Posts Tagged ‘hibachi’
Brian and I had lunch at Hikari Japanese Steakhouse in Overland Park on the way home. The food was okay, but not half as good any of the hibachi restaurants in town. This place actually made me appreciate Sumo. LOL.
Brian and I didn’t touch our salad. I don’t really like the ginger dressing so I don’t ever eat salads at Japanese restaurants. Besides, these didn’t look very good. Brian had a bit of the miso soup. It looked like water. After a couple of sips, I decided it tasted like water too. I barely had any flavor.
Brian always orders chicken and I always order shrimp. I was actually worried about my choice. I mean, how can you mess up miso? What if they mess up my shrimp too and then I get sick from it? I decided to be brave and take my chances. After all, the food was going to be cooked in front of me. If it looks undercooked, I can always politely ask for mine to be cooked a bit more.
The rest of our food was at least edible. And, neither of us are sick so I guess that’s a good thing… Knock on wood. I think I will have to take Brian to Sumo to make up for this lunch fiasco. LOL.
I took a ton of pictures the other day at Kiku. It was Brian’s first time there so I wanted to make sure I captured the moment. LOL.
Kiku offers great value for the price. Their prices are less than Sumo and the fried rice actually comes with your meal. At most Japanese hibachi restaurants, fried rice costs extra.
When you go for sushi, they actually give you miso soup and edamame for free. At least, they did that for us the last time I was there. That’s another thing that is extra at other places.
Another thing that is cool about Kiku is that they have a special “gong banger” for birthday celebrations. The guy is specifically there to bang the gong while everyone sings happy birthday. I thought that was neat.
The restaurant ambiance is typical of what you’d find at most Japanese hibachis, but the prices are much better. When you’re in Topeka, you have to try Kiku.
Brian, Jenni, and I had the opportunity to check out the new Tokyo Steakhouse in Derby on Thursday night. The Derby location is actually proprietor Henry Hein Son’s third in the area. The original location is location in West Wichita. The other location is in Northeast Wichita, where the old Sumo used to be. I’ve never been to either location, but have been curious about Tokyo since the Northeast location opened. Brian and I are huge fans of Sumo so we noticed right away when the Tokyo opened. I thought that was a really wise move to take over the old Sumo location because Sumo had become really popular over the years. I’m sure Tokyo picked up more than a few unsuspecting persons who didn’t realize that Sumo had moved.
Being loyal to Sumo, we never really had reason to try Tokyo Steakhouse so to this day we haven’t been to the Tokyo location close to our house. However, since were going to mom and dad’s in Derby we figured we would take advantage of the opportunity to try Tokyo Steakhouse. At present, there isn’t any other restaurant like it in all of Derby.
When we arrived, there a few people waiting already and were told that would be a ten to fifteen minute wait. I would suggest making reservations beforehand. This is the first thing that the hostess asked us and it was evident that patrons with reservations were given preference to walk-in patrons. I would have made reservations, but I didn’t know their phone number.
There were two hostesses that night. They seemed to be at odds with each other. Brian, who was closest to the hostess desk listened to their argument. Apparently, one hostess wanted to hold tables for reserved guests while the other wanted to go ahead and seat the people who were already waiting. We were all waiting at their mercy because they could not agree. Finally, a group of people who were tired of waiting told the hostesses to take the them off the list because they were going to eat elsewhere instead. I think this was the much-needed reality check that got the ball rolling because we were seated shortly after that.
Anyway, the wait wasn’t altogether unpleasant. I was actually impressed by the internal architecture of the restaurant. They had a huge faux rain water feature that spanned almost the entire length of the restaurant. It looked like one of those bridge-gazebo-type things in Japanese movies. The water came from the roof and fell into the pond on the floor, just as if it were raining. The soothing sound of rainfall is supposed to improve one’s appetite so I thought this was a brilliant idea. The only downside is that if you’ve had a little too much to drink, it makes you want to pee. LOL.
On the way to our table there’s these rocks of various sizes clumped together in the middle of the floor. Upon closer inspection it appeared to be concealing a power outlet. It’s much prettier than a looking at a power outlet, but I’m not too sure it is a good idea. I could envision someone tripping over the rocks after a few cocktails. Perhaps it would be better to hide it using a nice decorative table or vase of some sort? I guess drunk people weren’t a huge concern at the moment because the restaurant is so new that they don’t even have their liquor license yet. Brian pointed out that there was a sign at the door that said they could not yet serve any alcoholic beverages. When the alcohol comes though, I would highly recommend removing the rocks. It just seems like an accident waiting to happen.
They were pretty busy that evening so we waited a few more minutes after being seated before our chef finally came. In the meantime we got to enjoy miso soup and salad. The miso soup is okay. I found it too plain and not as flavorful as the soup served at Sumo. I can’t say anything about the salad because I didn’t eat mine. I always skip that part because I’m not too fond of the ginger dressing. Jenni and Brian both agreed that it was missing the crunchies that make the benihana salads special.
Our chef was a young guy who appeared to me to be new to hibachi cooking. Although he had pretty good spatula and knife flairs, the rest of his tricks were basic and sloppily executed. He failed at all three egg tosses and had to pick up the shells from the cooking surface. He also burnt the fried rice and the eggs. How you burn fried rice is beyond me. That is probably the simplest thing to fix of all because it is already pre-mixed. All you have to do is warm it up. He tried to hide the burnt fried rice by dousing it with a generous amount of soy sauce, as though making the rice brown will conceal the burnt parts. That would have worked were it not for the crunchy burnt parts. Fried rice shouldn’t be crunchy.
The veggies (the bean sprouts in particular) were burnt also. The shrimps were almost overdone, but better overdone than undercooked because undercooked shrimp can cause you to spend several hours in the bathroom. I know Brian has had a bad experience with undercooked shrimp before. I had filet mignon and shrimp. I ate most of the shrimp but I didn’t like my steak too much.
Overall, I think Tokyo is promising. I would try it again and just hope for a different chef. We at least have to return to try their sushi. Anyway, if you’re curious about what other people think of Tokyo I found a couple of reviews online (these reviews are of the West location, though, if I’m not mistaken so please keep that in mind as you read them).
Other local competitors include:
- Sumo (our favorite because they serve good sushi that is second only to Hana Cafe)
- Kobe (I think this is the first benihana-type resto in Wichita)
There may be some others but I’m not sure. I’ve yet to try Kyoto and Osaka. As far as hibachi goes, we like Sumo best with Kobe being a close second. Sal’s is okay, but not our preference. What about you? Which ones are your favorite?
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