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by Joyce Feuerbacher Altgelt
February 27, 2008
From journal Las Vegas, Nevada
October 6, 2004
Benihana, which is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year (the original Benihana opened in NYC in October 1964), can be credited with making Japanese food so popular in the US. They helped introduce sushi into the American culture, and their showman-style restaurants have been imitated across many food lines. And, like cooking shows such as Julia Child, partaking in the Benihana experience helps make you more interested in your food and the work that goes into preparing it.
My fondness for Benihana has not waned much over the years; I've now been to Benihana in Conneticut, Honolulu, Chicago, Reno, and, most recently, in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Benihana is located in the Las Vegas Hilton, and like all Benihanas, has an authentic Japanese interior, designed to make you feel as if you have been whisked away to Japan. Traditional paper shoji screens split the restaurant into smaller rooms, giving a more intimate feel. A large arch and metal dragon welcomes you to the restaurant, but, as part of one wall on the lounge side is open towards the casino area, you are not quite immersed until you are brought to a shoji room for dinner.
When you go to Benihana, most of the seating is at communal hibachi tables, which seat eight. Diners sit at the three wooden sides of the table, while the chef stands at the fourth side, which consists of a large, flat grilling area. You order what you would like from the menu, and then the show commences, where the chefs slice, dice, flip, sauteé, and grill, with bits of humor and fun thrown in. It takes a lot of training to be one of these chefs. Since all the food is prepared in front of you, you can see that it consists of fresh ingredients and exactly what is done to the food while cooked.
While a bit on the pricey side, Benihana's is worth the indulgence for the fun change of pace for dining. While sitting at the hibachi tables does not encourage post-dining lingering, they have a very pretty lounge area where you can retire to after dinner.
From journal Doubling Down, Dining Down in Vegas
May 17, 2003
From journal Holiday Weekend in Las Vegas
December 17, 2001
From journal Must do in Las Vegas (not for families)