Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kobe Steak House

I went with my sister and her husband - in town from Augusta because he is off for the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend - to White Marsh for dinner last night. She and I wanted sushi; he wanted steak. So instead of Chiu's, Minato or even the much-lauded Matsuri on S. Charles, we went to Kobe Steak House in White Marsh . This place has those fun and flashy "teppanyaki" shows, where several parties (who usually do not know each other) sit around three sides of a table with a large cooking surface in the middle of it, and a chef comes by to cook everyone's food with a lot of flash and flair. I ate at one of these when I visited my cousin in Augusta in 2003, so I kind of knew what to expect.

When we showed up, there was a party of what seemed like twenty in front of us, but we only had three, so we more easily seated. And there weren't lots of people there - you didn't have to wait long, unless, maybe, you had twenty people in your party! We were seated at a table with two other people. This would multiply into three or four more parties.

A few notes about dinner:

1) It's not cheap. One appetizer plus a drink and entrée can run you $30 to $40, depending on what you order. My portion of the meal managed to come in at about $25, counting tip.

2) Expect an interactive show, even if you ordered nothing that was cooked in front of you. Everyone at the table got hibachi'd steak, lobster and shrimp except for me. I wasn't being a stick-in-the-mud; I just came for sushi!

3) As for the sushi and sashimi: an $8 sashimi appetizer plate gives you six pieces of fish. Chiu's sashimi appetizer is easily twice as big for just a few bucks more.

4) The service was, on the whole, pretty good. Being a klutz, I (of course) knocked over my little carafe of sake all over the floor. One of the busboys looked at me and smirked (I called him an asshole under my breath). But the busboy that was with him immediately came to help me out, and I thanked him even as I tried to overcome my embarrassment. Then our waitress came and not only cleaned up the mess but offered me a new napkin and set of chopsticks (not a bizarre thing), and brought me out a new sake free of charge (now that's cool)!

5) Oh, sake is about $8 for a large carafe. A small one is, probably, $5. They don't put the prices for alcoholic drinks on their menu. I think we lucked out because they forgot to put our drinks on our bill. Don't expect them to do that. I feel like I should go back and pay for it now...

6) The food was very good. My sister had hibachi shrimp and my brother-in-law had the hibachi steak and lobster. The steak was cubed, much like at Saigon Remembered, but of course with a different set of flavorings. And most people at the table had lots of fried rice and veggies (one woman had veggies cooked separately). My sister and I also ordered the sashimi appetizer (again, skimpy, but tasty), and instead of hibachi-style food I opted for more sushi and sashimi. I got their French roll - a tempura shrimp in a large sushi roll - which was tasty but which easily fell apart. And I also got a small tempura shrimp plate, which I meant as an appetizer for all of us, but I wound up eating most of it. Oh, just to let you know, even though the appetizers aren't that large (but really, are they supposed to be?), the entrées are a lot of food! My sister and her husband had to take home a doggie bag!

7) The show was also quite good. The chef put on a show for us, as is customary in many of these teppanyaki restaurants. He played around with the egg, flipped utensils in the air, and even threw little pieces of shrimp at each of us at the table, trying to land it in our mouths! Very fun, and it's so fun to see your food - or even someone else's food - being cooked right in front of you.

8) On a different note: I found a hair on my plate, but I'm pretty sure now it was mine. So don't let that deter you.

9) And lastly, nobody even needed to ask for take-out containers. It's not that they weren't needed - they desperately were! But our waitress came out with a stack of them before anybody even had to ask! Now that's some excellent service.


danielle said...

I went to a restaurant called Hibachi's before the homecoming dance my jr. yr. of hs with my date and two other couples. When the chef was putting on the cooking show, he spun an egg on his knife and it landed on my date! He was mortified.

Baltmore Snacker said...

Now that is funny! But who was mortified, your date or your chef? Maybe both!