Asia Bay is a sexy newcomer on Fort Lauderdale’s restaurant-intensive Las Olas Boulevard, brightening a space long vacated by Storks Cafe & Bakery. Open nearly two months, Asia Bay is the sibling of a smaller sushi-Thai restaurant in Miami-Dade’s Bay Harbor Islands owned by Peter Hepp, the executive chef, and brothers Leon and Joshua Brill. Consider a saketini or Singha beer while contemplating an extensive menu with 66 sushi and sashimi choices plus a bunch of combinations and a long list of Japanese and Thai dishes. For good measure, there are all-American crowd pleasers like large salads and mud pie.
Ambience: The chic, contemporary setting works for romance or a night out with your buds. The outdoor tables overlooking the Himmarshee Canal and the cozy upstairs terrace are most in demand, but as the summer heats up you might prefer the cool, minimalist interior with a sushi bar, stark white chairs and dark tables softened by candlelight.
- Can’t-miss starter, artful Tuna Rock – a mix of tuna, avocado, masago (fish roe) and spicy mayo that’s molded into a disk, set atop brown rice (or seaweed salad) and served with cucumber slices, tempura flakes and scallions
- Cooling sunomo-style octopus marinated in bracing rice vinegar with shredded cucumber
- A summery salad with tart Asian pears, fresh blueberries, mango, grilled chicken strips, sliced tomatoes, bell peppers, blue cheese and glazed walnuts in a zesty citrus dressing Flavorful Spinach Shiitake sautéed in a garlicky butter sauce
- Four plump, greaseless “shrimp in a blanket” deep-fried in rice paper and served on a nest of crunchy fried noodles
- Offbeat original sushi rolls like Beauty and the Beast (half eel, half tuna roll), Kiss (tuna, avocado, asparagus and scallions coated in masago) and Crazy (crunchy salmon skin, eel, avocado and asparagus)
- Value-friendly teriyaki and sushi combo – miso soup or house salad; jasmine rice, a California roll; three pieces of sushi; six pieces of sashimi; veggies and a choice of chicken, shrimp tempura, steak, salmon, seafood or lobster for $20-$26
- Excellent, slightly crisp salmon teriyaki served with perfectly cooked broccoli, baby corn and carrots
- Just right chicken panang curry with lots of green beans and bell peppers in a kicky peanut sauce
- Fun-to-share ice cream tempura with four wedges of vanilla ice cream in a tempura shell drizzled with chocolate syrup and garnished with fresh strawberries