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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kobe Teppan and Sushi

13741 Newport Ave
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 544-4055

3 more locations in Plano-TX, San Marcos-TX and Tempe-AZ

I visited Kobe Teppan and Sushi around 7:00 PM on a Friday night as a party of five. We were seated immediately. I'm a pretty big fan of teppanyaki restaurants because the food is usually pretty tasty and it's always fun to watch the chefs do their tricks while cooking in front of you.

We looked over the menu and tried to decide what to order. After a few minutes I decided to order my standard teppanyaki meal of steak and chicken with fried rice ($24.95 + $2.50 extra for the fried rice). I then noticed that the menu said it was $2.00 extra if you wanted them to use fresh garlic when they cooked your food. I have never seen this on a teppanyaki menu before. Most of the teppanyaki restaurants I have been to use garlic on everyone's food unless you specifically request "no garlic." I decided to just try my food the way it came instead of paying the extra $2.00 for garlic.

J ordered the NY steak ($22.95), R ordered the Hibachi Chicken ($17.95) and S ordered Teriyaki Beef ($20.95). S also ordered the Fuji Roll ($9.95). V decided she would just have sushi for dinner and ordered a Philly Roll ($7.95) and a Kiss of Fire Roll (Price Unknown).

A few minutes after we ordered, they brought everyone (except V since she only ordered sushi) a salad and some soup. The soup was an onion soup with mushrooms that was pretty plain, but pretty tasty. The salad had a standard gingery dressing on it. It was also pretty good.

The chef arrived, confirmed everyone's order and started cooking. He seemed to have pretty low energy. He started off cooking the fried rice. The fried rice was your basic recipe of carrots, celery, onion, chicken, rice, oil, butter and soy sauce. He added some salt, pepper and sesame seeds as well.

He then made the classic onion volcano with a little twist. He made the volcano and then made an inverted one on top of it. This unfortunately was the extent of his "flair" cooking. Watching the rest of his "show" was about as exciting as watching a short order cook working the grill at a diner. There were no tricks with the eggs for the fried rice, no twirling of knives, no strobe lights. It was basically just some guy cooking.

He finished up everyone's food and then realized that he had given the wrong meat to people. He apologized and said that we should just eat what was on our plate and he would go get more steak from the kitchen. He returned with a couple more steaks, quickly cooked them up and served them out. Our chef said that he had been doing this for 10+ years so he must have just been having an off night.

I started to eat my food and was really disappointed. It was extremely bland. Everyone else seemed to agree. I asked the waitress for some salt and pepper. I don't think I have ever had to do this at a teppanyaki restaurant before. Everything, including the fried rice, had no flavor. At this point I was thinking that maybe it would have been a good idea to pay the extra $2.00 so they would have used some garlic when they cooked my food. S said that since her food was covered in teriyaki sauce, it tasted ok. Everyone else though took turns using the salt and pepper shakers.

New York Steak and Hibachi Chicken

Teriyaki Steak

V's sushi arrived around the time the chef started cooking. The Philly roll contained salmon, cream cheese and avocado. She liked the Philly roll and said it tasted about the same as any other sushi place. Then she tried the Kiss of Fire roll. This roll had albacore and avocado on the inside and was topped with spicy tuna and green onions. She said that the albacore tuna inside was really fishy. She also got a fish bone and some fish scales in her mouth. She was not enjoying this at all. We informed the waiter of the problems with the roll and requested a spicy tuna roll ($7.95, not pictured) instead. The waiter apologized and took back the Kiss of Fire roll. He brought back a spicy tuna roll a few minutes later. V enjoyed this roll a lot more. S's Fuji roll was basically a California roll topped with fresh salmon. It was also covered with some kind of sauce that was similar to soy sauce. S liked this roll a lot. J tried it and liked it as well even though she doesn't usually like raw salmon.

Overall, everyone was really disappointed with the teppanyaki at this restaurant. It was just really bland. The sushi seemed to be decent though. The prices are high and the show wasn't any good. Most teppanyaki places can justify the high prices because you are getting an entertaining show with your meal. This place didn't really provide much of a show though so I think I will avoid this place in the future and just go to Koki's whenever I want sushi and teppanyaki.

Kobe Teppan & Sushi on Urbanspoon


Melissa said...

I have thus far heard only bad things about this place. Too bad since it's right around the corner from me. I may give Koki's a shot, and thanks for mentioning them as a good alternative.

Also, in the same shopping center with Kobe, there is an Italian spot called Barolo. They're sometimes just a tad off the mark, but I love them. Just a suggestion. :)

Diamond Dog said...

Does anyone except Caucasian tourists (that pour soy sauce on white rice) go to these flip and show steak house things? Don't think any Japanese clientele ever go to these places and that they were made to suck in the Caucasians.

And Barolo is OK, but seriously over rated (as are most Italian restaurants). Go to Italy and eat there and then eat at Italian restaurants in the USA and you will know what I mean.

Griffin said...

Melissa-Thanks for the info. I'll have to try out Barolo sometime.

Diamond Dog! I thought you dies or something! I haven't seen a comment from you on my blog for months. I was going to email you, but I lost your email. Glad to hear you're still alive and kicking!

In regards to your comment, I am 100% Japanese and I love teppanyaki. I realize it is not authentic Japanese food, but it can often be pretty tasty. I also find it entertaining to watch some of the tricks that the good chefs can do.

Also, I have yet to find a really good Italian restaurant in Orange County. People are always asking me where the best Italian in OC is and I never have an answer for them.

Griffin said...

Oops....It should say "died" above instead of "dies" I hate that I can't edit my comments....

Diamond Dog said...

Still around! I comment on some blogs randomly, but not as much.

Here is a good OC Italian restaurant. Really like true Italian food

too bad its in San Fran

Melissa said...

DD - Haha.

I agree about the Italian. Nothing truly great in the OC. But Barolo is better than most, so it satisfies when I feel like eating out.

The best Italian I find in OC is right in my own kitchen. ;)