Chicago Eats: Welcome (Back) to Chicago, Benihana! | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: Welcome (Back) to Chicago, Benihana!

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a fab weekend. While I spent most of my free time over the last week hunkered down at home (catching up on grading + getting a handle on the two grad classes I'm taking this semester), I did manage to sneak away for an evening to finally check one very popular restaurant off of my "I really should visit there one day" list. Yes, my friends, I (finally!) made my very first visit to Benihana! Not only did I get to check the well-known spot off my to-visit list, but I also did it at the gorgeous newly opened location in the John Hancock Center. Talk about the perfect introduction to an iconic restaurant!

Benihana is definitely one of those restaurants in which practically everyone seems to have fond memories of either from their childhood or from friends/family nights out. While I was first introduced to the concept of teppanyaki at a short-lived hibachi restaurant in the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin (and yes, that's exactly why it was so short-lived), I never seemed to live anywhere in which there was a Benihana. It seemed like every time I moved away from somewhere, a new location would then open (once it happened within the exact same week!). Now, after a decade without a Chicago location, the chain is finally in the city and settled into the perfect spot for tourists and city-dwellers alike (yay for me!).

 Gigi and started our visit with a quick tour of the space, which includes a patio at the base of the Hancock (the perfect spot for premium people watching!), a cocktail lounge and sushi bar (diners can grab a quick lunch without the full teppanyaki experience or a to-go meal), three private dining rooms, and 22 teppanyaki tables equipped with teppanyaki grills.

The full bar carries a wide variety of premium cold sakes (glass, carafe, or bottle), including one of my personal favorites, the Coconut Nigori.

Fish on display at the sushi bar

After our tour, Gigi and I kicked off our meal with an order of Tuna Takaki: sashimi grade tuna served with ponzu sauce. Gigi and I are both huge tuna lovers, so this appetizer was definitely a must-try for us. It ended up being the perfect start to our meal, as the fish was super fresh and meaty, with just the right amount of sear. We contemplated ordering a few other dishes from the sushi bar, but we decided to hold off and save room for the main course. I guess that just means we'll have to go back to sample even more!

We paired our tuna with an order of their flavorful Pan Fried Beef Gyoza, served with a spicy soy dipping sauce...

...and a round of Sparkling Strawberry Sangria with Absolut Citron Vodka, Combier Liqueur D’Orange, fresh strawberries, lemon juice, and Rosa Regale. So light and fruity!

After our appetizers, it was time to start the show! We both chose the 6-Course Specialty Entrée, which includes Benihana Onion Soup, Benihana Salad, hibachi vegetables, mushrooms, a variety of homemade dipping sauces, steamed rice, Japanese hot green tea, and ice cream. We also both chose to upgrade to their signature Chicken Fried Rice (so glad we did because that rice was seriously good!).

As we dug into our soup and salad, Chef Jord greeted us with a trolley teeming with fresh vegetables, meats, and sauces. After the signature welcome performance, he jumped right into the famous onion volcano trick. I don't care what age you are - no one can ever convince me that they don't get excited the moment the onions ignite into flames!


Saucing our Chicken Fried Rice heart

For our main courses, I chose the Deluxe Treat (filet mignon and cold water lobster tail grilled with butter and lemon) and Gigi went with the Splash 'N Meadow (hibachi steak and grilled colossal shrimp lightly seasoned).

So tender and buttery!

Chef Jord taking great care with our steaks

I've mentioned before that I'm super picky about steak, as I don't order it often; also, I hate when it crosses the line from medium rare to medium (it becomes too chewy). This steak was so perfectly done that it actually made me wish for more.

As we finished the last bites of our entrées, Chef Jord moved into his final performance. We had such a fantastic time chatting and laughing with him throughout the meal - he had such an easy rapport and was super entertaining. That's exactly what you want when you visit Benihana!

Although we were stuffed, we couldn't leave without dessert. This scoop of green tea ice cream was portioned just right for a light and refreshing end to the meal.

Gigi and I were both quite happy with our experience at Benihana and can't wait to get back over there for another show (I also really want to check out the Be the Chef program!). You can try all of this deliciousness and more at the new Benihana restaurant: 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL.


No comments

Post a Comment

© chicago foodie girl | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Crafted by pipdig