When Heff comes to town, he gets his maki fix at Japonais. And believe it or not, the decor of this spacious, Jeffrey Beers-decorated restaurant is more breathtaking than all three of Hugh's blondes combined.
The bi-level restaurant boasts separate "vignettes" so distinct that wallet-willing customers could dine here four nights in a row and enjoy a different experience each time. The most formal meals take place in the Red Dining Room, a tribute to old-style Japan swathed in red and gold fabric and complete with a raised sushi bar. The Green Dining Room offers a laidback scene, with a communal table running along one wall and a velvet ottoman surrounding an oversize floral arrangement. Downstairs, bartenders shake up the house Floating Orchid martini (a drink that blends vodka with pear and lemon juices and comes gorgeously garnished with its namesake) in the palpably chic lounge. The seasonal Riverwalk Cafe offers al fresco seating in breezy cabanas.
Executive chefs Jun Ichikawa and Gene Kato offer a seafood-focused roster of contemporary sushi and Japanese fare. Specialties include the Kobe prime rib, the spicy baked king crab and maple leaf-smoked duck. The Rock, another house specialty and a too-fun-to-be-missed menu option, serves up thinly-sliced marinated New York strip, cooked on a hot rock right at your table. Entrees cost in the $20-$35 range.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg