Nostalgia Edition: Benihana, Encino, CA

Is the food innovative? No, of course not; the menu doesn’t appear to have changed since my adolescence.

Does the occasional ham-handed composition arrive at the table? Look no further than the greasy, bottom-of-the-fryer flavored onion rings sitting in an otherwise flavorful mushroom soup.

With that said, there’s a reason the restaurant was packed for dinner on a Saturday night. It really is a fun dining experience (I’m convinced you’d have to be a bore not to enjoy Benihana).

As for the food, there are two dipping sauces–one with a soy-ginger base and the other with a mustard-onion base–that every viand loves. And once Joe, our cook, detected my enthusiasm for the garlic-soy butter, he began lathering the lipid all over the chicken fried rice and chicken breast. Add to that Anthony, our friendly server, who cleared plates expeditiously and kept our beverages full throughout dinner, and it becomes a wonder why nearly a decade passed between visits.

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Mushroom soup

Mushroom soup

Iceberg salad

Iceberg salad

Chicken fried rice

Chicken fried rice

The Benihana Delight: shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, zucchini and onions

The Benihana Delight: shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, zucchini and onions