Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teppanyaki, Sushi, Sake and Beer

I will spare you the details that led me to forget my camera when I left the motel room. Suffice it to say that while we had been running in three different directions, the camera got a relaxing night in! 

Unfortunately that means the only photos I have for this post came from my worn out Droid X.  Lesson learned: Take the camera with you!

You don't get this at Taco Bell!
Normally when we go to town, we eat somewhere nice.. Well at least nothing sub Denny's. But just as normally, when the kids are around, they entice us to eat Taco Bell! It's low cost and they are just al rotten as if we spend $35 on their diner.

Alas... Some things are worth more than money and experience is what makes life worth living. This evening, we are experiencing the masterful chef styling of a  Teppanyaki at Benihana’s in Denver.

Example 1 of the experience was the look in my daughter's eye when Carlos, our Teppanyaki chef started cooking on the grill right in front of us! Example 2 was the look on my son's face when he nearly caught a hunk of chicken, masterfully flung at him, in the mouth!

While it’s generally accepted rule that location is crucial to a successful restaurant, this one disproves that theory! Benihana’s is nestled in a mall parking lot between a construction fence and a dark corner. I guess that the true recipe for a good restaurant is atmosphere and good food!

Always willing to try something new, I opted for the Japanese beer called Sapporo. First brewed in Japan in 1876 by A German-trained brewer named Seibei Nakagawa, this light golden lager proved a good accompaniment for the light fresh flavors coming off of the grill before us!

When you order Sushi, order Sake! It just works!
The Sapporo looked much like a Coors, but conspicuously missing the metallic corn flavor that I so often get from the light lagers who sponsor sporting events. Who knew? Ditch the rice in your beer by drinking one from Japan!

I also ordered a flight of Sake. I don’t know why! I don’t like Sake! I keep thinking that some day I will happen upon one that will open my eye to the koji fermented rice slurry... But I don’t ever seem to.
The Benihana roll

 I do have to admit that the sake was better when used to rinse down some of the sushi, and in fact was quite enjoyable for the task. The roll I ordered was called the Benihana roll, and included several types of fish, and had a nice vein of avocado running through it’s entire length. The creamy avocado really freshened up the admittedly gamey fish and made the whole thing work very well.

The antics of the chef entertained us for nearly an hour. Tossing food and tools here and there, throwing things at fellow chefs and catching shrimp tails in his hat, all while preparing beef that more than satisfied my group of carnivorous diners! Shrimp and lobster that should not be missed and a chicken fried rice that was worth the price of admission!

I understand that the Teppanyaki style of cooking is not readily available to most consumers, but I’ll bet if you look hard enough you can find one somewhere close enough to put on your “To-Do” list!

If you get the chance, pull up a seat and watch for flying fish....parts!


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