Asian urban cool meets zen calm at Sushi Gem, a true gem of an Asian restaurant. The grand, central bar’s blue and red lights evoke Tokyo or Hong Kong neon. Pull up a stool for beer, wine, sake or the most colorful specialty cocktails, say a three-layer tiramisu martini topped with whipped cream.
Pair drinks with fresh oysters or a sashimi deluxe dinner to share. The lovely platter full of salmon, tuna, crab, octopus and other fish is crafted by masters at the nearby sushi bar. They roll a rainbow assortment of sushi and slice fish oh so thinly. Sushi Gem also is a bargain: their sushi rolls are always buy one, get one free of equal or lesser value. There’s no skimping either: rolls are large, flavorful and fresh.
Just beyond where the sushi masters hold court is the softly lit main dining room. The menu transports you to Japan, China and Thailand. Sample perfectly grilled salmon glazed in XO sauce, shrimp tempura udon noodle soup, crispy Thai basil duck or delicate Chinese har gow dumplings stuffed with shrimp. Chilean sea bass is served with perfectly cooked haricots verts in a delicious sauce. Mongolian beef is a favorite of many locals; curries are popular too.
Fusion dishes are especially fun. Consider tempura tuna in jalapeno sauce or a sushi pizza with spicy tuna and fresh avocado. Plenty of classics pepper the menu. Find pepper steak, General Tso’s chicken, fried rice, curries and crab Rangoon.
A few American dishes like wings and french fries are also in the mix. SushiGem is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Find the restaurant in Hampstead Town Center shopping complex on U.S. Highway 17.
For more information visit www.sushigemnc17.com