life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, October 25, 2009

the artistry of Japanese cooking

Ever since Drew and I got back together, we have been on a culinary "world tour" of sorts -- everything ethnic or pseudo-ethnic on Long Island. tonight we went to Benihana, the famed Japanese steakhouse. So ok, it's a chain....but I think they do "Japanese steakhouse" better than most of the smaller places around here.

In most restaurants, the preparation of the food is done in the kitchen, what matters is the presentation. Last week we ate in a Chinese restaurant where the platters of food arrived adorned with flowers carved from vegetables. In a Japanese steakhouse, the hibachi chef cooks the food in front of you -- the preparation of the food is the center of attention, the evening's entertainment. At Benihana the chef prepares the food without a lot of cutesy tricks and corny jokes, so that the artistry of his cooking technique is the focus. I found myself really enjoying watching him.

From the website:

In Japan, the preparation of food is an art form. At Benihana, we have elevated it to the art of entertainment, with chefs skilled in the teppanyaki — or hibachi — cooking tradition, to the delight of diners and their appetites.

Characterized by an intricate combination of presentation and knife skills, teppanyaki cooking has developed into a highly refined and beautiful form of expression. Benihana is proud to have introduced the elegant art of teppanyaki cooking to America when our first restaurant opened in New York in 1964.

and the food ....well, we started off the evening with Haiku coladas (pina coladas with a swirl of strawberry mixed in), and dined on shrimp and steak and fried rice, pretty standard fare but oh so yummy....and finished off the meal with vanilla ice cream.

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