By Sara Liss
The goods: Hot Tuna, the new sushi-and-a-show spot on Washington Ave., aims to unite sexy rock-and-roll cabaret with upscale Asian fusion cuisine. The futuristic red and black dining room is outfitted with Chinese silk pillows, bamboo tabletops and snakeskin banquettes. A long black granite bar that bisects the restaurant and features a retractable screen that effectively divides the bar from the dining room. Every half hour the screen retracts revealing Hot Tuna dancers (many of which double as servers), clad in thigh-high boots and mini-skirts. They regal the crowd with vocal performances and dance numbers set to rock classics from Aerosmith to AC/DC. After each performance, the screen lowers and diners return to their meals.
The grub: Asian fusion that leans heavily on Japanese influences. Executive chef James Corona (formerly of the Setai hotel) presides over the lengthy menu that is divided into multiple sections encouraging you to order a series of medium-size plates that include Japanese-style yakitori skewers, sushi rolls, dim sum, various tempura and “Hot Tuna Tastes” which are traditional entrée-size plates. Prices are in upscale territory; starters range $10-$25, sushi rolls are $12-$18 and mains are in the $20-$30 range.
Start off with a pair of yakitori beef skewers, some shiitake and asparagus tempura and a smoked salmon and avocado roll accompanied by a honey miso dipping sauce. The white miso brushed sea bass is a hefty hunk of buttery fish served with shimeji mushrooms while the aged filet mignon is served sizzling hot on a mini-hibachi grill. Make sure to order a side of the chop-chop eggplant with brown rice, sautéed in a spicy hoisin sauce.
Desserts depart from the Asian theme with selections of chocolate fondue with mini-banana cakes and strawberries and coconut terrine but are in keeping with the sensuous atmosphere.
Verdict: Look forward to dinner with a side of sexy at this playful Asian fusion spot.
Kobe-Beef Pot Stickers with Mirin Shoyu.