by Jude the Foodie
Have you ever been to a hibachi restaurant? My first experience was Fuji Grill in LaSalle.
I had recently been to Melting Pot at the Galleria Mall and thought they may be similar. I could not have been more wrong. At the Melting Pot, you cook your own food. At Fuji Grill, an amazing highly skilled chef prepares your meal tableside.
I suggest calling for a reservation and going with at least four people. This is an experience to be shared. Each grill seats about 10, but restaurant staff puts parties less than that at each corner so, while you are dining with guests with whom you are not familiar, it is not the least bit intrusive.
As soon as my three dining companions were seated, we ordered beverages. Beer and wine for my friends, and a special "Hawaiian Volcano" made with Southern Comfort, amaretto and the juice of pineapple, orange and lime created a sweet way to begin my meal.
I will admit something right away: I'm a clean freak when it comes to food. I found it fascinating the server set trays onto the hibachi. Aren't they going to cook on it? Not to worry. Prior to the food preparation, a very meticulous cleaning readied the grill.
Our chef was trained in five international cuisines and was very proud of Keating and teaching Bette Midler how to cook. He passed sticky pictures all around.
We began our meal with appetizers. If you have been a regular reader, you know that if calamari is on the menu I will be sure to try it. We also had the gyoza, which are pan-fried pork dumplings and the "Walking Shrimp," which werecrispy shrimp with spicy cream sauce. These were my favorite.
As soon as we were served our appetizers, the show began. During the hibachi preparation, we were served salad or soup. I had the salad and thought the dressing was very refreshing. It had the flavor of thousand island, but with a texture of finely chopped lettuce. It was unusual and delicious.
Some of us had entrees with rice and some with noodles. The rice preparation was interesting, including the egg to bind it. It was really fun to see how they prepare fried rice. It was very tasty.
I thought I would ask questions as we went along, being the curious foodie I am, but between the fast pace, loud room and slight language barrier, I decided to just go along for the ride.
Our group had chicken and rice, steak and rice, and the "Sushi Deluxe" platter, which included one roll. There was a nice variety in the sushi platter and we enjoyed the sauces.
We each got a pairing of sauce, which came in little cups. It was great not having to worry about double-dipping.
My entree was tenderloin and lobster. The lobster is removed from the shell and placed on the plate with noodles (my choice). The lobster meat is cooked on the hibachi with various flavorings and served back in the shell.
The fish was cooked perfectly. My tenderloin was cooked to my medium rare specifications and added a perfect balance to my meal. I would order this every time I come here. It was just that good. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their meals as much as I did.
Another interesting flair was the spraying of sake from squeeze bottles. This was a first for me. I passed on the first round, but decided to play along the next. It was very sweet and not at all the sake of my memory (They must water it down with something sweet or they would have more lawsuits than they could handle!) The kids could play along, too, as they also had a bottle clearly marked "soda" for them. Their motto was "more Sake means more fun!"
No dinner is complete without dessert, and we ordered two. One was a chocolate pot and was very good. The other was the "Exotic Bomba," and I highly recommend it.
It is a beautiful sorbet dessert that is the perfect companion to the meal.
I thought the experience, the food and fun made Fuji Grill worth another visit. Give it a try and let me know what you thought.
Fuji Grill is located at 7310 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls. Call 716-283-6388.