Fun birthday spot.
I've NEVER written a review of any kind so this will be an interesting experience. I read so many divergent reviews of Benihana's that I thought it would be worthwhile documenting our recent experience.
Let me just say from the start, that we had a great time! Food was great and the cooking performance was a lot of fun.
My wife wanted to go to a teppanyaki BBQ for her birthday so we went to the Golden Valley, MN Benihana's on April 2, 2011. We had a party of eight and reservations at 6:45 PM. I didn't know that eight filled a table so that worked out well. We arrived at 6:40 and were seated around 6:50. The restaurant was very busy which is always a good sign. My kids all ordered various flavors of the lemonade which were all fabulous (plus free refills!). My wife ordered the pomegranate margarita which was tasty and strong.
The drinks came promptly but there were a few lags in service between the early courses. Once our chef (Heri) showed up, the timing of the food picked up. Our table ordered: Filet Mignon, Teriyaki Steak, Hibachi Steak, the Chicken/Shrimp Special (for 2), Hibachi Shrimp, Hibachi Tuna Steak and Yakisoba (noodles with chicken). Heri has been working there for just over one year. He worked fast and had a great sense of humor. When he was cutting the shrimp, the knife and fork were moving so fast, I couldn't see the shrimp tails being cut off.
Everyone really liked their food and the dipping sauce made all of the food taste even better. For example, It turned good fried rice into GREAT fried rice. I wonder what the heck is in that sauce!
At the end of the meal, the staff brought out a free ice cream sundae for my wife and sang two songs (happy birthday in English, and another song in Japanese). There were at least five other birthday celebrations that night. Our hostess took our picture and gave us two prints before the check was paid. There was a lot of food left over which made for easy cooking today.
The only negative thing I would comment on is the noise level in the restaurant. The restaurant was quite busy, the cooking is pretty loud and people were having a good time which made conversation across our own table challenging at times. However, relative to the overall positive experience, this was fairly minor and we will definitely go back!
If you like your dining to be like Russian Roulette.... A quick glance of the responses on here give you a good idea of what to expect. If all goes well, the food is good and I highly recommend you poor "the yummy sauce" on everything. If it doesn't go well, you can expect something like this: You will be told you will be seated in 15 minutes. You will be seated about an hour and 15 minutes later. You will be told that the "special" of the day is filet mignon, shrimp, and chicken. You will tell them you would like the "special". Little known to you, there happens to be the acual menu item called "the special" which contains lobster and steak. They will put lobster and steak on your plate. When you clarify with the cook that you ordered something differently than lobster and steak, he will call over the person who took your order. That person will argue that he never called the "special" he offered "the special" in spite of the fact that everyone else at the table heard him. When you state that regardless of the cause of the miscommunication (which was his!) you wanted something else and don't care for lobster, he will go ask the manager and come back and tell you that it cannot be changed. You will not eat the food. You will drop the argument as to not make a scene among strangers and post a review online as I have here. The food is good, but you will receive better service at Burger King. At least while you are there, you can "have it your way".
Try Kabuki. Overated and average. They couldn't wait to clean our table and get us out the door. They might want to check their competition to see how un-commercial others are.
Knife-wielding chefs put on a show at this communal Japanese grill..
Benihana started out as a tiny four-table restaurant in New York City's theater district before becoming an international chain. Diners sit around large tables where chefs ostentatiously chop, slice, stir-fry and grill. Entree options are simple--shrimp, chicken, steak and scallops--and preparation is uniform. Every entree comes with a similar stock of sides: rice, onion soup, shrimp appetizer, iceberg lettuce drizzled with dressing, sauteed vegetables and green tea.
Service: you get what you give at Benihana. My husband and I live close to Benihana in Golden Valley and we dine there about once a month (in fact, we were there last night). I agree with a couple of the other comments about lackluster customer service, as they don't have the most accommodating staff. That said, I think people need to go here expecting to have all members of your party ready to be seated at the same time; it makes sense to me, if you show up with 5 people and are waiting on 1 more, don't expect the other couple at your table to sit there and wait for your 6th to show before they can order...welcome to communal eating, folks. Benihana is usually a hectic place, so I guess I understand why they are a little rough around the edges when it comes to seating people. My husband and I go as a twosome often and NEVER have a problem getting in, even when it's busy. We've also gone dozens times with large groups, which, on occasion, is a little more complicated. Overall, I've found that if you're extra nice to the staff and expect that things can move a little slow here, you won't get all bent out of shape. My opinion is that the food and the chefs are totally worth any drama you get from the hosts or servers. And here's a hint, act like you're interested in the show. Clap for them when they do a trick! Give them a little something to let them know you're engaged and they'll pay you back in spades. The food is consistently very good, and believe me when I say we've had just about everything on the menu. Here's another hint: be assertive with the chef. Let them know how you like your filet cooked or if you want extra shrimp sauce. They'll take care of you! Feel free to joke around with them and you'll have a lot more fun. My favorites include the fried rice, shrimp, scallops, filet, lobster, the onion/zucchini side dish, tuna steak, and of course, the SHRIMP SAUCE. My final hint: pour the shrimp sauce on your fried rice...you won't be sorry=)
Watery drinks, barely average.
We were here in a group of 10 on a Monday night. First, we could not get reservations until 7 pm, so we thought they would be busy. There was hardly anyone there when we went in. Inspite of this we were not allowed to seat ourselves until the entire party arrived. Our drinks (specaility sake drinks) were extremely watery. The chef was indeed good but not spectacular. I have been to two other Hibachi style places in NY and the chef there was more creative than this one. Most importantly, the chef kept cooking items for people one by one, which is not how it was done in NY,as the chef made at least 4 -5 things at the same time. Due to this, some of us had to stare at the ones who were eating with an empty stomach. I had ordered seafood diablo (udon noodles - extremely tasty) and received my food when everyone else at the table had finished theirs, which meant, I had then to rush to finish off whatever I could and pack the rest as they were closing. The portions were small for the price charged.
Most importantly, the waitress gave us poor service. She had an irritated expression on her face and no smile. She only told one side of the table that ordering fried rice would be extra bucks, such that only 2 people heard. The rest of the table had no idea about this and she kept asking everyone at that side whether we wanted fried rice but never once said it would be extra money. I had asked that the seafood diablo be made without calamari and instead substitute shrimp. Instead of substituting, I got charged for extra shrimp, which was later adjusted with a very irritated demeanor by the server. However, I have to say that the manager came up to us after hearing all the problems that were occurring and offered us a coupon for 4 complimentary fried rice sides with our meal in the next one month, if we chose to go there again, which we certainly will not.
The worst experience.
I am highly dissappointed in the service provided by the seating host. After initially being told that I would have to wait 30-45 minutes for my table, I waited for over 1 hour; and watched the host seat larger parties promptly. I asked the host twice on how much longer my wife and I would have to wait. On both occassions, I was told I will be the next party he would be calling for a table. When he kept seating bigger parties before us, my pregnant wife and I finally left the restaurant without eating there.
I am sharing my experience with you as I feel I would be doing a service to the local public. Benihana has definetly hired people who are in-competent and outright lie. They need to put up a banner in front of their restaurant stating that on Fridays they will not seat parties of less than four. It would definetly save a lot of frustration and time of couples who are out to enjoy a meal at their restaurant.
If I could, I would give them a 1/2 star rating. Too bad its not possible on this site.
Great for Groups.. I took my boyfriend here for his birthday - It was very fun and comical. If you're deciding whether Ichiban or Benihana's I'd go with Ichiban for more of a romantic scene and for upscale dining. But Benihana's is more for kids, the chef's like to make the show more comical. = ) I had the SUPERIOR dinner - it's VERY WORTH the $38.00 Boyfriend had LOBSTer, and they only served a little bit - minus the lobster tail $36. You're better off ordering a dish like filet mignon & lobster.
Worst Dining experience EVER in the Twin Cities..
I want to warn everyone about the horrible, terrible service that we recently had at this restaurant. I have dined at other Beni's across the country and this was the worst. We waited almost 15 minutes from the time that we were seated at our grill, until we were even noticed by ANYONE on the wait staff. Then all they did was go get someone else who didnt want to wait on us. She was rude and made us feel like we were an inconvenience to her evening. We all ordered right away and it took about another 10-15 minutes to get our bar drinks. We asked for waters for the table as well, and those took about 30 minutes and three servers to finally get. When our chef arrived, things went from bad to worse. He was not engaging at all and had very little to add to our table. A display kitchen in any other restaurant offers just as much to watch. We ordered several different entrees; I ordered the filet mignon. I asked for it extra rare, and by the time that he remembered (we had to remind him) it was medium to medium well. There was no offer, and no server to ask for a second drink, mine was empty most of the dinner, as were most of my friend's. Dessert was a half hearted attempt to tell us not to order any. Not a single manager in site to complain to. And not a single "How was dinner this evening?" from any staff member. Just a simple, "Drive safe" from the host.
I can not believe that this sort of standard can tolerated in any restaurant. I hope, for the sake of the employees that they might have that are dedicated things get better, because we will NEVER go back for dinner there. There are too many other options in this city for Japanese to be throwing my money away on horrible cooking, worse service and completely apathetic management.
Best Place to go for your birthday!. We love this place. Even our four year old loves it! The food is so good here and the staff are very friendly. The show is usually pretty good too. The chefs levels are based on their hat color. I think red hats mean they are really good. But even the yellow hats (which migh be the lowest) were good too. The food is wonderful too. YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE SHRIMP SAUCE!!!! It's exclusive to the twin cities location and its fabulous!!! They have great steak and lobster tail too. They even have a kids menu but it atleast $10 for kids meals. Kinda pricey but they get enough food. Its too much food for any kid under four though. We used to order a side of rice and a side of shrimp instead of the kids meal but you could just share one entree too- unless your a really big eater. On your birthday they will sing to you and take a group picture for you and your friends, plus you get a little card with your name in Japanese and free ice cream (if it doesnt come with your meal). FYI: dont get the green tea ice cream unless you know you really like it. Its not that good- kind've bland. They have good sushi too, which you can order from the sushi bar or the regular dining section.Jut ask, becuase they usually don't offer. Also, be sure to make reservations for more than four people otherwise you'll be waiting for atleast 45 minutes to an hour. They are always busy and extremely popular, so keep that in mind. If dinner is too pricey go during lunch, its much cheaper- but you dont get quite as much food. It cost us a little under $100 for all three of us for dinner including tip. But I also got the lobster tail which is pricey, and we got a kids meal and drinks. So it doesnt have to be that much unless you splurge. We have been there several times and its always great!!!! Just go, you'll love it!
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