dish praised by New York Magazine in their critics' pick review.)
At all locations, the decor also melds old and new. At the bar at the Staten Island location, crimson light filters through a canopy of metallic foliage, casting a moody aura across Buddhist statuettes imported from Asia. The neon-lit Williamsburg location has a sleeker feel, its booths nestled in large circular openings that bring to mind subway tunnels or the oversized portholes of Paul Bunyan's mythical submarine. In Bay Ridge, the stateliness of traditional chandeliers contrasts with the bold colors of wall-sized photographs.
With a menu that includes hot and cold specialties, sushi and sashimi, and deep-fried delicacies, Midori Sushi has a dish to suit any taste. Meals can begin with cool, crispy, spicy lobster rolls or crispy Japanese chips topped with tuna and Scottish salmon. From there, things warm up with a steak-and-chicken hibachi dinner or a plate of Chilean-sea-bass teriyaki. Those who prefer their heat in the form of spice can try the Volcano roll, testing their taste buds’ strength against yellowfin tuna dressed with two kinds of spicy sauce. Those in search of noodle-based nourishment can dig into bowls of beef or chicken yaki udon or order a side of hibachi noodles to complement any dish or weave into a tasteful hibachi basket.