When I was in elementary school and my sister and I got good grades, my parents would sometimes take us to Benihana for dinner as a reward. And later, we'd go for birthdays and other special occasions. Their fried rice is my favorite in the city--probably more to do with nostalgia than objectivity. And how can you not love food that has been cooked in front of you while your chef throws shrimp tails into his hat and makes volcanoes out of onion rings?
I've been thinking about Benihana a lot for the past month or two and since my grades were all A's, I decided to treat myself to a totally indulgent dinner out. I went alone. Jess doesn't generally like Chinese (or in this case Japanese) food, and they only have one vegetarian option anyway. I lucked out and got a table with a family of five who didn't feel the need to talk to me. I read contentedly during most of the cooking.
Usually, I get the Benihana Delight with chicken and shrimp, but I really wanted scallops and life is short so I went for the seafood combo and didn't regret it. Except when it was over and I wished I could come back again the next night.
When I was little the chef hats were color coded so you could tell who was still in training. Green hats were OK chefs, but red hats were the best. Now it seems everyone has red hats, so I'm not sure if the system is still in place. Our chef had horrible aim and seemed to just toss the shrimp tails at people randomly. But he did make a good volcano and more importantly, the food was scrumptious. I always ask for a side of the ginger salad dressing as an extra dip. It's also a good way to end up with extra you can take home, without paying $4.00 for a side. I figured I was giving them enough money anyway.
I probably should've stopped eating a lot sooner than I did, but it was so good, I just decided to see how much my belly could stretch. I did manage to take home a little bit of leftover shrimp and veggies which were excellent the next day.
I expect I'll work very hard when school starts again on Monday.