Are all Hibachi Restaurants the same?
If you’ve never been, here’s the definition of hibachi, or as some call it,
“Japanese fire bowl”:
Hibachi: a portable barbecue of Japanese design, with a base for the fire with vents under it and one or more adjustable cooking racks
We visited two hibachi restaurants and then had to question if all the employees, of all these separately owned establishments, learn their technique at the same school…? There is one recognizable difference about these two restaurants, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
The first restaurant we visited was Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse in Liverpool, New York.
Here’s the skinny:
Favorite drink: Fujiyama – peach brandy & rum mix $7.50
Favorite appetizer: Eda Mame – boiled soybean pods, lightly salted $4.95
Favorite 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
Great entertainment by the hibachi trained chef, who wore a spongebob chef’s hat.
The second restaurant we enjoyed was the Teppan Bar & Grill in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Here’s the scoop:
Favorite drink: Hello Kitty - TY KU liqueur (Sake Liqueur), vodka and lemonade $6.00
Favorite appetizer: Grilled Chicken Satay – chicken on skewers with spicy peanut sauce $6.95
Favorite hibachi dinner: Chicken dinner $18.00
Add: fried rice $2.00 extra
Dinner comes with hibachi noodles and soup OR salad
Total meal for one: $32.95 plus tax & tip
Also great entertainment by the hibachi trained chef, including egg tosses and fire shows on the grill.
Both restaurants had engaging chef’s that offered a flamboyant show, which included flipping shrimp into their chefs’ hats and pockets, tossing and cracking eggs with a knife, and lighting volcano-shaped stacks of raw onion hoops on fire. The atmosphere of dining hibachi style is fun and always filled with energy. So, with the cost of dinner and entertainment at each of the two restaurants being almost identical, the only major difference was that at Teppan Bar & Grill in Jersey City, the chef’s carry a water bottle on their prep cart. This ‘special’water bottle contains sake liqueur, which they squeeze from a distance, creating a sake
stream, landing into participating guests mouths. This turns up the excitement level a bit, and from my experience, creates a rolling laughter throughout the restaurant!