Though the typical hibachi joint might be the last place you would expect to-see-and-be-seen, there is something to be said for dining out and still being able to grill a meal yourself or just admire a chef’s culinary skills as he prepares your food. So, I’ve compiled a list of the top five hibachi restaurants in New York City that even the hautest among us won’t be able to resist.
Don’s Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar specializes in authentic Korean table-top barbecue. The dining room is chic and modern while remaining inviting by virtue of its warm brown and gray color scheme. The offerings of Chef Woo Kim, who has 25 years of experience in elite hotels and restaurants in Korea, are grilled to perfection by specially trained staff at diners’ individual tables. The menu features such delicacies as pork belly and lobster tail—a far cry from and an upscale alternative to Benihana.
17 E. 32nd Street
Aburiya Kinnosuke is a distinctive and authentic Japanese restaurant with an emphasis on robata, a method of cooking in which dishes are prepared on a charcoal grill around which customers are seated. Aburiya harvests its bounty of fresh and high quality seafood from various locations worldwide, and the restaurant takes no less pride in the quality of its Washu-grade beef, free range chicken, and seasonal, locally grown vegetables. The often arcane menu choices, which include a tuna collar resembling something more like a veal chop, lends to the authentically Japanese quality of both the restaurant and its average diners.
213 East 45th St
Gyu-Kaku is a Japanese yakiniku restaurant in which diners are invited to prepare their own food on charcoal grills that are built into each table. Though the menu features photographs of each dish—which I tend to find ironically off putting—and, with a multitude of locations across the U.S. and overseas, the restaurant does qualify as a chain, I stand by Gyu-Kaku. The classically clichéd Asian décor, complete with warm browns and beiges, sleek lines, and dark wooden floors, provides for a dining experience that is by no means indicative of a chain restaurant. The produce is consistently fresh, comprising such high quality seafood and cuts of meat as lobster, Chilean seabass, chateaubriand, and filet mignon. The pre-prepared marinades and dipping sauces are prepared well enough to both ensure the tastiness of the cooked dishes and inspire in diners a false sense of pride in their cooking.
805 3rd Ave and 34 Cooper Square
Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar has locations in Staten Island & Brooklyn, New York, Sayreville & Mountainside, New Jersey, and in Langhorne, PA. Hibachi chefs grill Japanese steakhouse items at communal tables filled with wide-eyed children at birthday parties and their drunken chaperones. It may be the definition of corny, but after a few exotic drinks, everyone enjoys the show.
8814 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY or 23 Nelson Avenue Staten Island, NY
You can’t discuss American hibachi without mentioning its pioneer—Benihana. At the heart of the Benihana experience is the teppanyaki table, around which guests gather and enjoy a meal prepared and cooked on a steel grill, before their eyes — by a chef who is as much entertainer as cook. Anyone who’s been (admit it, you have) knows that the quality of the food isn’t exactly Michelin star worthy, but when it comes to tossing egg yokes and constructing onion volcanoes, Benihana reigns supreme.
47 West 56th Street