Not too long ago, Asian cuisine in America was in a sorry state of affairs. There were plenty of Americanized Chinese restaurants but if you wanted the real deal, you had to seek out a Chinatown or travel to a newfangled sushi restaurant, which made many except for the most adventurous diners squeamish. Today, however, there’s an abundance of options of every aspect of Asian cuisine, from high-end Japanese to over-the-top dim sum, and we’ve determined which 25 Asian restaurants are America’s best.
Diners today are looking for big, bold flavors, unique presentation, and a touch of danger, and Asian restaurants are right there to show them an experience unlike any they’ve ever had, whether traditional or avant-garde. Traditional dim sum, like that served at San Francisco’s Yank Sing, offers adventure around every corner as you bite into a dumpling blissfully unaware of what’s hidden within. At Las Vegas’ Lotus of Siam, regarded by many as America’s best Thai restaurant, lines form on a daily basis to dig into big bowls of charbroiled prawns in tamarind sauce.
At the same time, chefs are reinventing the staid “Asian Fusion” genre with stunning results. At Los Angeles’ Hinoki & the Bird, for example, chef Kuniko Yagi is bringing together aspects of Japanese and American cuisine that result in one of the most visceral dining experiences you’ll ever have, amplified by stunning dishes like hinoki-scented black cod with sweet potato and pistachio. Danny Bowien is updating Chinese food at the already-legendary Mission Chinese in San Francisco with a touch of Rock n’ Roll, inventing dishes like kung pao pastrami.
In order to assemble our ranking of America’s best Asian restaurants, we tapped into the collective knowledge of more than 100 dining experts from across the country, as part of The Daily Meal’s most recent ranking of the 101 Best Restaurants in America. Of the 25 restaurants listed here, 16 of them were included in this year’s ranking, with several others included in previous years’.
So read on to take a journey through America’s top Asian restaurants, from traditional Vietnamese to groundbreaking ramen. A visit to just one of these restaurants has the potential to expand your culinary horizons exponentially.
25) Lukshon by Sang Yoon, Culver City, Calif.
Chef Sang Yoon brings modern Southeast Asian cuisine to Los Angeles. Cozy but sensual, Lukshon is the ideal location for lunch, dinner, or grabbing a drink with friends. It also helps that sparkling water and dessert is complimentary. A departure from Father’s Office, his burgers and beer hot spot, Sang Yoon is blending the qualities of coolness and sophistication at Lukshon.
24) Pubbelly, Miami Beach
Miami’s first Asian-inspired gastropub, Pubbelly is quickly on its way to become well-known across the country. The brainchild of Andreas Schreiner, Jose Mendin, and Sergio Navarro, this perpetually packed casual spot, located on the west end of Miami Beach, is not only one of the most creative restaurants in Miami, it’s also one of the most fun. Pâtés, duck and pork rillettes, terrines, sausages, and pickles are all made in-house, and round out a charmingly creative menu that changes daily but always includes ramen and udon in ways you’ve never seen them before (like carbonara-inspired), a raw bar, dumplings with fillings like short rib and corn or pastrami and sauerkraut, and a wide selection of small plates for sharing like fried chicken, BBQ pork wings, and grilled octopus. For the adventurous eater, no visit to Miami is complete without a visit to Pubbelly (or its sister restaurant, Pubbelly Sushi).
Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers. Additional Reporting by Arthur Bovino.