What is the difference between hibachi and teppanyaki? As far as I can tell, nothing. But for some reason, the British and Americans decided to take two completely different and perfectly serviceable Japanese words and use them to mean the same thing. Dinner and a show.
It was Boston restaurant week, a week where “fancy” restaurants put on set menus for cheap. In England, this looks very much like an Opentable deal of the day, but Norah was still excited and Rachel, one of our hosts, excitedly Googled and came up with Osaka.
Earlier in the day we had drunk beer, ubered across town and had coffee with Norah’s aunt and cousin. The conversation over coffee was very good, and as result we were running late. But running all the same, much to Norah’s chagrin. “Cardio!” became my word of the trip, and I led us in the two mile run from coffee shop to restaurant.
They made us wait in the bar until our full party of eight had arrived.
Rob, our other host, invited one of his co-workers, her sister, and two more in their posse along. One of the guys in the posse was from Blackpool but had long since lost any trace of that accent. We could have spoken more but it seemed that we had little else in common aside from our Englishness.
People were excited about the flaming fishbowl cocktails. The alcohol was weak apart from at the very bottom. It tasted sugary. Norah sipped from the flame pit, as did Rachel. Apparently the kids of Leesburg, VA are well seasoned in this past-time.
Sashimi to start. Norah had shrimp. Rachel had moneybags, or coin purses, I think moneybags – wontons. I wish I had gone for the wontons. The fish was fresh, but you can get sushi anywhere, and on my American trip I wanted deep fried rather than healthy. I also wanted American, not Asian, but apparently Asian is the new American.
Steak and lobster for entree. The steak was good for a sushi steak but won’t be going down as a steak to recommend; lobster is lobster, the least decadent tasting of the decadent foods. Norah ordered shrimp and (what she thought was also scallop but turned out to just be shrimp) and egg fried rice and veg. The chef put on his usual show of throwing courgette (zucchini) into our mouths/general mouth area, setting fires and squirting us with water. It was impressive, but over all too quickly. My experience at Sapporo Teppanyaki was more enthralling even though the restaurant only had ten people in it, and this seems like an experience that would be best in a big group. The food was less filling too.
The two fours of our eight were quite separated. With so much going on around the meal itself, this shouldn’t be regarded as a restaurant that is suitable for deep heart to hearts. But nobody thought that about hibachi anyway.
Dessert came. I thought it was per person but it was to share. Mochi ice cream. The texture was gummy and intriguing, the taste was on the blander side of tasty.
Our small gathering later became a party and even later a hangover and days of tiredness.