THE last time we visited Benihana we saw a female guest toss an egg so high that it cracked on the ceiling. She’d not gone crazy – she’d been invited by one of the chefs to attempt one of his culinary tricks, which involved spinning an uncooked egg on the Teppanyaki grill, launching the egg in the air with a spatula, catching the egg with the spatula, then cracking it with a flourish. The lady had failed spectacularly. And it was hilarious.
Humour is one of the key ingredients of the Benihana dining experience. Sit at any of the restaurant’s Teppanyaki cooking stations and you’ll be treated to a fun-packed culinary show. The chefs will grill meats before your eyes, but they won’t just cook. They’ll also perform magic tricks, juggle salt shakers, and even throw ingredients into the air and catch them in their hats. It’s great fun for all ages.
While the Teppanyaki stations and the Hibachi style of dining have been the highlight of the restaurant since it opened in 1992, a recent redesign has seen the introduction of a sushi bar where guests can now sit and enjoy handcrafted sushi, sashimi and other raw seafood delicacies such as lobster, crab and oysters. A large display cabinet has also been added which is stocked with all kinds of sakes. These can be drunk neat or as the base in one of the many unique Japanese cocktails on offer.
The restaurant’s menu has also been upgraded, and now alongside the Hibachi (Japanese Grill) selections are a wide range of appetizers, salads, soups, Donburi, and, of course, the aforementioned sushi and sashimi.
New menu highlights include the Fireball (350++ baht), a spicy tuna tartar and avocado roll laced with Thai sriracha hot sauce, spicy mayo and shaved scallions; and Toro Tartar (425++ baht), fatty tuna chopped with scallions and smelt roe and topped with crispy tortilla chip, black flying fish roe, shari spicy mayo, and shaved tempura shallots.
The real action though is still at the Teppanyaki tables where a selection of combination menus are available ranging in price from 455++ baht to 4,500++ baht. All choices, whether it be a US certified Angus steak or succulent Maine Lobster, come with onion soup, salad, shrimp appetizer, hibachi vegetables, steamed rice and hot green tea.
Must tries include the Deadliest Catch (1,750++ baht), featuring Alaskan crab claw, snow fish, Parma ham, and saffron cream butter; and Kobe Konnexion (1,850++ baht), featuring thin slivers of classic Kobe with US scallops and pepper butter.
Benihana is designed in a contemporary Japanese style with veneer finished wooden pillars joined by modern ironwork. Granite table tops, suspended pendant lights, and a striking red and black colour scheme give the restaurant a trendy and classy look, but it still retains a warm atmosphere that makes you feel at home.
Benihana is open for lunch 11.30am – 2.30pm, and dinner from 6pm – 10.30pm. A private room for up to 16 people is available.
Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, Tel: 02 476 0022 email: firstname.lastname@example.org (complimentary shuttle boat from Saphan Taksin BTS every 20 mins)