Friday, July 11, 2014

A date night for two: Teppan-yaki style with Benihana

Date nights.

Can we please start out by talking about how amazing they are, and how they do not come around often enough when one has children. I know that we vowed to make it a priority once a month, but gosh darn it, those months sure do have a funny way of sneaking up on you. Before you know it, you realize it's been too long since you actually got all dolled up, left the kids with family, and went out just the two of you. Months. Sure, there are the weekly date nights in-- a bottle of wine, some freshly cut slices of cheese and crackers to go with, and a really cozy spot on the couch where you catch the next greatest hit on netflix while cuddling up to your loved one. And if we are going to be completely honest here, one may even end up passing out halfway through the movie, meaning you are on your way upstairs at the late hour of 9:30 p.m. That one may or may not be me most times than not.

So if we are comparing the two "date nights," then I would definitely have to say I pick the former.  
On Tuesday we had that opportunity and we took full advantage of it. I had my sister come over to watch the kids, and I was able to sneak out and get a quick haircut. I had time to curl my hair, or attempt it I should say, and even looked up a  few you-tube videos for hairstyles. Unfortunately, my expertise in this department is lacking greatly, so I did some half-up bump do, and I'm pretty sure I did that completely wrong as well. I wore a sparkly little top, some black pants {some people call them fancy leggings}, and threw on my favorite pair of wedges. I waited for my handsome husband to get dressed himself, and was briefly taken aback by his good looks when he came down the stairs.
And then we were off.

Andrew opened doors for me, he held my hand, gave me sweet kisses, and we giggled like silly teenagers during the drive. We pulled into the parking lot, and immediately noticed the inviting entrance. Across the building were big bold red letters reading: Benihana, an authentic Japanese restaurant. Upon noticing the parking lot full, Andrew proceeded to look at me and said exactly what I was thinking, "Isn't it a Tuesday night?" This was a good sign for two reasons— one, the environment would be pleasantly loud {there's something soothing about a room full of laughter and chatter}, and two because they were obviously doing something right. Soon, we would find out exactly what that something right was. First timers, and we were already pleased before even stepping foot into the door.

We didn't have a reservation and were still able to get in within 10 minutes of arriving. We were placed at a table with 3 other couples, one that happened to be celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary, another that was on their first date, and one more that was probably on their third or fourth date, if we had to guess. Your first question may be, "why were you sitting at a table with strangers?" Great question. It is the set-up of the restaurant where all the tables are made to fit larger groups, and so when you come as a couple, you actually get thrown in there {in a good way} with people you may not know. It's a pleasant change, and it reminds us that we should be more open to others around us. That there really is nothing awkward about sitting next to a complete stranger. It's kind of refreshing.

Another reason why you are placed at a table with others is because the center of the table has a large stove where your chef will stand and make your food right in front of you—it's known as "Teppan-yaki" style. Ours didn't just cook a meal, he put on a performance.  Our chef made music with his tools, he threw shrimp into his hat, and he tossed things in the air— immediately grasping your attention and leaving you wondering what he will do next.

There is something to be said about the art of cooking, and we couldn't help but smile the entire time.

Every entree is served onion soup, a hibachi shrimp appetizer, hibachi vegetables, and steamed rice. Let me let you in on a little secret---I don't even eat shrimp. I haven't had shrimp since I first tried it 15+ years ago. And here I am, devouring it without leaving a bite on the table. I tried a soup that I normally wouldn't have ordered, and there was not an ounce left in my bowl. And if you thought that perhaps I didn't leave room for my main dish and dessert, you are very much mistaken. I would have licked my plate clean if it wasn't so improper, but I resisted the urge, and instead shared a cheers and a kiss with my husband.

Throughout our dining experience we heard one birthday song to the next, and even had the chance to celebrate with the couple at our table for their anniversary. Let me tell you, I'm already planning to have someone's birthday at Benihana–maybe for my kids, or my husband, or maybe even for myself {hint hint}. From the instruments they pass around to the dancing and loud singing, you cannot help but feel happy for complete strangers that you may not know or see again. It's as if the entire restaurant celebrates with them. And does so in a genuine way.

We walked out of the restaurant that night with full bellies, happy hearts, a to-go sample or sushi, and of course big smiles on our faces. A restaurant that started in 1964 with only one location in New York, is now celebrating 50 years with 78 locations. It is no surprise to us why it has grown so popular, and why people choose to go there.

A parking lot full on a late Tuesday night? Means there are a lot of happy customers out there. Us being two of them.

So if you and your loved one are due for a date night out, if you have a birthday party you want to celebrate with family and/or friends, or if you are just looking for a quality good meal and a fun and exciting environment, then be sure to check and see if you have a Benihana near you and give it a try.

I assure you, you will be more than pleased that you did.

I was provided gift cards to give my honest review of Benihana. No other compensation was received, and as always, all opinions stated are that of my own.


  1. Benihana is my favorite!! Please tell me you tried the yum yum sauce. Shrimp dipped in yum yum sauce is to die for!

  2. Love that place, we just had a date night there a couple....months ago...DANG the time really does go by super fast!

  3. Yay glad you two were able to go out!!


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