Food & Drink

Never far from fresh fish

Wherever you are in the Triangle, odds are you're less than five minutes from a sushi fix.

But until recently, if you were between Holly Springs and the southern fringes of Cary when the urge for a shrimp tempura roll struck, you'd have been desperately seeking sushi. Now your search is over.

In the new Stonebridge Shopping Center at the corner of Ten Ten Road and Kildaire Farm Road, Genki (3420-314 Ten Ten Road; 363-6636) offers all the usual variations on the raw fish and vinegared rice theme and a few specialties that you won't find elsewhere in the Triangle. According to owner Li Ni, the menu is still evolving, but early sushi bar offerings have included rarities such as fluke and pink snapper flown in from the waters of Japan.

In addition to traditional tempura, soba and hibachi fare, the kitchen serves contemporary fusion dishes such as Chilean sea bass with mango salsa, scallops with lump crabmeat and tea-smoked chicken. And yes, they've got your tempura shrimp roll. You'll find it among the more than two dozen house specialty rolls.

At Kobe (515 N. Main St.; 557-1437), a compact, bento box of a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar that opened in February in Holly Springs, the menu is strictly traditional.

As the restaurant's name implies, the specialty is Japanese steakhouse fare, though it's cooked in the kitchen and, as far as I can tell, "Kobe" doesn't apply to any of the actual steak offerings. The menu does hold a few surprises, though, such as the Japanese style BBQ ribs listed among the Hibachi Dinner Specials.

The sushi list includes a couple of intriguing options, as well, including peanut avocado roll and Oh My God roll. Can't wait to find out what that one is.

Meanwhile, Japanese takeout joints continue to open at a rate that makes you wonder if they're about to overtake Chinese takeout joints as the strip mall eatery of choice. Hibachi Japan in Wake Forest (11216 Capital Blvd.; 556-8882) has proven so popular that owner Qin Li has opened a second location in North Raleigh (4001 Wake Forest Road; 878-8880). And in Durham, Neo Japan (1125-401 W. N.C. 54; 403-3100) has opened in Hope Valley Crossing, the shopping center across the street from Woodcroft. The restaurant is owned by Sky Yeung, who, with his brother, Wing Yeung, already own a handful of similar eateries in Durham and Chapel Hill.