The experience

DSC_0042Tomorrow is Lolo’s birthday, BUT he’s working tomorrow night, so we wanted to celebrate with him tonight.  Mina loves birthdays and would not be pleased to not celebrate her Lolo’s birthday.  Ogre and I went hard to work trying to pick a place to eat for my very picky parents.  VERY PICKY.  We thought of a few places and headed to Lolo’s house.  My dad chose Benihana’s from our list of suggestions.  Ogre told me it was because it has “Benny” in it. 

When we arrived, we were seated right away.  Mina, of course, wanted to sit next to Lolo.  So, at first Mina and Benji were between my parents.  At some point, though, my dad went to sit next to my mom because they like to share their food.  Mina was busy working on her Sodoku anyway.  We all put in our drink orders and looked over the menu, which had appetizers, combos, nigiri, sushi rolls; it was quite a bit to take in. 


Ogre had to make a restroom break when he realized that Benji’s diaper had somehow come loose and was wrapped around one leg.  Now, THAT could have been a disaster!!  Luckily, we brought a diaper with us and could rectify the situation!  They do have changing stations in the restrooms.

When he returned, we put in our orders for dinner.  They brought out the soups and salads.  Of course, Benji loves soup and went to town on it.  He happily blew on the soup to cool it down just like my parents showed him.  Even Mina liked it after she tried it, so Ogre gave her his (she did not order a meal for dinner).  The next thing I see when I look over at Benji is that he is blowing on the soup so hard, he blows it out of the soup spoon, much to the delight of Lala and Lolo.  This just eggs him on.  He blows it so hard that it sprays all over the table.   Finally, Lala puts the spoon high enough that he can’t actually blow on the soup. 



That’s better and Mommy can relax and work on my soup and salad.  Nope, next I hear Benji screaming “WOW WOW WEE! WOW WOW WEE!” over and over again in his sharp, shrill voice.  Ogre and I immediately turn our heads to him and tell him to “SHH!”  He is just louder, “WOW WOW WEE!!!”  We glare at him and tell him to ”Shh” again.  He does.  Then he grumbles, “wow wow wee.”  He whines a little after that and Lala comforts him because he hates his parents right about now. 

Luckily, our teppan chef comes out.  His name is Buddy.  He says, “Hola” to us, but clearly there is a familiarity amongst the table.  He starts dinging his knives and spatula much to the delight of the kids.  He jokingly offers Mina a turn.  Lolo asks Buddy where he’s from and, again, he jokingly replies “Guatemala.”  Then he turns to me and asks me where I am from and I tell him that although I am Filipina, I grew up in the United States.  He says to me in Tagalog, “Oh, so you don’t know how to speak Tagalog.”  I say, no, and my parents and him set off in conversation in Tagalog, of course.  And, right about then, my pager goes off, so I have to go out to the lobby and answer.  When I get back, the fried rice is already served and looking tasty.  

DSC_0015My mom has already portioned some out to Benji, who is making very short work of what he finds on his plate.  Next, Buddy prepares the zucchini.  At some point, the waitress has brought out Mina’s shrimp tempura and sushi.  This is also about when she notices that Lolo is not sitting next to her.  She pouts and we tell her that she can move to the other side and we explain why he is over there.  She is quite happy about moving and Ogre moves her food down there, too. 



I think I got paged again and had to go out and when I returned, the shrimp were being served up.   He starts to prepare Ogre’s steak and the lobsters.  Looking very tasty.  Ogre gets his steak and his very pleased with what he tastes.  He offers me a piece so I won’t be jealous while I wait. It was definitely tasty! 



Now, it’s our turn, he goes around the table to find out how we want our steaks prepared.  I answer medium rare.  My mom tells him well done.  Buddy asks her why not just bring a microwave next time?  HAHAHA!!  That was a good one, Buddy.  Buddy is able to talk my dad down to Medium.  And guess what?  That’s right, my pager went off again.  This time I was gone for at least 10 minutes.  When I got back, steak and lobster were served up as well, Ogre’s plate was clean and Buddy was cleaning off the grill

We all finished up and thanked Buddy for a great meal.  The waitress came over to ask us which flavor of ice cream we’d like for dessert.  I ordered orange sherbet, my dad ordered vanilla and Ogre (for Mina) and my mom ordered strawberry.  We made Mina finish one of the pieces of steak that she’d asked Ogre for before she could have ice cream.  While we waited for the ice cream, Mina sang her version of Happy Birthday to Lolo complete with “cha cha cha” at the end of every verse. 



When the ice cream came out, everyone was pleasantly surprised about how good it was.  I  told Mina that mine tasted like a dreamsicle and that she could come taste it, which she did and apparently really liked.  I told her she could have the rest of mine if she liked it better than the strawberry.  She went over to eat her strawberry and when we asked which she liked better, she replied, “both.”  Then, when I started to eat more of my orange sherbet, she said, “mommy, don’t eat it all!”  Ogre and I tried to make her choose which one she liked better and she could have that one (i.e., she couldn’t have both) and she started crying.  We tried to explain to her that she can’t have everything and that it’s not nice to not share, blah, blah, blah, but she just kept pouting.  I walked over and gave her the rest of mine and told her to stop crying or I’d take them both away. 



Mina, always being sweet, after eating some of the orange sherbet, brought my ice cream back to me with the last bite.  Thanks, Mina.  She also brought over the last bite of strawberry for me or Papa, but we told her that was very nice of her to offer, but she could have the rest of it.   Finally, we were all set to go.


For Mommy


While we waited for Ogre who stopped by the restroom on the way out, my dad gave me a stern talking to for “torturing Mina.”  Gah.  Yes, I am 31 years old and I still get scolded by my parents.  Mina said, “I love you, Lolo.”  Double gah! 



The food

This is teppan.  Better than I remembered Teppan…  The last time Ogre and I ate here, we were still dating and, I think, in high school.  We went to Kobe’s and never returned here when we were in the mood for this kind of food.  Our Feeding Fiasco project has brought us back.

I’m going to write somewhat generally since we all seemed to have ordered pretty much the same thing.

The fried rice is well worth the extra 3 bucks or so.  It’s perfect and a little different than other teppans as theirs is Chicken Fried Rice.  We all loved it, especially Benji, who ate half of my mom’s bowl.

DSC_0025The adults all ordered steak.  Ogre ordered the Benihana Cordon Bleu, which was the 8.5 oz center cut tenderloin.  The rest of us got filets.  I had mine, of course, and had a bite of Ogre’s.  His was certainly more tender than mine, but my steak was still excellent.  I ordered mine medium rare and it was perfectly done and buttery soft.  My dad may have finally converted.  Typically, my parents order their steaks well done (and then complain about it later that it was too tough), but tonight my dad ordered his medium and had a few bites of my medium rare steak and commented about how soft it was.  Yes, it certainly was! 

Three of us had the cold lobster tail, which was also very buttery and good.  I can’t say that it was excellent because it was prepared on a teppan, so it was overdone, but it was not chewy and passed muster for me. 

The vegetables were also cooked perfectly.  I loved the zucchini, which was browned and crisp, and not overdone.  They also give you cooked onions.  I actually appreciated the fact that they don’t give you a lot of “fluff” in the way of vegetables like other joints do.

Mina ordered the shrimp tempura appetizer and 2 tuna nigiri as her meal and she ate it without prompting.  The shrimp appetizer comes with some tempura vegetable and Mina ate the sweet potato without complaints. 

The ice cream that is served is also very good -nice and creamy.  Our table had one vanilla, one orange sherbet, and two strawberries.  Everyone commented that they were good and I thought the orange sherbet stopped just shy of tasting exactly like a dreamsicle.


The service

Our waitress was very good about keeping drinks refilled, keeping clutter away and made sure that we were comfortable with the kids.  We apologized about the mess Benji was making and she convincingly told us not to worry that they love kids.  She even went on to tell me about how she usually doesn’t take her kids out to eat unless it’s early because she’s afraid that other people will glare at her, but here we shouldn’t have to worry about it because they like families.  I nodded my head in agreement…I wanted to say, “Have you checked my blog,”  But I didn’t.  I just smiled and agreed. 

Obviously, we enjoyed our chef very much, he did a great job.  Everyone’s food was prepared to their liking and he made us feel very much at home.  Like, home in the Philippines! 

The kids menu had steak, chicken, and shrimp dinners in either small or large sizes and came with just about everything the adult’s entree has.  I thought it was a good deal.  Or you could go our route and order and appetizer and sushi for your picky kid.


The kids

As far as kid friendly restaurants go, this is a definite!  They even give out paper placemats for the kids with Sodoku.  Lots of noise, fire, and smoke.  Their kids menu is great and we were very comfortable even when Benji was screaming at the top of his lungs. 


I would highly recommend this restaurant for a fun family night out!!  I would like to mention that I like the steaks better at Kobe’s, but the kid friendliness is better here.

The total: 193.60 (4 adults, 1 mixed drink, one beer -neither of which were mine, by the way!)

Related Fiascos