We have been regular visitors at Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse for years, but were referred to try Koto Japanese Steakhouse.
We enjoyed hibachi style dining at both Central New York restaurants.
Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse
302 Old Liverpool Road
Liverpool, NY 13088
Favorite Drink: Fujiyama – peach brandy & rum mix $7.50
Appetizer: Eda Mame – boiled soybean pods, lightly salted $4.95
Hibachi dinner: Chicken Teriyaki $18.50
Add: fried rice $1.95 extra
Add: fried noodles $1.95 extra
Dinner comes with soup AND salad
Total meal for one: $34.85, plus tax & tip
Koto Japanese Steakhouse
2841 Erie Blvd. East
Syracuse, NY 13224
Favorite Drink: Malibu Dragon - Bacardi Dragonberry, Malibu passion fruit, Malibu Mango, pineapple juice and blue curacao $8.00
Appetizer: Salmon Cucumber Sushi Rolls $5.50
Hibachi dinner: Chicken $17.00
Add: fried noodles $2.00
Dinner comes with soup OR salad
Total meal for one: $32.50, plus tax & tip
The salad dressing at Koto was absolutely the best dressing I have ever tasted. It is a homemade ginger dressing but tastes like it may have a touch of honey mustard in it. It was a creamy mixture, unlike the more gritty ginger mixture at Ichiban. If I could have licked the bowl without embarrasement, I would have.
Neither of the restaurants offered a swig of saki, which was disappointing. A favorite hibachi grill in New Jersey is Teppan in Jersey City, and a favorite moment of the night is when our hibachi chef uses his water bottle to stream the saki into our mouths!
When visiting Ichiban, plan on at least a 2 hour dinner, from start to finish - including the tea that is delivered after your dinner show is complete. Unfortunately, at Koto we felt rushed and had finished our total experience in less than one hour, with no tea served after dinner.
The restaurant and the bar at Ichiban are smaller than at Koto, but although they lack in square footage, they make up for it in friendly bartenders, great service and a cozy intimate and engaging environment.
Both restaurants were pleasant and deserve an excellent review for quality of food and presentation. But if I were asked to choose one or the other, my vote would lie with Ichiban. Mainly for the inviting atsmosphere, along with the dinner variety that includes
soup, salad and tea. Though, it would be difficult to go without the salad dressing and the Malibu Dragon from Koto!
Click any photo below to enlarge and scroll.