Like Hibachi? At Banzai, its go big or go home!

Banzai Japanese Hibachi, Hartsdale

We decided to have a rather impromtu outing for dinner last night…for a party of 11.  Where can you go to please kids, adults and find room to fit a party that size?  Well, Japanese Hibachi, of course! And, for the price of your food, you always get entertainment to go along with it.

Since I was in high school, Japanese Hibachi was the “fun” thing to do in terms of restaurants.  And, I have seen the inside and upside (and downside) of Hibachi places from Northern NY to North Carolina.  Last night, we decided to try a relative new-comer to Westchester, BANZAI JAPANESE SUSHI AND HIBACHI STEAKHOUSE, located at 95 South Central Avenue, in Hartsdale. 

Finding the restaurant was super easy, and parking was no problem – it was really crowded, but they have a very polite valet service.  As soon as you walk in, you know this is not your average Hibachi Steakhouse.  The sights and sounds are almost sensory overload, but really cool.  First of all, its HUGE.  I had to put that in all caps to let you know just how huge it is…and it has more a look of a nightclub than a restaurant.  The ceilings are very high, and there are these funky, big geometric lighting fixtures that change color.  The walls are…well, gigantic American Flags.  Painted red and white stripes all around the place, with blue fields of white stars.  The waitstaff wears either red and white striped shirts or blue and white striped shirts, to keep with the theme.  The right hand side of the restaurant is like a big sports bar, with several TV screens behind the extensive bar.  There is a lot of bar seating if you want to gather with a few friends for a drink and some sushi.  It is loud, and the music is…interesting.  Maybe a 90’s mix, I would say?  But with the size of the restaurant and the high ceilings it can be a bit tough to hear anything.

Chef Mike at Banzai

The left side of the restaurant is the “dining room”, with 16 Hibachi stations that can seat up to 11 people fairly comfortably.  Our reservation was for 8pm, but we were seated a bit late, so the very accomodating host offered our first round of drinks on the house.  Our waitress came over right away and took our drink order, and gave us our menus.  She arrived shortly thereafter with the drinks, took our orders, and our soup and salad came quickly after that.  Then, Chef Mike came with his cart full of goodies.  Now, I have seen a lot of Hibachi chefs in my lifetime, and have eaten my fair share of hibachi food, so I knew what was in store.  But…I can honestly say that Mike was a good deal of fun!  He was very animated, entertained the kids, and engaged the adults in some “Sake Squirting” contests (the kids got orange juice).  He was really attentive, and as for the food?  Well, hibachi is pretty much the same wherever you go, but the meat was cooked perfectly, and the sushi was beautifully presented and really fresh.  So, I would give that a high mark.  The kids got dessert (first Hibachi place I have ever seen with Tiramisu and Tartufo!), and they brought the adults fresh pineapple that had been quartered and cut into chunks.  A nice, light way to end a good meal…

As with all Hibachi restaurants, you go there for the overall experience.  And, you will find that most of them have the requisite number of birthdays, and celebrations (they sing the Beatles version of “They say its your birthday” at Banzai).  So, having experienced Banzai, I can say with all certainty that we will return, for good times and good food, and even a celebration here and there.  It’s more fun when you go with a small tribe, like we did.  So, if you are planning a family outing, or a date night out with several couples, give it a try, and BANZAI!  (Long Life!).  For contact and menu information, visit Banzai on the web at www.banzaihibachi.com.

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