How to Eat at a Hibachi Restaurant. Hibachi is a Japanese cooking technique. Guests are grouped together around a large hibachi grill and the chef prepares the food right in front of you. It is a fun experience to watch the chef do tricks and make flames while cooking. Go ahead, watch them play with your food and enjoy yourself by following the steps below.
Prepare to eat with strangers. The hibachi grill is positioned in the front center of a large table. Guests are seated round the table on three sides. There are anywhere from five to 15 people at each station. It seems awkward to sit with perfect strangers and wait on them to be ready to order. Be patient and prepare to wait until the entire table is ready to order the meal.
Find the right seat. If you want to best see the show, find a seat near the center of the table. The food presentation is visible from any seat at the table, but the center seat is directly across from the chef and gets you the best view of the hibachi grill.
Budget for an expensive meal. The Hibachi restaurants are filled with lots of stations where chefs go from station to station and perform. Since there is so much more involved than a simple meal, the Hibachi restaurant must hire several chefs to perform. The meal is also time consuming, so the restaurant isn't moving people in and out as quickly as a fast food restaurant. The food is more expensive than your average restaurant. Because of all these factors, bring extra money. A dinner for a party of six can be well over $100 and the tip increases with the quality of the performance.
Make reservations, show up early, and be patient. Friday and Saturday nights are often packed at a Hibachi restaurant. Make reservations and show up earlier than the dinner rush. Even though you have reservations, prepare yourself to wait. Because of the unique experience, tables can remain occupied for longer than normal dining times. You will also need to wait for the rest of the table's party to be seated with you before you can order.
Order what you like and hold off on all the sauces. Each person is served a salad with a special Japanese dressing. The dressing sometimes has a ginger base and can be strong. The teriyaki sauce on the meats and vegetables can overpower everything else that is going on. Order it plain and then add sauces later if you need more of a kick.
Enjoy the atmosphere as much as the food. Interact with your Hibachi chef. Applaud him or her when they do a fantastic trick with your food. Ask questions, watch the flames shoot up, and don't get flustered by little things. Enjoy the show.
If you don't have reservations, show up right when the doors open and ask if they have any openings for the evening. Early in the night, they can usually squeeze you into a station with others. Sit smaller children on the corners. The corners are the farthest away from the hot surface of the grill.