Last night we had dinner with some friends at Benihana. In case you are unfamiliar with this chain, it is a Japanese hibachi and sushi restaurant, known both for its food and the entertainment of the chefs preparing the food right in front of you.
We arrived at 6pm without reservations, and while the restaurant was practically empty, we still had to wait 25 minutes for a table. Our group sat at the bar and had a drink to pass the time. The bartender was awesome and the drinks on the menu were original and very yummy. I had a coconut sakitini which was amazing.
When we were finally seated at the hibachi area with four other diners, we were relaxed and excited about the fun experience that hibachi is. From the start our waiter was awesome. He brought us drinks and we were never wanting for anything throughout the night.
To start we ordered a few sushi rolls (spicy tuna and a shrimp lovers), which were brought out to us about the same time as the soup was. The rolls were very tasty and fresh. The soup, which is simple but delicious, made a wonderful start to the meal. Next the house salads were brought out; the ginger dressing makes the salad a real delight.
As the waiter cleared the dishes, the hibachi chef came out with our entrees. Now this is the part of the dinner that everyone really looks forward to, not only because of the food but for the entertainment value. Unfortunately, our chef was a bit boring. He did not do anything more than the bare minimum of entertainment and tricks expected of him. In addition, the meals were quite bland compared to all of my past experiences at any hibachi restaurant, including Benihana. While the steak was cooked perfectly medium as requested and the cuts were tender, the meat was nearly tasteless. I think that the chef left salt completely out of his repertoire. Thank goodness for the dipping sauces that are provided. The shrimp were a bit overcooked as well, although they actually tasted good.
At the end of the show our waiter returned with sherbet and hot green tea which was excellent. He also provided some banter and was truly more interesting than our hibachi chef was, which is quite out of the norm.
All in all, the experience was fine, although when we go back next time I will request a different chef, as he can really make or break the experience. And I may even request our same waiter, as he was flawless.
Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our restaurant reviews.
To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.
Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!
Island Genn – Your Key West Concierge