We're not so silly as to believe that the average customer at a Benihana steakhouse strolls in thinking he or she's in for a traditional Japanese meal, but a recent glance at the chain's menu has us scratching our heads.
From violently blue-colored cocktails to sushi rolls crammed full of cream cheese, Benihana's menu is full of things you'd never find in Japan. It's not unlike Olive Garden, which offers up fare you'd be hard-pressed to find in Italy.
We imagine plenty people are satisfied with Benihana's brand of faux Japanese food. After all, it's still in business decades after its founding in 1964, with locations across the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean to boot.
Still, it's hard not to chuckle at some offerings on Benihana's menu. Does anyone really think these are Japanese dishes?
Colossal Mango Shrimp
We have to wonder what "Colossal Mango Shrimp" is doing on Benihana's menu. The chain's website describes it as "Colossal shrimp grilled with yellow bell pepper, asparagus, lime and cilantro in a sweet mango sauce," which doesn't sound particularly Japanese. It doesn't sound particularly like anything, if truth be told.
Las Vegas Roll
Benihana is hardly the only eatery guilty of creating sushi rolls that would make <a href="http://www.magpictures.com/jirodreamsofsushi/">Jiro Ono</a> weep. But the Las Vegas Roll is a particular offender, not for being deep-fried, not for the salmon, avocado and jalapeño inside, not for the spicy sauce drizzled atop it and not even for being named for a city half a world away from Tokyo. It's particularly horrible because of the cream cheese. Cream cheese should never be in sushi. Never.
The Philadelphia Roll has cream cheese. And the salmon is smoked. And it's named for Philadelphia. We have no more to say.
Sorry, Benihana -- onion volcanos are not a thing in Japan. They are fun to watch, though.
Benihana may think it can slap the word "Emperor" on anything and make it Japanese, but it can't. There is nothing Japanese about this garden salad with grapefruit, avocado, asparagus, English cucumber and assorted fresh vegetables. Except maybe the wasabi dressing, but that's pushing it.
Blue Moon Saketini
We're quite certain that there never existed a traditional Japanese drink that was blue. Or any traditional drink that was blue, for that matter.
Blue Tsunami Punch Bowl
Another blue drink! You just won't learn, will you, Benihana? Also, we don't think anyone in Japan wants to talk about tsunamis right now. Where's the sensitivity?
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