Restaurant Review: Benihana

By Aila Durakovic, Staff Writer

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One of my cousins was having a birthday dinner on Saturday night and invited five girls and me to go out to Benihana in downtown Chicago. I’ve always heard about this place, and everyone in my family has been there except myself. Benihana serves Japanese cuisine and has been around for a while. There are many locations, but I went to the one on 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL.  My expectations were extremely high considering how much praise was put on this place and let me tell you, it was even better than what I had imagined.

I had never tried Japanese cuisine before besides sushi. Benihana is known to be a Japanese steakhouse, so I was very prepared to eat because I am a big meat eater. The prices were pretty high, but I expected that since it’s more of a classy and high-end restaurant. The inside of the restaurant was very unique and clean. It was a little dimmed down and there were a bunch of grills connected to tables with seats covering all the sides. This was one of those experiences where the chefs cook right in front of you.

The menu had so many different options, but I decided to split an order of California and Dragon rolls with one of the girls next to me. I also ordered the Hibachi Steak that came with soup, salad, veggies, shrimp, and rice for myself.

The soup and salad were served first. The soup was an onion soup that had such a savory taste. It was hot, but it went down really well. After the soup, I ate the salad which was so interesting because it had a dressing on it that I never tasted before. There were lettuce, carrots, and onions in it and at the bottom was a dressing. I have no idea what kind it was, but it was good. I honestly am a salad expert by now since it’s one of my favorite things to eat, and I approve of this one.

After the salad, the sushi came. While I was eating the sushi, our chef came and introduced himself. He began to cook all the meets, rice, and veggies for us. I thought the sushi was excellent. We finished all of it. I also ate the rest of the dragon rolls the other girls ordered because they were so good. It was quite obvious that the sushi was quality and well made.

Our chef made the entire experience a blast. He interacted with us a lot and made a lot of food jokes that were actually clever. He made everyone shrimp and served it to us. The shrimp was well cooked and tasty. It took about 15 minutes to grill the meat, veggies, and rice for all of us. Once he served it, I took this white sauce called Yum-Yum sauce and poured it into my rice. It gave it a sweet flavor and enhanced the taste. I finished almost my entire plate but I was stuffed. The steak was perfectly cooked along with rice and veggies. I was so impressed with the entire experience.

I can definitely say I ate well that night. I don’t know what the total price was since my aunt paid for all of us, but I know it wasn’t cheap. Even though it’s a little pricier, they do give you a lot of food and you can tell it’s fresh. This isn’t a place you’d go to every week or month, it’s definitely a once in a while type of place. Overall, I think Benihana is my favorite restaurant. The food was truly that good and I am planning on going back again.