Friday, April 9, 2010

JAPANESE

Metro Milwaukee Dining Guide

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Benihana

850 N. Plankinton Ave.

This nationwide chain offers Japanese tableside cooking by acrobatic chefs. Those not in the mood for a performance will find tempura appetizers and a sushi bar with modest prices. Steaks, from the raw sashimi appetizer to the tenderloins, are well-marbled and tender. Dinners are comprehensive, including everything from an appetizer to dessert. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: All major. FB. Handicap access. 270-0890

Fujiyama

2916 S. 108th St.

Diners aiming for a Benihana experience will find the tempura expertly prepared, the teriyaki reliable and the grill-side chefs a good show. But those who know Japanese cuisine flock to this restaurant for its authentic varieties of sushi, soup and seafood. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: VS, MC, AmEx, DS. FB, RS. Handicap access. 755-1977

Ichiban

2336 N. Farwell Ave.

The sushi selection—larger than that found on most Japanese restaurant menus—includes extensive selections of nigiri and maki. Besides sushi, you’ll find such standards as teriyaki, tempura, sukiyaki and big bowls of noodles. Soft-shell crab is a specialty. It’s pricey, but it’s the best in the city. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: All major. FB, RS. Handicap access. 278-8056

Izumi’s

2150 N. Prospect Ave.

Izumi’s is a favorite for fans of maki sushi. The interior is sleek and Japanese with a private traditional dining room separated by rice paper panels. While sushi and sashimi are sound bets there also is a fine robata grill for its hamachi kama, a grilled collar of yellowtail snapper. Standards are high. All of the beef dishes are prepared with Kobe beef. The tempura and teriyaki are superb but the most enjoyable route is sampling the small dishes. Don’t miss the miso zuke, an exquisite price of broiled marinated cod. (J.B.) $$-$$$ CC: All major. RS for 6 . FB. Handicap access. 271-5278

Japanica

4918 S. 74th St.

Unlike some of the trendy eateries that have popped up in Milwaukee in recent years, Japanica is a modest-looking restaurant with a simple and traditional menu and décor. The hibachi grill spices things up with specials like the Japanica Supreme, a meal for two including chicken, filet mignon, shrimp, scallop and lobster. The variety of sushi is adequate, and lunchboxes are a good afternoon meal option: filling and modestly priced. (A.M.)

$$-$$$. CC: All major. RS, FB. Handicap access. 281-9868

Kiku Japanese Cuisine

200 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The focus at Kiko is sushi with nearly eight different nigiri and makis to choose from. Entrees include teriyaki, tempura, seafood and noodles. While the appetizers lack gyoza there are items like grilled hamachi collar and a jellyfish salad. The sushi is always fresh and of good quality. A sure bet is the tempura, especially the one of jumbo shrimp in a feather-light batter. The setting is casual with many private booths. At night the pace picks up, especially at the small popular bar. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: All major. Handicap access.

Kyoto

7453 W. Layton Ave.

Kyoto expanded in early 2010. The dining room and sushi bar are larger, the sake selection has improved, and the menu has been revamped. The sushi and sashimi selection remains good. The tempura ranks with the best. The specialty maki rolls are expertly prepared. The menu also has teriyaki and noodle dishes plus a few Chinese and Thai items. Lunches offer great value with most items under $10. Kyoto is consistently good. (J.B.) $$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx. RS. Handicap access. 325-1000

Nanakusa

408 E. Chicago St.

The dining rooms have an elegant Japanese simplicity. The menu is equally high-end with Kobe beef and an extensive sushi list including delicacies such as toro and hotate. The long list of appetizers has several treasures, but at a price. Still, this is much cheaper than going to Tokyo. $$-$$$$. CC: VS, MC, AmEx, DS. OD, FB, RS for 6 . Handicap access. 223-3200

Sake Tumi

714 N. Milwaukee St.

The specialty rolls are a standout at this chic Milwaukee Street sushi lounge. The Kai Fire roll tops our list along with the Godzilla roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, cream cheese and wasabi mayo). The Japanese-Korean fusion features tender kalbi (Korean beef short ribs) that literally melt off the bone. Stay for an after-dinner cocktail at the upstairs Kai Buddha lounge, which serves one of the best plum wines in the city. (J.D.) $$$-$$$$. CC: All major. FB, RS. Handicap access. 224-7253

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