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Feb 16, 2009 05:53 PM

Bizarre craving for Teppanyaki...any place other than Benihana?

I know, even I think it's bizarre...but true. The only place I can think of is Benihana in Encino (& ummm, eww. No.) Where else could I go? Are the other Benihana branches better? Is there somewhere else entirely I should look?

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  1. I looked into this once before and couldn't find anything good. I think someone told me that even in Japan, teppanyaki is on the hokey/touristy side.

    3 Replies
    1. re: noahbites

      try the old new otani hotel in little tokyo. one of the best! and i had teppan in japan and didn't think it was touristy....i had one of the best beef (matsuzaka beef) at teppan in japan.

      1. re: noahbites

        Someone is giving you bad information in that case. Teppanyaki in Japan runs the gamut from okonomiyaki on the low end to steakhouses on the high-end. Like this place: in Torrance. Okonomiyaki places like Gaja would also be considered a teppanyaki place if this were Japan. However, this isn't Japan, and it's unfortunate that the word "teppanyaki" has grown to be synonymous with the Benihana style entertainment-oriented mediocrity that was the brainchild of Rocky Aoki (RIP) and all its copycats. Aoki definitely recognized a moneymaking concept to draw Americans and so yes, we have the hokey-touristy version of "teppanyaki" that dominates the American scene.

        But don't believe for a second that a teppanyaki place in Japan has anything to do with the version that has become popular in the US. If you're interested, you can click through some of the links to the ranked teppanyaki shops in Tokyo on Tabelog (a user review site). The search yielded 561 shops.
        (I should note that the listing of 561 shops seem to indicate restaurants that incorporate teppanyaki cooking in their menus, and not places solely dedicated to teppanyaki style cooking).

        And here's a good example of a high-end teppanyaki restaurant that came up in a Google search for "teppanyaki tokyo" (in Japanese).

        As for hokey/tourist, I'm sure there are versions of that in Japan too, but I think it's best to put that in the category of ninja-themed, or girls-in-maid-costume-theme restaurants.

        1. re: E Eto

          E.E.: I don't know about whether it's touristy or not, but the guy who did the photo-work for kaika's website shoots some good food porn...

      2. Where are you? There's a place called Shogun that's pretty decent. Locations in Pasadena and La Verne.

          1. Agreeing as I do with those who find teppanyaki a little ... inauthentic ... the best I've had locally is Mori in Glendale.

            Mori Teppan Grill
            120 W Stocker St, Glendale, CA 91202

            1. I think Yamato, also in Encino is as good a Benihana but is roughly a third cheaper price wise. Quality of food is the same and you get the same show in terms of the chef doing the tricks with the knives and such...

              I actually crave it from time to time - I think the steak and scallop combo with fried rice is pretty tasty actually, and very filling.

              Yamato Japanese Restaurant
              17200 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316