The Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse, located on Route 1, in Portsmouth, NH, would appear like the typical restaurant experience as you first enter, but once inside its walls there are geysers of flame and interesting chants throughout its landscape. When we first walked in the doors, a friendly host immediately greeted us, and there was a short wait before we were seated. It was all the more time we had to experience the surroundings. We sat on a comfortable bench with a large fish tank behind us. This worked as a rather unique device for keeping a child’s attention. This includes my three-year-old son, who is not fond of waiting for anything. It seemed to keep the adults busy as well.
Soon enough we were seated with a few other people. Usually, when you go to a restaurant, you sit with the party you came with. To our surprise, we were literally seated with a few other people. Yes, they sat with us. All of us were seated around a large grill that stood in front of us. We were separated from the grill by a small bar, which acted as our table.
We were handed menus, which had specific entrees composed mostly of chicken, steak and shrimp. I ordered the steak, and my companions ordered the combo of all three. We also had the option of a variety of appetizers including several varieties of sushi. The chef took our orders and came back shortly with warm moist face cloths so we could wash our hands. Our appetizers were served shortly after. While we were eating our appetizers, quite to my surprise the chef squirted lines of oil on the grill. I’ll stop here, and let you know, it is normally difficult to bring a three year old to a restaurant without them getting cranky, but my three year old was about to be entranced as was the rest of us.
Yes folks, the oil was set on fire. I’m not talking a small flame, rather a small bonfire that was hot enough to feel the heat from. The chef was extremely friendly and turned from a chef to an entertainer in a matter of seconds. Our unique restaurant experience just got a whole lot more exciting. Tossing knives around his back and twirling them like a swordsman in a circus, the chef finally settled into pouring our vegetables onto the grill. He continued to chop away, and then there was a toss. Though we taught our son, not to play with food, we figured this be an okay exception to the rule. We all took a turn at opening our mouths so the chef could practice his aim.
We were lucky enough to be seated with a boy who was celebrating his birthday. Instead of the typical dreaded birthday song you get at other restaurants, we were involved in a unique cultural exchange as several staff came over to greet the birthday boy a chant unlike the average American Happy Birthday song. It was absolutely amazing.
After our meal was completely prepared in front of us, which I have to say, is a safe feeling given the stories about restaurants, we were ready to relax and eat. The food was absolutely awesome. The steak I had was tender and the chicken and shrimp were, from what I told great as well. We even had enough to take home.
When we looked at our checks, we were ultimately surprised. The prices were average, and compared to those of surrounding restaurants in the area, like AppleBeesÃ?Â®, 99Ã?Â®, Longhorn, and The Outback. None of these restaurants however add up to the beautiful relaxing atmosphere and entertainment that The Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse has.
The bill ran us about $120, including the tip for three adults and one small child. We all got appetizers, a couple of drinks, and of course we ordered desert for the little one. It has by far become my favorite restaurant to visit, and has been indeed a cultural experience filled with surprises and unique experiences every time you visit. I recommend this restaraunt to anyone who wishes to have a unique dining experience and is in the New Hampshire Seacoast area. It is located on Route 1 in Portsmouth, NH.