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Asia reflects only a sliver of the titular continent's size and cultural variety. Instead it focuses on those countries many might think of when they hear the phrase "Asian cuisine": China, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand. Sushi is prepared well, though the fish itself is merely good, not outstanding. Entrées lean toward Chinese and Chinese-American dishes like General Tso's chicken; house specialties include Peking duck and an excellent Cornish hen dish. The Cornish hen is one of the few values on a relatively high-priced menu.
At the corner of Westgate and Delmar sits Blue Ocean Sushi, which joined the city's roster of sushi restaurants in 2008. Blue Ocean offers the standards (cucumber rolls, California rolls) as well as more adventurous options such as the AK-47 roll, which contains spicy tuna, cucumber, cream cheese, eel, sweet potato and sriracha sauce. There is also a small list of entrees, including chicken and beef teriyaki, as well as nigiri.
The walls are a vivid magenta, the music an eclectic mix of mellow, head-nodding tunes - this is a sushi lounge, not a sushi restaurant. The emphasis is on rolls of the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink variety. The "Godzilla Roll" features tempura-fried tuna and spicy tuna (as well as crisscrossing spicy sauces), while the "Lemon Drop Roll" adds lemon zest and honey wasabi to a standard combination of salmon, crab, cream cheese and avocado. The nigiri sushi selection is conventional. Basic Japanese fare like tempura meat and vegetables, as well as soba and udon noodles, is also available.
Sleek-looking Chi sits in the trendy Central West End neighborhood and serves up a variety of sushi. Sure, you'll find your California roll and spicy tuna, but here you will also find the "Central West End," which includes asparagus, shrimp, salmon, mayo, eel sauce, scallions and masago. Chi also offers reasonably priced lunch specials, nigiri and nigiri combos. There is a modest sake and beer selection and a more robust martini list, including sake martinis.
Eliott Harris won a following for his work behind the sushi bar at Miso on Meramec in Clayton. Now he has gone solo — and mobile — with Chop Shop, serving inventive, overstuffed sushi rolls that you can hold in your hand to eat, like a wrap or burrito. Rolls include the “El Camino” (spicy yellowfin tuna with cucumber, avocado and a ginger-garlic ponzu) and the “Woodie” (snow crab utzed with a chile aioli).
St. Peters' answer to the multitude of sushi restaurants that have cropped up in recent years, Crazy Sushi offers an ample selection of fish favorites. The nigiri includes flying fish roe, toro and mackerel, while the makimono runs the gamut from the California roll to the St. Charles roll (eel, cucumber and tuna). Crazy Sushi's menu also includes noodle dishes, tempura and combo platters for those wanting a variety of tastes.
Audacious sushi creations in a mod lounge setting: The Drunken Fish is like one giant experiment to see just how sexy raw fish (and other Japanese food styles) can go. The house rolls throw together everything but the sushi mat: crab meat, radish sprouts, scallions, carrots, eel sauce, avocado, baked scallops, asparagus, tempura, mayonnaise -- and, oh yeah, sometimes rice too. Simpler preparations excel here, like the clean tuna tataki and steak teriyaki, the tempura vegetables and the ice cream-based desserts. As St. Louis' latest stab at a bona fide sushi lounge, the Drunken Fish may prove the start of a whole new dining trend. See listing for second location under "Midtown/West End."
Trendy Central West End spot Drunken Fish, brainchild of Munsok So, brings sushi with a club twist. New-style sashimi offerings include red snapper carpaccio and yellowtail Mexicano, which adds jalapeño pico de gallo and ponzu sauce to the mix. Sake cocktails provide a buzz to go with the fish. This posh sushi lounge also features national and local DJs spinning techno, house and jungle every night. The West Port spot has more of a restaurant feel than the clubbier Central West End location, but no matter which Drunken Fish you choose, make sure your wallet is loaded
A sushi restaurant with more to offer than sushi - though those with a craving will be more than satisfied by the nigiri sushi, sashimi and rolls. Don't overlook the rest of the menu, though. The Japanese fare (some of it given a Southeast Asian twist, compliments of chef and owner Paul Kulkanjanatorn) is more than worthy of consideration. An order of miso ramen brings a big bowl of broth with pork, hard-boiled egg, vegetables and a tangle of noodles, while gindara miso is an elegant black cod preparation, fork-tender and delectable.
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