Wednesday, April 4, 2012

JAPANESE

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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. FB. Handicap access. 270-0890

Fujiyama
2916 S. 108th St.

Diners aiming for a Benihana experience will find hibachi tables and the expected fare. Those aiming for the sushi bar will find a larger menu. The tempura is expertly prepared, the teriyaki is reliable and the beef negimaki is a treat. Aficionados of Japanese food know that the sushi, soup and seafood are authentic. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. 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. FB, RS.  Handicap access. 278-8056


Izumi's

2150 N. Prospect Ave.

Izumi's has long been a favorite for its extensive selection of nigiri and maki sushis. The menu has been updated into a small plate format with many favorites, including the stellar hamachi kama grilled yellow tail, remaining. Izumi's is a classic that only gets better. (J.B.) $$-$$$ CC. RS for 6+. FB. LB. Handicap access. 271-5278

Japanica
4918 S. 74th St.

Greenfield's spacious and gracefully ornamented Japanica makes for an authentic ethnic dining experience and a truly memorable outing. Enjoy a wide variety of sushi, rice and noodle dishes or the establishment's signature hibachi, served straight off the grill mere inches away. This menu offers dinner and a show like nothing else; deft chopping and knife tossing are the norm, but your chef might just offer to squirt sake directly into your mouth as well! All hibachi entrées are served with generous appetizers of soup, salad, fried rice and shrimp. You may count on going home stuffed, satisfied and even astounded. (S.M.) $$$. CC. RS, FB. Handicap access. 281-9868

Kiku Japanese Cuisine
202 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The focus at Kiku 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 jumbo shrimp in a feather-light batter. The setting is casual with many private booths. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. Handicap access. 270-1988

Kyoto
7453 W. Layton Ave.

Kyoto offers decent Japanese food and has expanded over the years to include items from China and Thailand. The tempura rarely gets better, especially the shrimp. Lunch specials offer exceptional value, with occasional $5 entrees that include choice of soup. (J.B.) $$. CC. RS. Handicap access. 325-1000


Meiji Cuisine

2503 Plaza Ct., Waukesha

Meiji is actually two restaurants in one. The first is Japanese and the second Sichuan Chinese. The Japanese has the usual sushi, tempura and some hibachi tables for the Benihana-type experience. But the real attraction is the Sichuan fare. Items are prepared with uncommon authenticity from the thin slices of barely-cooked pork belly to more familiar items like Chongqing chili beef. The menu is extensive and about half of the dishes are mild in spicing, but dare to be different and order that fish fillet with pickled vegetable soup. (J.B.) $-$$$. CC: all major. Handicap access. (262) 717-9858


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. FB, RS. Handicap access. 224-7253

Screaming Tuna
106 W. Seeboth St.

The urban riverside setting is spectacular with floor to ceiling windows. All tables have find views. The menu combines sushi and appetizers with Asian fusion. Entrees include Kobe beef, ahi tuna and Thai ginger red snapper, but the truly interesting items are on the small plates. Try a trio of ocean salads (squid and seaweed) and opt for the sake ceviche, an intriguing fusion of Japanese and Mexican ingredients. The sushi bar has all the usual nigiri plus some interesting maki choices. (J.B.) $$ (lunch) $$$-$$$$ (dinner). CC: all major. Handicap access. FB. 763-1637

Wasabi Sushi & Lounge
15455 W. Bluemound Road

Rolled sushis are the specialty here and they do look spectacular. The list is extensive. Everything is prepared with care. Sunomono is prepared like maki sushi using a thin sheet of cucumber instead of seaweed. There is a big crab cake with wasabi mayo and the sea scallops are super jumbo. Portions are large by Japanese standards. (J.B.) $$$. RS. Handicap access. (262) 780-0011