Sushi, meet happy hour. These two are a perfect match at Zen 32 (3160 E. Camelback Rd., 602/954-8700, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily, $7–25), a Biltmore neighborhood hangout that provides a fresh assortment of sushi and sashimi, along with spring rolls, pot stickers, spicy calamari, and soft-shell crab. The post-work bash from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. includes killer drink specials and free California and spicy tuna rolls in the bar. It kicks back up again at 10 p.m. for the late-night crowd, which usually spills over onto the patio. Vegetarians and meat eaters will find a medley of Asian fusion dishes that range from vegetable tempura and miso soup to yaki soba noodles and the teriyaki-topped Zen burger.
Cherry Blossom Noodle Café (914 E. Camelback Rd. Ste. 1, 602/248-9090, 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Sun.–Thurs.; 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $6–15) is the closest you’ll find to traditional Japanese food in the Valley. But with udon noodles and yakisoba this good, who needs the competition? Cherry Blossom specializes in Asian noodle dishes—and a few Italian items—as well as salads, sushi, tofu, and homemade soups. The tonkotsu ramen with barbecue pork is a Tokyo-worthy dish that newbies to Japanese cuisine will find quite approachable. And in another quirky twist, the free homemade banana bread is a delicious nosh while you peruse the menu.