Japanese food is thought of as fresh and healthy, especially when it's cooked at the table right in front of you. It can be a perfect low carb meal!
I'm a huge fan of Japanese food and even maintain a set of Japanese restaurant reviews on various review websites. So over the years of our low carb lifestyle, we have tested Japanese restaurants in every way possible.
First of course, avoid all the rice. As much as I love Japanese rice, it's time to leave it off the plate. Sushi has rice, but sashimi does not, and is 100% carb free. So eat all the sashimi you want!
Take a look at the soy sauce container you pour from. Kikkoman has 0g carbs which is perfect. Others - especially lite varieties - have up to 1g per tablespoon. You probably won't down more than a tablespoon or two with your sashimi so that's not bad at all.
Avoid the batter-fried creations, the gyoza (dumplings) and noodle dishes. Miso soup can have up to 10g of carbs with tofu in it, so that might be a treat for you if you can spare the carbs.
The salads usually come with a ginger-vinegar dressing that has sugar in it. That can be around 5g carbs so try to avoid the dressing. Many Japanese restaurants also offer a cucumber salad which is just perfect.
The teriyaki sauce they use to grill the meats in can be sugar-laden but since it's not a huge amount comparatively, count it for about 4g carbs. The meat itself is of course great, and the fresh veggies they serve - zucchini and such - are delicious and low-carb-friendly.
When I go out to Japanese, I tend to begin with the miso soup and a seaweed salad. Then I simply have sashimi. That is the sushi fish without the rice. That is absolutely delicious, fills me up, and is low carb. Just make sure you don't go overboard with the sake :).
So there's plenty to eat at a Japanese restaurant, if you keep your eyes open!
Restaurant Reviews for Low Carb Dieters
Tips for Eating Out on an Atkins Diet
Lisa Shea's Library of Low Carb Books