Reviews


rating star

If I was to rate the entertainment level, I would totally give this an excellent. Food wise, it was fair. Pre-dinner I had a specialty drink (which tasted like Franzia) and veggie rolls that were pretty tasty. For dinner, I had the tofu steak entree and substituted the shrimp app for the tofu app. It was tofu overload man. I noticed that they also had a garden vegetable entree and next time I would just get that along with the tofu app. The tofu/tofu combo gives you 6 tofu steaks. Way too much. Plus, speaking of the tofu, it is not "high quality" tofu. It is your general run of the mill medium to firm tofu. The sauce they put on there is excellent. You have to really, _really_ explain to the chef that you do not want butter on anything. Our chef totally buttered the veggies. Anyway overall it was fun. I would never pay to go there though. I went on my free birthday dinner voucher.


rating star

Benihana's menu is approximately 90% steak, fish, and sushi. Buried amongst the meaty offerings are a few delicious vegan options. Both of the entree salads appear to be vegan and are more than just salads, composed of grilled vegetables, brown rice, and including a tofu appetizer and other sides. There is also a tofu steak option, which I ordered, that comes with an appetizer (ask for tofu instead of shrimp), grilled vegetables, soup, salad, and rice. The soup is NOT vegan as it is made with beef stock but the server gave me an extra side salad to make up for it.

The side salad standard with meals was much better than at most restaurants, mostly because of its unique dressing. I also ordered a side of hot edamame which was adequate in curbing my hunger while I waited but nothing beyond what I could make myself. My tofu steak was covered in a spicy red sauce and tossed with green onions and cilantro and was delectable. I asked for brown rice instead of white and enjoyed what felt like one of the healthiest--and tastiest--restaurant meals I've eaten. I also ordered a veggie sushi roll which was quite good, although my sushi experience is limited.

The caveat: all of your food is prepared in front of you with the other orders at the table on the hibachi grill (I think that's what it's called). That means that the same surface and utensils that are grilling fish and steak are grilling your vegan or vegetarian meal. I didn't think about this ahead of time. At home I would never accept this but as the staff knew I didn't eat meat, dairy, or eggs they did put my food off to the side a bit and it appeared that the chef was perhaps changing or cleaning his utensils a bit before touching mine. I imagine cross contamination of utensils between omni dishes and vegan dishes happens quite often in restaurants but it's disconcerting to watch it happen in front of you. It's also disconcerting to watch red meat sizzle before you as you eat your tofu and veggies.

Thus I'm conflicted in my review. My food was great, they willingly left out the butter on the veggies (but be sure to ask), and it was really fun to watch the knives fly as the chef performed. I don't like all the meat and seafood in front of me and I don't like knowing that it's on the same surface. My solution for the future: get a group of 7-8 veg-friendly people in order to secure your own table. Then only order veg food and request no butter. This will guarantee delicious, non-meaty food.

I went to Benihana's because I received a $30 gift certificate for my birthday, meaning that all of my food was free including the passionfruit lemonade with unlimited refills and sorbet. Ask if the sorbet is vegan, I was too full to have any anyway. Food is a bit expensive with entrees starting at $15.50. I'll be back if I can get that ideal veg group together, otherwise I'll be working on recreating the spicy red sauce on my tofu. As it was my birthday they took a picture of me and my sister and had it printed for us before we left.

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