Japanese chefs are known as much for the elaborate presentation as for the distinctive light taste of their dishes. Here are some restaurant offerings in Maryland:

AE (American Express), DC (Diners Club), CB (Carte Blanche), MC (MasterCard), V (Visa) and C (Choice).

Benihana of Tokyo, 7315 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, 652-5391. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m to 10 p.m. Sunday. Cards: AE, DC, CB, MC, V and travelers' checks.

Full bar. Reservations recommended. Price range: Lunch $4.55 to $8.25 per adult, dinner $10.50 to $19.50 per adult. Children's portions range from $3.25 to $3.95 (sukiyaki or teriyaki steak). Specialties: seafood combination (lobster tail, prawns and scallops) or steak and lobster or chicken.

Bluefin, 1488 Rockville Pike (in the Chesapeake Plaza Shopping Center), Rockville, 231-0606. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday, 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Cards: MC, V. Price range: $3.95 to $7.50. Specialties: sushi, shrimp and vegetable tempura, chicken teriyaki and beef and scallion teriyaki.

Kaori Hana, 7944 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, 951-8771. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Cards: AE, DC, MC, V and travelers' checks. Price range: Lunch $4.50 to 9, dinner $4 to $13.50. Every Monday evening is sushi night, with a $6 purchase, customer may order more at a 50 percent discount. Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. most sushi is 95 cents per piece. Specialties: tempura, beef teriyaki, yosenabe (mixture of seafood, chicken and vegetables, cooked in a clear broth).

Matuba Japanese Restaurant, 4918 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, 652-7449. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Cards: AE, DC, CB, MC, V. Price range: Lunch, $3.95 to $8.95, dinner, $5 to $9.50. Specialties: sushi and tempura, salmon and chicken teriyaki.

Nara Restaurant, 7756 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, 986-9696. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday. Cards: AE, DC, MC, V. Price range: Lunch $4.50 to $8.95, dinner $7 to $13.95. Specialties: yosenabe (seafood bouillabaisse), sushi, negimaki (green scallions with sliced beef, broiled in teriyaki sauce), vegetable and shrimp tempura combination.

Niwano Hana Japanese Restaurant, 887 Rockville Pike (in the Wintergreen Shopping Plaza), Rockville, 294-0553. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Cards: AE, DC, MC, V, C and travelers' checks. Price range: Lunch $4.25 to $9, dinner $7.25 to $21.50. Specialties: sushi, tempura, teriyaki, sukiyaki, yosenabe, shogun nabe (variety of beef, seafood or chicken and vegetables served in a clear broth).

Sakura Palace, 7926 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, 587-7070. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Monday. Cards: AE, MC, V. Price range: Lunch special daily is $5.95, entrees from $4 to $10, dinner $7 to $22. Specialties: sushi, shabu shabu (soup of boiled vegetables and beef), sukiyaki, tempura, teriyaki.