Last Update
Feb 9th, 2015

Benihana

276 Commercial Blvd
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33308
(954) 776-0111
Overall Rating
2.4
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
01/29/2015

Details

Hours: M-Th 11:30-2:30pm, Fri 11:30-3pm, M-Th 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 3pm-11pm,Sun 3pm-10pm
Parking: Valet, Street Metered
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Outdoor: No
Delivery: No

Pros

Hibachi Chef Show

Cons

Valet Only Lot
Expensive
Slow Service

Critic's Review

I'd never been to Benihana in Florida before; I went many years ago when it was a new thing, but it's never been my thing. One thing that keeps me away is the forced valet parking; they have a huge lot but you can't park there. The Valet is complementary, but you have to tip them and lock all of your stuff in the trunk; I got a spot on the street that only cost me $1 for an hour.

I didn't realize that all of the hostess directed seating was for the hibachi show; there was 1 table that was full when I arrived so she tried to seat me at big table by myself; I wasn't going to wait for 1/2 hour for other people to show up, so I just went into the lounge.

Something completely unexpected was that I was the only White person in the restaurant (including the workers). There were 6 people in the lounge and a big birthday group in the dining room. The bar is pretty nice and they have side counter tables, but I opted for a hightop.

Service in the lounge is slow, mainly because there's just 1 woman working who also has to make drinks for the restaurant. I'd long decided when she came to take my beverage order; I went for the "Lunch Duet" , which is a choice of 2 of the Hibachi Lunch choices. I selected Beef Julienne, which is described as 'Teriyaki Beef with green onions and mushrooms', and the Hibachi Shrimp, which is purported to be grilled in butter and lemon.

The tea took a few minutes, but eventually it was delivered.

My server mumbled something about soup and salad; The menu didn't say anything about soup. I asked if I could have both, and she said "sure" . The soup came out first.

This is more an onion broth than a soup; it's very light with just a few mushrooms and onions. Not too salty; the spoon is awkward, but I liked the soup. The salad came out seconds later; it had the usual overly decorated look, with the orange ginger dressing that I usually hate. Surprisingly, this dressing was different; not bad at all.

The grape tomatoes are throw aways; restaurants just put them in to say they're giving you tomatoes but they're terrible. I actually liked the salad.

Music plays lightly in the background; the birthday group was making a lot of noise so I couldn't hear much of it. I could see the chefs cooking away in a largely empty restaurant, but it was taking a while.

A bit more waiting, and the food came out.

while the vegetables were "julienne", the beef was not. Whole scallions, which are no fun to bite into with chopsticks and no knife, and a couple of cut up shrimp. Under the bowl was a big portion of rice.

The protein was all weakly seasoned. The beef had no teriyaki flavor at all and there were no mushrooms; the shrimp likewise has no lemon or butter flavoring. There's no salt or pepper (or soy sauce on the table); I had to ask for soy sauce. The beef was tough. A very underwhelming meal for $14.75. Kind of disappointing after the soup and salad.

I got my check and swung by the dining room for a picture; there were 2 people in the place; which was just the kind of situation I was trying to avoid when I decided to eat in the lounge.

Conclusion

There was a Japanese Steakhouse a block from my condo that I never went to and now I've been to Benihana. I guess the show is fun if you're in a group, but otherwise the place is nothing special. It seems to be popular with the non-Caucasion crowd.

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