There are few dining experiences that are better than a true Japanese steakhouse. With a host of diverse entrees, appetizers, and drinks-plus an atmosphere as rich as the menu-an authentic Japanese steakhouse will leave you with a full belly, yet hungry for more.
As with any good steakhouse, pacing and sampling are key. You don’t want to overload yourself with appetizers and drinks. However, you will definitely want to try a few of each. Most good eateries will offer a wide selection of starters, including various sushi rolls, miso soup, and crunchy house salads. Choose one or two that you’ve never had before. Even if they’re not your favorite, the portions are usually fairly small, so no food is wasted. Be sure to get an authentic Japanese drink as well. Most restaurants serve a good selection of house specials, as well as sake, Japanese beer, plum wine, and non-alcoholic tea.
When it comes to your entree, get a different type of meat than whatever you had for your appetizer. If you didn’t have an appetizer, get a platter for your entree that you can sample and share with the rest of your table. Most Japanese steakhouses offer chicken, shrimp, lobster, and sirloin entrees, as well as sushi samplers and grilled vegetable options for the vegetarians in your party. Platters and combinations like “Land and Sea” or Kobe/Wagyu plates are a great way to get all of the meats in one meal. In you are dining in a group, another strategy is to specialize and share. That way everyone at your table gets to try a little bit of everything.
If you still have room for desert, complete the dining experience with Mochi ice cream or Daifuku (rice cake filled with a deliciously sweet filling). If not, take your time grabbing the check. Authentic Japanese restaurants often have some of the most distinct and immersive atmospheres out there. Sometimes the mood is mellow: traditional decor, trickling water, and subdued lighting make for a relaxing and serene dining experience. Other times, the Japanese steakhouse becomes a stage for showmanship: fires blaze, cleavers chop, and the food is often prepared directly in front of you. Be prepared-some locations may literally throw food your way.
Overall, when dining at a Japanese steakhouse, it’s important to go in with an empty stomach and an open mind. It helps if you’re into meat, too. The expansive menus, traditional options, large portions, and immersive atmospheres will have something for everyone. Go ahead grab an extra napkin or two, and leave a nice tip on your way out.