Scrolling through Facebook and watching Vlogs on YouTube, I've seen countless videos of people catching food with their mouths and the chef lighting their food on fire right before their eyes. Being a curious person and the foodie that I am, I knew I had to try this out. Mind you, it's taken years of people raving about it to me, but I finally decided to try Hibachi.
After a busy week of classes and exams, my friend and I decided to make a trip out to Toyo Hibachi in Colchester, CT. I was super excited, due to my naivety on the entire experience, while my friend was anxious to eat. However, when we got there, we had to wait for over 45 minutes despite the fact that we had already made a reservation.
The manager of the restaurant, however, was very gracious and explained to us that Hibachi was very popular on that particular night. She offered us an appetizer on the house, so my friend and I decided to try the gyoza, which are similar to dumplings.
After the long wait, we were finally seated at a Hibachi table. There was a huge cooking unit in the middle and a cart beside it containing a plethora of ingredients. With the menu placed in front of us, it was finally time to order.
I turned to my friend and asked her how to order, since she had tried Hibachi before. She explained to me that you choose a type of dish you'd like (i.e. vegetable, chicken, steak, etc.) and that would be accompanied with salad, soup, and a choice of fried rice or noodles. I ordered the vegetable one (I am a vegetarian).
The chef came by and started conversing with us, while pouring two different sauces in small ramekins. One was a Sriracha-mayo like sauce while the other had a strong ginger taste. The chef started by taking eggs and balancing them on his spatula.
While doing that he began to sing "I like to move it, move it," and I could already tell that it was not the end of his jokes. The chef proceeded to cook the eggs and make the fried rice and noodles.
Next, the chef began cooking the meat, for the other diners, and the vegetables for myself. While the food was cooking, he decided to entertain us further. He cut up what seemed to be cucumber and began throwing it as us so that we could catch it in our mouths. The first time I attempted to catch the food in my mouth, I failed. Surprisingly, however, the second time I tried, I caught it! Needless to say, I was very proud of myself.
The chef then proceeded to stack rings of onions. He put some oil in the center of the stack and a huge fire began before my eyes. I definitely was not expecting that.
That was the end of the theatrics. We thanked the chef for the entertaining meal and he left us to enjoy our food. Before me I had a plate of fried rice with some vegetables covered in soy sauce.
I do think that Hibachi is worth the hype. If you want to be entertained while eating, Hibachi is definitely for you. The chef made funny jokes throughout the meal and kept us on our feet with the theatrics he did. The food, however, was not as unique as I thought it would be. I would say that it is similar to the food you would order at any other Asian restaurant. Hibachi is an experience and perfect for a fun night out with your friends, but maybe not for a night when you want to try decadent food.