Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Teppanyaki Style

Ever eaten at a teppanyaki restaurant? You know – Japanese cuisine cooked right in front of you on your table?
We go to a teppanyaki place every few months on our weekly date… good food, great sushi. But there are some parts to teppanyaki I wish I could avoid.

Let’s talk about the chef swinging the knives around. If you haven’t ever seen a teppanyaki chef, it is really quite fascinating – at least the first time. Really, do they all tell the SAME jokes?

The chef, the knives, the food. All dance in one movement for the enjoyment of the guests. But I can’t help worrying about these sharp knives swinging, twirling around in the air… Is that really safe? Have they done a background check on this guy?

Next are the tables themselves. You sit at a table with about 6 -8 other people. Usually strangers. There is something about sitting with people at dinner time that encourages conversation. And while that is fine when you are in a friendly mood, what is the proper etiquette here? We once chatted with our dining neighbors and when their sushi was brought to them, they offered us some. Hmmm. What do you do? Do you accept the sushi from the total stranger (providing you like sushi to begin with) or do you politely refuse?

We had another opportunity to chat with some dining neighbors. This time, we were the ones with the sushi. The gal we were talking to even commented on how beautiful it was. And yet, I just didn’t feel like offering it to her. Not that I wouldn’t mind – just a little awkward. As we were finishing our plate of sushi… I noticed our dining companion wasn’t talking any more with us. In fact, didn’t talk with us the rest of the time. Do you think she wanted the sushi? Or did I have sea weed in my teeth? Did we just commit a major teppanyaki foux pas? Were we supposed to offer our sushi as our previous dining companions had?

It is a very distressing social situation for me. What to do?

Finally, is it really a good idea to bring your children to such a place? We did once. That trip ended with burning food landing on my son’s face. They felt so bad, they gave him free ice cream. Of course, since it was Green Tea ice cream, he couldn’t eat it. But aside from the dangers of flying, flaming food and twirling knives, do I really want my children thinking it is fun to play with fire and throw knives in the air? I have learned what their imaginations can do just with a harmless magic trick… do I really want to expose them to Teppanyaki?

In spite of all this, it is still fun to try. If you haven’t, give it a shot. You don’t have to get sushi if that scares you more than the flying knives. But as long as you are living dangerously you might as well.


Anonymous said...

Yes,you did make a serious crime, I really wanted some sushi [sniffle sniffle]

Sharla said...

I can't stand sushi, so I guess I won't have this problem. Sorry. But if I did have sushi, I don't think I would share with a stranger--Unless it was Hugh Jackman. Then maybe--just maybe I would!

Becky said...

I've never had sushi, but my husband says I need to try it.

Maybe I'll start out slow though, and save the teppanyaki for a later date. :)

That Girl in Brazil said...

We actually did take our kids to a Japanese restaurant one time. My son requested: "BURN IT AGAIN!" And they did.

And yes, they ALWAYS tell the same jokes.

And whenever we go, we always take a huge group with us. If you KNOW everyone, you're allowed to ignore anyone you want and if they get offended, big deal! They know you!

Erin said...

I've only been once. It's good to know that I am not missing out on TOO much by not going again. But yeah, I have no idea about the etiquette when sitting with a bunch of strangers!

Erin said...

So where is the good tepanyaki place...been looking for one!