Who doesn’t love sky-high fire, flaming up right in front of you while you watch your food cooked?? Knowing that the boy would just love this, we decided on a night of “Japanese Hibachi” at Kiku Yama Steak House in Dedham this past weekend.
While the picture below is not from Kiku Yama, it is a great representation of what we experienced (silly me forgot to snap a photo during the big fire show). If you’ve never experienced this type of cooking, you must give it a try. It’s a fun evening, kids love it and the food is delicious. And actually, “hibachi” is not the correct term… Teppanyaki is.
In fact, according to wikipedia:
“Hibachi-style” is often confused in the U.S. as a term for Japanese teppanyaki cooking, in which gas-heated hotplates are integrated into tables around which many people (often multiple parties) can sit and eat at once. The chef performs the cooking in front of the diners, typically with theatrical flair—such as lighting a volcano-shaped stack of raw onion hoops on fire.
First a warning… I did not have my camera with me so the rest of these shots were taken with my iPhone — in a pretty dim lighting — so the quality is sub-par at best.
We arrived at Kiku Yama around 6pm on Saturday and were seated almost immediately. There is a large parking lot behind the building, making for easy access to (what I believe) is the only Teppanyaki place in the area. Tables are communal in this type of restaurant… typically in a “U” shape around the grill.
Once seated, a server takes your drink order and also you food order (when you’re ready). There are many options to choose from and most restaurants also have a sushi menu and some other basic Japanese appetizers and dishes.
First up was a lesson in chopstick usage… thankfully the server returned with a rigged version — with a rubber band and the chopstick wrapper serving as a method of making the chopsticks a bit easier for the boy to use. We didn’t ask for this, she just magically appeared with it — which was a nice surprise and a thoughtful gesture.
Drinks arrived next. I just had a glass of wine, but The Husband tried the Japanese Fizz ($5.95), an interesting blend of fruit juices, egg white and some other type of whiskey. There are lots of traditional tropical drinks to be had… including Scorpion Bowls and other fun concoctions.
The boy (as he always does) opted for the Shirley Temple ($2.00), served with extra cherries (at his request).
We were quite hungry, so we decided to get two appetizers. The boy got the Maguro (tuna) Sashimi ($5.95) –and three, nice-sized, succulent pieces of fish arrived. He obviously loved them. We had a taste as well, and were impressed with the freshness and tender texture.
The Husband and I split an order of the Crazy Maki — spicy tuna and shrimp tempura ($7.95). And, quite honestly, I think it was the best crazy maki I’ve ever had! Rather than the traditional inside out rolls, these were larger rolls wrapped in seaweed and covered in a spicy mayonnaise. Definitely not low fat, but absolutely delicious!
After the apps had been gobbled up, we were served miso soup, a fresh salad with ginger dressing and then our chef arrived. This part of the experience is always so much fun. The chefs generally have great personalities and try to make it a fun time for all. This chef was no exception.
He started out by squirting some kind of flammable liquid on the grill and ignited it… causing a giant burst of flames (exactly like the picture at the top of the post).
All Teppanyaki meals come with miso soup, salad, shrimp fried rice or grilled noodles ($2 extra), vegetables and then your main course (typically a type of meat). The chef starts by making the fried rice. This process beings with him taking an egg and spinning it round and round on the grill… perfectly balanced until he takes a chef’s knife to it and cracks it right open, flipping the shell into the trash with his knife (this process is ALL about the presentation).
The fried egg gets mixed into the rice with carrots, peas and seasonings.
The grilled noodles were up next and these include an assortment of vegetables that includes broccoli, bean sprouts and carrots.
As items cook, the chef distributes them to each diners plate. At this point, we all had either fried rice or noodles to nibble on. For the boy, this was his meal. They do have a kids menu with several traditional choices, but our little picky eater prefers the noodles by themselves. For the ultra picky eater, you can also get just order of plain white rice.
At our table, there was an assortment of beef, chicken, scallops, shrimp and monk fish ordered…
The chef went to town grilling everything up… serving items as they were done.
The boy noshed on his single serving of Grilled Noodles ($5.50) while we anxiously waited for our meals to finish. When it came time to cook the veggies, one of the fun things the chefs do is to create a “volcano” by stacking up the rings of sliced onion. They fill the center with something flammable and light it on fire so it looks like an eruption. Lots of fun!
For my meal, I went with the Teppanyaki Shrimp (17.95) and The Husband had the Teppanyaki Monk Fish Fillet( $17.95). Both were outstanding.
According to their website:
Kiku Yama is proud to offer a wide variety of steak, seafood and chicken on our specially designed Teppan Grill, as well as fresh sushi, sashimi, maki and shabu-shabu. Please join us, it will be our pleasure to serve you.