A popular tepanyaki joint that doesn’t fail to serve up some decent sushi 3 Reviews
Unlimited sushi and sashimi, along with other Japanese goodies, for just Dhs209 per person or Dhs267 with selected beverages Timings: 6pm-10pm (Saturday)
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The point of eating at this international food chain is to experience the joys of watching your food be prepared in front of you at the hibachi grill. After all, with all that knife and spatula juggling going on, you know the chefs at Benihana aren’t just there to cook for you. As it happens, however, we have no children and are not the types to be wowed by flying food. In fact, we find the dexterous juggling antics of chefs more embarrassing than impressive (because when you fail to reciprocate the enthusiasm, you don’t quite know where to look or what to do with your limbs).
We left the hibachi grill to the families then, and opted for a more quiet and contemplative dining experience outdoors. The waterside seating out back at Benihana is an almost romantic getaway right in the heart of the Tourist Club Area’s ugly bustle. Thumbs up also for the service staff, who were polite, informed and very accommodating. When we required a certain item on our set meal to be changed, they not only complied, they even had suggestions about alternatives. Awesome.
So we didn’t actually watch the tepanyaki spectacle, but this doesn’t mean we’d pass off the opportunity to partake in some. Our choice was the tepanyaki grilled salmon, which came with salad, soup and a prawn appetizer which we promptly switched for agedashi tofu. The tofu was firm and seasoned well, but it was the clear onion soup that stole the show. If you’re feeling adventurous, replace your usual miso with this hearty broth for a change.
The tepanyaki grilled salmon was a decent choice that had us wondering if we would have been blown away, had we chosen a less humble fish, and gone for the black cod for instance. No matter, perhaps next time. The sushi, on the other hand, and the Unagi special maki in particular, very nearly did come close to blowing us away. This maki was tender, creamy and exploding with flavours accentuated (not drowned out) by the chilli mayonnaise. It also happened to be topped with a generous helping of the the freshest eel we have tasted in Abu Dhabi thus far. The salmon sashimi, which was not so fresh, paled in comparison.
Now our evening would have gone swimmingly if we hadn’t been greedy and ordered desert. But when you spy a menu item called ‘tempura ice-cream with red beans’, there is little else to do but say, ‘I don’t mind if I do.’ To top off this dire mistake we sat entertaining thoughts ice-cream melting out of a still sizzling batter. What materialised were two scoops of below-par vanilla partially wrapped in what appeared to be slightly stale sponge. A word of warning, don’t let bad desert rain on a good dinner.
The bill (for two)
Unagi Special Maki Dhs80
Banzai Roll Dhs48
Salmon Sashimi Dhs62
Tepanyaki Grilled Salmon Dhs122
Ice Cream Tempura Dhs35
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