It was a Wednesday afternoon. We had nothing special to celebrate. What better time to have a hibachi lunch?
Random, perhaps. But who can say no to a meal that includes flying knives, flaming volcanoes of onion and rainbow spritzes of water/oil?
At Tokyo Samurai Hibachi Sushi & Bar in Colleyville, dining this way proves to be an enjoyable experience, notably because the food is a cut above other local hibachi fare. The competent chefs here have quality ingredients to work with, such as filet mignon and fresh scallops, so the result of their performance is just as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye.
The main hibachi room (four dining stations, each with two grills) was empty the afternoon that we visited, the lights dimmed perhaps a bit too much for a lunch I was about to eat with my mom.
Our server promptly took drink orders and, in my mind's eye, I imagined her going back to the kitchen and rousing the sleeping hibachi chef contingent.
"Jimmy, you're up," she'd say.
Because we declined to participate in most of the chef's shtick (Open your mouth, I'll throw in a broccoli spear!), our gifted and amiable chef was left to cook our food -- lighting the onion volcano with aplomb, mind you -- and disappear back to the kitchen.
Despite the anticlimactic aspect of all of this, the food was quite good. We started with the special, the seafood motoyaki ($10.50), a near-dip of crab meat, shrimp, scallops and white fish. In a spicy, creamy sauce, it was startlingly fresh and redolent of the sea.
The starter was a nice precursor to the rest of the meal, the featured hibachi lunch. The standard miso soup was just that, as was the small salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato topped with a Thousand Island-like dressing. Mom had the shrimp lunch ($9.95) with steamed rice, while I tried the filet mignon and scallop combo, with fried rice ($19.45). Served with mixed vegetables, both meals were filling yet surprisingly restrained in portion size. The steak was buttery-soft and cooked to our medium-rare liking, and the shrimp and scallops, again, were standouts.
The adjacent main dining space, as in many Japanese places, is dedicated to the sushi-lover with a bar for the fish and one for those who drink like them. Open since December, the restaurant is run by partner/manager Aaron Nguyen, who oversees the proceedings with fitting finesse.
Employees say the hibachi room can get raucous during the week, notably with businessmen from nearby Euless, but we ended up savoring our quiet lunch after all.