Adventures in Eating & Cooking
Jeu, Jan-Jan, and I went to Tokyo Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar in Center City today for lunch. The sheer excitement from my initiation into the world of hibachi made me hungrier with each step as we walked down to Walnut Street.
Ironically, the restaurant seems to be run by Chinese people, since I overheard them speak in native tongue. Most Japanese restaurants aren’t run by Japanese people though, so I’m not surprised… although they”re usually of Korean ownership. And actually hibachi is a misnomer, it refers to a small pot for holding coal in Japanese. The hibachi style of coal-powered stove grilling is actually known as shichirin in Japan. (Hey look, we learn something new everyday!) Anyways enough trivial comments… Onwards to the FEWD!
Just kidding, I lied. Before food, I would like to comment on the wonderful showmanship of the hibachi! Our chef tossed the knives around nonchalantly, showing off his ease with sharp objects. He spun the egg on the stove and cracked it mid-spin, forming the base of the fried rice. It was sprinkled with garlic, soy sauce, and other lovely seasonings.
I guess I can’t say it was the most fantastic fried rice I’ve ever had, but let’s be honest you can only fry egg and rice one so many ways. The soy sauce and teriyaki added flavor; in addition to that I mixed in the ginger vinegar sauce they give you on the side, which gave the fried rice a tangy spicy kick. As a hungry Asian, I happily polished off my hearty helping.
Then our chef started on the meat, but before that he had to throw some fire on the stove that spouted bursts of flame. (It was quite frightening at times actually.) Then he laid out our chicken, steak, salmon, and veggies, occasionally rousing up another fire or tossing in seasoning. When the vegetables were done, the chef offered to throw some zucchini pieces into our mouths. With my horrible depth perception, I gave up after failing three times. Out of us three, Jeu was the only successful one.
Although relatively small in portion, my hibachi salmon was quite delicious. Before serving, our chef squeezed some lemon juice on it for further grilling, which added a lovely zest to the amalgam of teriyaki sauces bathed over the meat’s crunchy, charred exterior. I think I would have preferred if the salmon was more tender on the medium side, as opposed to done. The veggies were pretty yummy too, but not particularly memorable.