Dear fellow tasters,
This one is another super late post from last year’s tasting. I’m a lazy food blogger, I know. Shame on me! *grin* It was after work and I ventured to Grand Indonesia shopping town looking for a bite. My feet and belly led me to Benihana, a Japanese restaurant that I had regularly passed by and always been intrigued about. From the internet, I found out that it is a branch of a famous international restaurant chain founded by Rocky Aoki, a Japanese-born wrestler, who opened its first restaurant in New York in 1964.
Enough on the history, Benihana’s Jakarta outlet is designed to look like a trendy Japanese village with a spacious interior divided into several areas, the bar, the teppanyaki stations, and the a la carte dining area with a view overlooking the iconic Bundaran Hotel Indonesia landmark. At first I intended to sit on a table with a view but that part of the restaurant looked to be quite deserted and dark at that time. After asking the waitress on the specialty menu, she recommended the teppanyaki and to fully enjoy it, it was best to sit at the teppanyaki station where I could watch the chef cooking the food. And sure enough, most customers appeared to agree with her and so did I.
Besides teppanyaki, there are many other dishes on the menu, such as sushi and other Japanese items. Since I had decided for the teppanyaki, I opted for the filet mignon set. The meal was tagged at 265k, a slightly hefty price for Indonesian standard, although it already included the aged tenderloin steak, Japanese onion soup, Benihana salad, shrimp appetizer, hibachi vegetables, steamed rice and green tea. I also ordered the murasaki grape crush to drink.
While waiting for the chef to prepare the ingredients, the drink, soup and salad were served. They were all quite nice though they looked and tasted less fancier that I imagined them to be. Then chef Ken came and introduced himself as well as explained the raw ingredients. As soon as he started cooking, it was show time. Chopping, dicing, flipping and tossing on the steel grill was mixed with jokes thrown in using props like rubber chicken and fake sauce bottle. I found the jokes to be a bit over the top probably because I was dining alone, nevertheless they were quite entertaining. I guess it was part of the ‘eatertainment’ concept of the restaurant.
The first items to be cooked were the shrimp and the vegetables, including portobello mushroom, zucchini and onion. The special show for the night was grilling the onion, stacked into a cone, poured with vodka, and flamed, making it look like a volcano. And it tasted very good, blame it on the vodka. I also enjoyed the tasty shrimp and delicious portobello. The next part was grilling the filet mignon and beansprouts. I asked for medium well, resulting in succulent juicy tenderloin cubes. Simply tasteful! They also served two dipping sauces for the teppanyaki, ginger and mustard, however most of the time, it was just good enough to eat as it is.
The taster’s notes:
Favorite dish – the filet mignon, vodka onion, shrimp, portobello
What to try next time – other teppanyaki, sushi
Grand Indonesia, East Mall Level 3, Unit #43
Jl. MH Thamrin No. 1, Jakarta 10310
Ph: +6221 2358 1067
Fax: +6221 2358 1068