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Can you ask them to "hold the show" at those Japanese steakhouses?!

I don't always like the Japanese steakhouses, but there's a pretty good one by our home. We would like to go there more often, but don't really want to sit through the "show"! Is there anyway you can go and eat the food, but not be entertained, or are any of the options just rude beyond belief? It's tiring enough just to insist over and over again that "No thank you, I don't really want to catch a shrimp in my mouth! No really, thank you"! Is there any solution besides getting a slab griddle in our home?!

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  1. When I was a kid there was a small local place that asked you in advance if you wanted "juggling" or not.

    Why not quietly ask the host or manager to have the chef just cook the meal without any theatrics. Tell them that you much prefer a quiet and calm meal and enjoy just watching the skills of the chef doing the actual cooking and that the reason you come to their restaurant is for the quality of the food. Of course you would have to probably go at a time when you either have a full table or the place is quiet enough that there is no one else seated at the table with you.

    1. The only thing worse is to be ambushed in the middle of a great paella by strolling mariachis

      7 Replies
      1. re: beevod

        Uh, especially since Mariachis are Mexican and what the hell are they doing in a Spanish place? (where you'd be eating your paella.) Is it a roaming gang of vigilante mariachis?!

        1. re: chow_gal

          What's worse is when you're eating your paella and some old guy riding a donkey with a lance keeps asking where the windmills are at.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            He'll leave you alone if you give him directions! It's that little guy, Sancho, that really bugs me!

            Back on topic.
            I think that if you're going to request no "entertainment" then you should go with a larger party so you can have the table to yourself. Many times families with kids go for the show. This way you get to enjoy your meal and the young ones get to enjoy theirs.

          2. re: chow_gal

            I was talking about Mariachis Without Borders -- under the auspices of the United Nations.

            1. re: beevod

              Beevod, I have been really disappointed with Mariachis Without Borders. All of my contributions have gone been
              "redirected" to Mariachi/Polka cross over albums. What's more, the United Nations "Peace Keepers" have pimped out the Sudanese cage dancers none of whom know how to cook.

              1. re: Walters


                "Mariachis Without Borders" -- I love it!

          3. re: beevod

            We were frightened out of a small 25 seat Mexican resto by a 21 piece mariachi band one night. They outnumbered the diners at the time.

          4. I've only been a couple of times to places here in Toronto that do this and there is always the option of ordering from the teppanyaki table without actually sitting at it (i.e. you food is cooked there, but you sit a neighbouring table). That's how they handle it if you want to be part of the show, then you sit up beside the teppanyaki table -- if you don't, then sit nearby.

            1. Are you referring to Benihana? At least in the Bay ARea there's a few teppanyaki houses that don't put on a show and aren't Benihana. I think you have to find another place.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ML8000

                No, it's a local place.

                Most of the people around here like the show, so we haven't found one where they don't have the entertainment.

                1. re: Katie Nell

                  It's the same here (Philly) even our higher end teppanyaki spots with entrees in the mid twenties to forties put on the show. And I am willing to tolerate the show, but I couldn't help laughing when I read your initial post - it's not that they ask you to catch a shrimp in your mouth, it's that they really don't want to take no for an answer!! I kind of expect it from the guys at the suburban teppanyaki, but when you go downtown and are dressed for an evening out in an otherwise elegant restaurant I would think they wouldn't expect you to do seal tricks at the table!

              2. The only reason I might go to a place like that is for the show. Maybe it's the places I've been but I've never liked the food. I've been to Benihana's and a few local places. I don't like the group atmophere where they seat you w/ other parties, either. Bah humbug...;-)

                1 Reply
                1. re: chowser

                  I know, I don't really like the group situation either... just ask me about my worst eating experience EVER... let's just say that my husband bought me the biggest can of pepper spray you've ever seen after that dinner!!! I felt like a bit of a fuddy dud posting this topic, but oh well! ;-)

                2. Oh Katie, how I wish the answer could be an easy and emphatic 'yes!' We have a place like this in north Baltimore, outside the city proper, where unfortunately the only option is straight up sideshow theatrics. The last (and only) time we went I caught a shrimp. In. My. Eye.

                  I went through two or three glasses of wine before I was able to open it again without tearing up.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: asiege2

                    How awful! The cook probably thought you liked the show and were trying to hit on him! (Wink, wink!)

                  2. The place near us lets you sit at a table, not the big grill. You can order the hibachi, and they just make it at the same time they are giving someone else the show.

                    Of course, we always sit at the grill. My 6 year old loves the little bottle that "pees" soy sauce.

                    1. while on the subject, I remembered this news item...

                      "Jury quickly skewers death-by-shrimp lawsuit"


                      1. I simply don't go, because I've never been able to get them to stop. Benihana is terrible anyway -- the food has absolutely no FLAVOUR, not even after being dunked in those dubious sauces -- but the first time, I didn't know about the food throwing, and he missed anyway, and I was furious.

                        The manager said, "Why didn't you ask him not to throw a shrimp at you?" I replied, "I did, but he just smiled and threw it anyway!"

                        Never again. There are so many steakhouses out there that I don't need to go to a seafood kabuki.