Tokyo Hibachi & Sushi
Critic's star breakdown
- Food: 3.5 stars (out of five)
- Service: 4
- Atmosphere: 3
- Overall: 3.5
The Grub Spouse and I figured that a recent home game for the Volunteers would virtually guarantee we could go out to eat that night and, depending on the venue, not have to contend with throngs of fellow diners. We realized how correct we were once we arrived at Tokyo Hibachi & Sushi, which is on Northshore Drive, not far from Pellissippi Parkway.
Our arrival officially made us the only souls in the house, and we were invited to choose our seats. We took one of the few booths available in the smallish, largely nondescript, dining room. A server greeted us promptly and took our drink orders, leaving us with time to ponder our choices.
Honestly, when I hear "hibachi," I often assume that means one of those places where the chefs put on a show for an entire table of customers, but this was not the case with Tokyo Hibachi & Sushi. However, hibachi-grilled entrees are indeed the main focus of this restaurant, whose menu was astonishingly limited, compared to most Asian-food establishments I've visited. I find that neither good nor bad — just interesting.
Appetizers include familiar items like shrimp tempura, crab Rangoon and seaweed salad. We ordered the also-familiar spring roll (primarily for The Spouse's benefit), while I decided to try their sushi as a starter. They offer several dozen kinds of rolls, most of which build off the California roll concept, with some hoso maki, futo maki and fried rolls available as well.
I thought the Philadelphia roll, made with avocado, cream cheese and crabmeat, sounded appealing, so I went with that. Our server also brought us out a bowl of hot edamame pods for us to snack on while we waited for our apps to come up.
The rest of the fare consists of hibachi entrees made with chicken, steak, shrimp, scallops or vegetables only. A number of combo platters are served, and that's what The Spouse and I did in an effort to sample as much as possible. The Spouse got the chicken and shrimp combo, while I ordered the steak and scallop. Both come with fried rice and steamed vegetables.
Although we'd gotten a head start with the edamame, we were still grateful for the arrival of the spring rolls, which were predictably grease-soaked but also predictably tasty. The sushi arrived next, and even The Spouse — not a big sushi lover — relented and partook of one of the eight pieces in the roll. We both agreed that this particular blend of fresh ingredients was well crafted and easy on the tongue.
A little later, our hibachi entrees arrived hot to our table. Over the course of our meal, I sampled all the meats that made up our two combo dinners and came away with mixed feelings. My least favorite was the steak, which didn't seem terribly tender and also was just off in its beef flavor. Much better were the chicken and shrimp in The Spouse's meal, which were both tender and juicy. My favorite of the bunch were the scallops, which average in size but true to seafood form and also juicy and succulent.
I wasn't crazy about the rice, which just struck me as having an odd flavor that I couldn't put my finger on. Normally good rice can carry an entrée with an off note or two, but this staple simply missed the mark in my book. The vegetable sides were decent though not particularly noteworthy.
We were very pleased with the service we received, even after we were joined in the restaurant by a number of other patrons during our time there. And although I felt the hibachi items were fair to middling, I much preferred how this restaurant rolled when it came to the sushi.
© 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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