The St. Charles Avenue streetcar rolls by Miyako Japanese Seafood and Steak House (1403 St. Charles Ave., 410-9997; www.japanesebistro.com), where locals and tourists alike stop for fresh sushi, tasty teppanyaki dishes and expertly crafted cocktails.
The popular restaurant promises a meal prepared tableside on hibachi grills by knife-throwing, fire-wielding chefs. Although watching a skilled chef chop and sauté is fun, it's the food that keeps customers coming back.
"Our hibachi is probably the best in New Orleans," says Amy Ng, manager of the restaurant. Miyako offers an array of hibachi entrées, including shrimp, chicken, scallops and — the most popular — filet mignon.
Hibachi isn't the only option at Miyako, however. Ng says the restaurant's sushi also draws in crowds. "A lot of people love our sushi," she says.
According to Ng, the fried fish roll is one of the restaurant's most popular sushi items. This house special contains a variety of fish, including redfish and red snapper, which is deep-fried and finished with a special sauce. The restaurant's namesake Miyako Roll is filled with salmon, white fish, crab, avocado, cucumber and caviar, then battered and fried.
Many of Miyako's sushi and hibachi options are available as lunch specials, most for less than $10. Lunch specials are offered from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday.
Miyako also boasts a full bar with specialty drinks, like the sake martini, and a variety of Japanese wines and beers. "We have a lot of fancy drinks," Ng says. "Everyone should know we have a full bar."
The restaurant can accommodate large parties of up to 30 people in its private hibachi room and as many as 70 people in the main dining room, making it an exotic option for birthday parties and other special occasions, which are celebrated at Miyako with a Japanese flair.
"Every day we have the drums out and we sing 'Happy Birthday,'" Ng says.
Gift certificates are available at the restaurant and on its Web site. Miyako is open for lunch and dinner daily. Reservations are accepted.