So Benihana is 50 years old and we went along to their swish Chelsea establishment to celebrate.
Things have seriously boomed since Benihana founder Hirokai “Rocky” Aoki opened his first restaurant in NYC in 1964. Then he had four tables, now there are 120 global locations. Rocky’s ethos was to create a fun eating experience, and Benihana certainly gives you that that. He was the pioneer of teppan-yaki where your dinner is cooked in front of you on a hot, hot plate while your chef performs all sorts of dazzling tricks.
Ours made volcanoes and spelled I love you with onions; set [controlled] fire to various vegetables, flipped eggs into his chef’s hat with his spatula and cut all manner of ingredients up with impressive speed and dexterity, all while juggling with the sharpest of cleavers and knifes. He swore he had never injured himself in the name of Teppan!
As well as a fun night out, the food’s certainly up to scratch. The restaurant uses quality ingredients and as it’s all cooked quickly in front of your eyes, you’re sure to have crunchy veg, hot pancakes and tender steak done just the way you like it. They are famous for their ginger and mustard sauces, made to secret recipes and totally delicious. Of course, no Japanese restaurant would be complete without a comprehensive sushi range and Benihana doesn’t disappoint.
The good news is that for the 50th birthday year, there are special offers to tempt you in. The Keiko menu is named after CEO Keiko Ono Aoki (Rocky’s widow who took over when he died). You’ll get nine courses for £30 including a plum wine cocktail and a glass of wine.
You can also tuck into a tasty Beni platter lunch for a mere £5 or a £50 eight course dinner for two.
Here’s a selection of what’s on offer.
Benihana Chelsea is a class act. It’s stylishly decorated, offers great entertainment and tasty food. Oh, and it’s supposedly frequented by Prince Harry, David Beckham and Brad Pitt when they are in town. Brad’s happy to make an entrance like everyone else but Harry and DB get smuggled down the back stairs! Well, if it’s good enough for them…and gives me a reason to put a picture of DB on my blog, too…enjoy!