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