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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Benihana Japanese Teppanyaki Anantara Bangkok Riverside

Benihana Japanese Teppanyaki Restaurant @ Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort and Spa

Hibachi Dinner, U.S. Scallops, Atlantic salmon, U.S. beef, Tajima Wagyu, Australian Angus

Overall Score  8/10

Taste   3/5
Ambiance  5/5
Service  5/5
Value   3/5

See Benihana @ Anantara Bangkok on BumRes.com

If you were to look for a Teppanyaki or a Japanese grilling show, many of you may already have a couple of places in your mind.  I bet that the Benihana is one of them.  The Benihana is a well known establishment specializes in Teppanyaki.  The one in Bangkok has been in business for about 20 years.  We have two locations in Thailand; Bangkok and Pattaya.  There are over a hundred of branches worldwide.  The Benihana is known as the Eaterainment disguised in the Teppanyaki style cooking.  Performance of the chef is the attraction that entertains customer throughout their meals.  I have been to the Benihana once as a child.  At that time, this location was still the Marriott.  I was thinking about it so, about time I check it out again.  Now the hotel establish has become the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa and the Benihana was also newly renovated.    

The Benihana @ Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa’s new interior decoration expressed the modern Japanese design feel.  The dining area revolved around Japanese zen garden.  The grand bamboo display in the Japanese garden was beautiful.  It was how I remembered this place when I came here over ten years ago.  The Benihana  has dedicated most of the area inside the restaurant to the Hibachi Dinner or Teppanyaki.  Hibachi, in Japanese mean charcoal grill but it is often refers to cooking show over the iron griddle.  Besides, the private rooms intended for group parties to enjoy the Hibachi, there was a small zone with regular tables for customers who want to enjoy just the Sushi.  The rest of the tables were bar seating surrounding the Teppanyaki flat grill.  There were so many Teppanyaki  grilling tables, I was wondering if there had enough chefs to station at each one.  Well, only a few minutes into the lunch hours the whole place was full of customers.  To my surprise, the Benihana had chefs performing their amusing cooking show at every single table.  The customer service at Benihana was definitely pleasing.  All staffs were nice and friendly.  I like how the chefs were making fun of each other as they walk by the table.    

For the lunch at Benihana, we had some specialty dishes from the sushi bar in addition to the hibachi dishes.  For the specialty dishes, we had the Tai Ceviche or Red snapper sliced sashimi style with yuzu citrus and seasoned with Hawaiian pink salt and sriracha hot sauce, topped with micro cilantro (425 baht).  I really liked the presentation.   This dish was served in a tall martini glass.  It seems like Japanese dishes tend to be served in a fancier way nowadays.  With the sriracha hot sauce, its taste was still rather mild.  It must be the avocado that made this dish more like a ceviche.  I personally thought that a ceviche should be more tangy and spicy.  In general, the impression was just like any standard sashimi salad found elsewhere.  

We have two orders of the maki rolls.  The first one was the Dragon roll, made with crab and avocado, wrapped with eel and avocado topped with tobiko (350 baht).  This one was beautifully garnished.  Ingredients were good quality and tasted fresh.  Its light mayo sauce was simply good .  The second one was the White ninja, which is made with spicy tuna, asparagus and avocado wrapped in sea bass with tobiko (450 baht), also garnished similarly to the first roll.  However the sauce had a nice spicy bite in addition to the spicy tuna.  I really like it; the combination was distinctive.  All of its contexts came together to a one tasty roll.  I recommend the White Ninja to spice up your eatertainment experience. 

Fresh off the hot grilling pan, we had a few choices to share in the party of four; US Scallops (950 baht) and the Sake and saba teriyaki with Atlantic salmon and Japanese mackerel in sweet soy sauce (750 baht), and Hibachi rice or garlic fried rice (175 baht).  At the Benihana @ Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, food from the grill or Hibachi set will come with onion soup, salad, shrimp, stir-fried vegetables, white rice, and green tea.  The light onion soup was quite basic but tasted nice.  The salad was made with basic lettuce and its sesame dressing was really delicious. 
While we enjoyed the starters, the Chef arrived with the biggest smile on his face.  He was a funny one with a pocket full of tricks.  Let the show begins.  He started dancing with his spatula, jiggling the spices shaker, and drumming with his forks and spatula.  He did all this as he cooked the food.  Our chef was an expert.  He has been doing this for a couple of years already.  Just like other qualified chef; all of them have been trained well.  So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.  The Benihana categorize the performance as the Eatertainment.  What a brilliant idea! 

The first seafood on the Hibachi was the shrimp.  Grilled shrimps for everyone were a wonderful addition to the set.  The chef cooked the shrimp and separated the shell on the side.  Then he will ask you if you want the tails.  I suggest that you don’t refuse it because the chef fried it with butter and soy; it turned out to be so crispy and tasty.  For the main course, we only had the seafood but there is also good quality meat available, such as the U.S. beef, Tajima Wagyu, or Australian Angus.   The main course was absolutely the highlight of this meal.  I really enjoyed the U.S. Scallops and the Salmon.  We had three choices of sauce on the table; white cream, light special soy, and spicy brown sauce.  I mixed and matched the sauces over everything, which made all the freshly pan-grilled seafood goodies even more delicious.             

The Benihana, when compared to other Japanese teppanyaki restaurants in Bangkok, the price is a bit higher.  To get the top quality ingredients, attentive service, beautiful modern Japanese atmosphere, and the joyful cooking show in return, the money was resolutely well spent.  The Benihana is perfect for a family eat out.  In fact, not only kids who will enjoy the Hibachi cooking tricks, I am sure the adults will love it too.  So, for grownups, you can go to the Benihana for their expansive selection of premium grade Sake imported from Japan.  A sake specialist there can advise you what kind of sake is best to pair with your Hibachi dinner.  To keep up with the Japanese food trend in Bangkok and you want a nice change from any typical Japanese restaurant, Benihana sure has a wonderful and unique Japanese meal experience to offer everyone.   

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