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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: http://www.steakhousekobe.com/ 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. http://r.tabelog.com/rst/rstlst/?PG=1...
        (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

              1. If you're down in OC then Chomp does teppan. No recommendation for or against. For some reason when I think of teppanyaki all I can picture is US 192 in Kissimmee, FL -- ugh. But then again, I haven't had really awesome teppan so who knows, maybe it exists.

                  1. re: schrutefarms

                    It's a chain restaurant. Like Starbuck$ is uncool too.

                    1. re: monku

                      I don't eat or drink at places to be cool. I like what I like, and I like Benihanas.

                    2. re: schrutefarms

                      What's wrong with Benihana?

                      No seasoning, tons of butter, does not make for a quality meal

                      Seriously, the fried rice is like 50% butter, 30% rice, 20% other.

                        1. re: ns1

                          "Seriously, the fried rice is like 50% butter, 30% rice, 20% other."

                          Oooooh, that sounds WONDERFUL!

                          1. re: maxzook

                            Glad you guys are easy to please. I guess...

                            1. re: ns1

                              I'm with you... that sounds revolting.

                              1. re: ns1

                                OK, sorry, I'm back under control again ... phrases like "50% butter" just set me off, I guess.

                              1. re: monku

                                A third of a teaspoon?? So, two chunks of carrot? I think maybe someone scaled down a large-scale recipe without thinking about whether people actually had, um, thirds of a teaspoon measuring devices.

                                And seven teaspoons of butter for four ounces of cooked rice is just... blech. Four ounces of cooked rice, according to the various calorie counting sites, is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10 Tbsp (that's with 185g per cup of cooked rice). 2 1/3 Tbsp. butter to 10 Tbsp. rice is shockingly greasy, even if ns1 was indulging in hyperbole.

                                I know that's not the recipe for fried rice at any Chinese restaurant -- for one thing, they use oil, not butter, and not nearly in that proportion.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  The rice is probably the least of why I go...I really like their ginger dressing, onion soup, and teriyaki beef. BTW, I didn't realize so many CH's were so healthy, what with all the "Best Burger" threads, and "Where can I find a REAL Ripper Hot Dog", and "Who has the best Fried Chicken", etc, etc, etc....Funny that some butter is such a big deal....

                                  1. re: schrutefarms

                                    It's not about health, it's about what tastes good; and copius amounts of butter on top of crap is not good food, it's crap loaded with butter.

                                    Of course, this is just my opinion.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      It's delicious crap loaded with butter--of course, this is just my opinion.

                              2. re: ns1

                                Mediocre ingredients and nothing that tastes good are what's wrong with Benihana.

                              3. re: schrutefarms

                                I went to the one in Encino for a birthday a couple of years ago & the experience was not good. Dirty restaurant that smelled of damp, mildewy carpet & old grease. And the ridiculously overpriced drinks weren't even strong enough to dull the pain.

                              4. In north OC, there's a teppanyaki place in Anaheim Hills off Santa Ana Canyon Road at Fairmont Blvd a couple doors down from Yosuke Sushi that's good. One evening, we were served by a Russian gentleman who spoke fluent Japanese. They had great seafood and an excellent fried rice. If in the mood for teppan, I'd return in an instant.

                                1. There is a Benihana in Beverly Hills on La Cienga. There is a tappanyaki place at the Grove that is okay.

                                  1. That is a bizarre craving... For an equally bizarre trip back to the 70's, complete with neon-lit fountain:

                                    8649 Firestone, Downey

                                    1. KOBE in Seal Beach is where I go

                                      Kobe' Japanese Steak House
                                      3001 Old Ranch Pkwy, Seal Beach, CA 90740

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: RamFan

                                        I live near Shogun, maybe should try it based on the rec above.

                                        Sambi of Tokyo on Firestone in Downey IS a trip. The decor, the menu, the sushi bar, the help, the clientele, the whole place. I used to work nearby in the 80s and used to have lunch there a lot (usually sushi or a bento box combo type meal), and I was there recently, and it really had not changed much at all. It was very busy and the teppan areas in the back were pretty much full.

                                      2. Thank you Gordy for asking this question because up until now I didn't know what the term for this type of food was. While in New Zealand a few years back, I had the most amazing calamari dish that was served this way at the only Japanese place we could find in the small town we were in that didn't serve teriyaki chicken sushi (bleh!) So thanks all for suggesting some places that are NOT Benihana...

                                        Everything Open 24 Hours!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kushnerom

                                          the old "otani hotel" is now kyoto grand hotel and teppan place is called garden grill


                                        2. I like New Kingswood Teppan Steak House in SGV. It's Taiwanese style teppanyaki which means cheaper but more flavorful. I like their chicken with sliced garlic (lots of it)and black pepper sauce. Their fried rice and vegetables are also tastier than Benihana.

                                          New Kingswood Tapen Steak House
                                          250 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                          1. Musha on Reseda in Northridge was always good. Matsu in Huntington Beach (Talbert & Beach) is also very good.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: CynD

                                              I don't know where Musha is but Musashi on Tampa and Nordhoff has Teppan Tables. They also have a regular menu.

                                            2. Nanbankan in West LA

                                              ugh Benihana...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: eggmonster

                                                Nanbankan is robatayaki more than teppanyaki.

                                                Benihana is horrid. Garden Grill in Little Tokyo is still my fave teppanyaki in L.A.

                                              2. I crave Benihana. I love their filet mignon, salads and rice.. yum! Some Benihanas are better than others. It depends on the chef you get that day as well as the sauces they give you.

                                                Anyway, I may be missing something because it is very late while I type. However I dont think anyone has mentioned Tokyo Wako. It's a chain place like Benihana. Their shrimps are nicer than Benihana. I just ate at the one in Pasadena today for lunch. The filet mignon was $13/$14.