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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.
With the look and feel of a traditional sushi restaurant, Jade is a downtown lunch spot by day and a late-night sushi lounge during club hours. The sushi menu includes standard nigiri and maki, a pre-priced chef's-choice roll and a list of special rolls with names not found on a fish tank. Their "DJ E Roll" takes a shrimp tempura roll with cucumber, cream cheese, avocado and crab salad and adds an extra crunch. For fans of crab and then some, there is the "Big & Crazy" roll with soft-shell crab, crab salad, shrimp tempura, vegetables and sauce. The menu also includes a selection of rolled sushi for diners who prefer to steer clear of raw fish, or any fish for that matter, with different ingredients such as chicken, Doritos or beef. Jade also offers a full menu of familiar Chinese cuisine.
Mizu fits nicely into the Washington Avenue loft district's trendy aesthetic: spacious and sleek without seeming hipper than thou. The extensive menu includes nigiri sushi, sashimi and rolls both traditional and Americanized. The nigiri sushi ranges from good to very good. Best is toro, fatty tuna belly that's worth the expense. There are numerous appetizers (including a sushified version of the jalapeño popper), and non-sushi entrées like chicken or steak teriyaki. The menu also features a couple of Korean dishes; particularly tasty is a generous portion of savory-sweet barbecue beef ribs.
San Sai Japanese Grill is a fast-food sushi and Japanese restaurant in downtown St. Louis.
SanSai makes a great case for the introduction of Japanese fast food. This outlet of an incipient chain (there are four other SanSai operations, all in Southern California) hones the execution of deliciously fresh maki, sashimi and teriyaki plates to the razor's edge of a sushi knife -- and manages to pull it all off in under ten minutes per order. One of the healthiest, truly fast meals to be had, and the sashimi tuna salad, served on a bed of baby greens and frisée with rice and miso soup, is an excellent bargain.
It's clear that St. Louis Fish Market is known for more than great seafood -- it was chosen for Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence four times and Food & Wine's Best New Wine List. Visit the Market on the North end of Laclede's Landing.
The owners of Tani Sushi Bistro in Clayton have opened one of the cornerstone restaurants of the new Mercantile Exchange development downtown. Like Tani, Takaya New Asian offers nigiri sushi, sashimi and over-the-top Americanized rolls. (The “Oh My God” roll comes to your table engulfed in flames.) Unlike Tani, though, Takaya fails as a restaurant in nearly every respect. Much of the menu features dubious takes on the already played-out Asian-fusion trend. There are sliders with bulgolgi beef, and fried cheese sticks classed up with a light tempura breading. The sushi is sloppily prepared, only one of several missteps from a careless kitchen that might mar your meal.
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