It is a tradition in our family, that when it is your Birthday, you get to pick the place that we go out for dinner! This year, my sister decided on a new Japanese Restaurant in Rhinebeck. It is called Sakura, which means ‘cherry blossom’ in Japanese. Cherry blossoms are cherished for their beauty and short life, just watch a scene from ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ to see just how beautiful they can be. What a wonderful name for a restaurant!
When you first walk in the decor is the first thing you notice. Lovely Japanese framed woodblock pictures, dark woods and the tables are actually a ‘U’ shaped barwith each hibachi grill in the center. The 6 of us thought that Hibachi would be fun!
A lovely woodblock print fabric serves asa beautiful ‘door’ to the kitchen.
Even the wooden menu with carved handwriting is stylish
The menu is extensive and about half the menu is Sushi, which would also be fun to watch, but the best value is definitely hibachi dinners. All dinners included a small green salad, miso soup, fried rice, shrimp appetizer and your main entrée. Entrée choices range from chicken, steak, salmon, shrimp or any combination. Filet mignon and lobster are also available. Complete dinner prices range from $16-$30. The other great thing about Hibachi is that everyone’s dinner is cooked right in front of you, so that you know what is in it… and everyone is served at the same time. For drinks, you can get beer, wine, tea or sake… both hot and cold. Sis had plum wine(which I was soon sorry I did not get as it was really sweet, thick and delicious!), Sis’s beau and Chris had hot sake (wow!) The rest of us had tea.
The salad came out first. It was a small portion, just enough and the dressing had a wonderful ginger sesame oil dressing. Next came the miso soup. I loved the little bowls and soup spoons.
Sis’s beau gave us a little lesson on the reason for the bowl design. It has something to do with heat transference. If you hold the bowl by the bottom rim, your hands don’t get hot!
Next, our very talented Hibachi Chef wheeled out his cart full of tools and got cooking! He twirled his knife and spatula like batons… in and out of each finger and around his back… at this pointI was praying that none of us was going to lose an eye or that we didn’t wind up eating a finger in our food!
Then he flipped and played with the egg, cracked it and made our fried rice. This was hands down, the best fried rice I had ever eaten!
He tossed around some shrimp, squirted on plenty of sauce…and there was our shrimp appetizer.
He confirmed our orders, placed heaping portions of fresh steak, chicken, salmon and scallops… and our main entrées were underway. A plate of fresh veggies with carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and broccoli was also heaped on the grill.
He stacked an onion, lit it on fire… voila! a volcano!
Some sauces, some dicing, slicing and some more trixing and mixing and before you know it everyone had their entrée, complete with individual bowls of a wasabi sauce and a ginger based dipping sauce.
It can take up to 3 years of training to be a hibachi chef. Ours was pretty new and he did an excellent job! This is only my second experience with hibachi and I would say that it was just as good as the first, but in a much more intimate setting compared to the other restaurant. Go to Sakura not only for the food, but for the experience!