Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Restaurant Review: Benihana (Golden Valley Location)

Us celebrating Daren's 25 birthday at Benihana
I don't know this for sure but I have a hunch that when you reach the age of 25 you start to feel really old. Something about realizing you are out on your own, paying your own bills, and 5 years from 30... Woah, I'm breaking a sweat over here just thinking about it. Luckily I still have about a year and a half to prepare myself. And thankfully when Daren turned 25 in June he set an excellent example for how to take it by eating good food (make mental note of this).

One of the places we accompanied Daren to for a birthday celebration is Benihana. I love Benihana and all the restaurants out there like it. It's always a good time watching the chefs prepare your meal right in front of you.
Chef Aaron pouring the yum yum sauce
Making a heart out of the chicken fried rice
Cooking the entrees
If you weren't aware, Benihana has this program called the Chef's Table; it's basically them sending you a monthly "here are our specials" email. But the real reason you should subscribe to this is for the $30 voucher they send out at the beginning of your birthday month. It's good Monday-Thursday anytime during the month of your birthday. Quite the sweet deal as it practically pays for your entire meal (excluding tax and alcohol purchases). So it goes without saying that when mine, Mark's, or Daren's birthday month rolls around we take full advantage of this offer.

However, since Daren's birthday landed on a Saturday this year we had to wait until the following Monday (6.11.12) to get our chicken fried rice on (seriously, get the chicken fried rice). But it was well worth the wait, as I would consider this our best trip to Benihana yet.

Even though we had a reservation they were running a little behind when we arrived so we sat at the bar and waited. Now Mark and I aren't big drinkers, but we have been on a Mad Men craze since we discovered it on Netflix, so sitting at the bar made us feel like we were in the show (weird I know).... We decided to order a Tokyo Manhattan and share. It was quite the tasty drink reminiscent of a whiskey sour, which just happens to be my usual drink of choice.
Tokyo Manhattan
Once we were seated we started pursuing the menu. Given I had just happily indulgent in the big italian feast from Buca the night before I was leaning more towards the veggies side. Which ended up working out great because Mark ordered a meat entree and we shared.

I ordered the garden delight which was steamed asparagus, sweet potatoes, spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, and a side of brown rice. It was of course right up my alley and I loved it. It was made even better by my decision to dip EVERYTHING in the amazing yum yum sauce. Our chef even took the time to make a mosaic of sorts out of my veggies. And because this is one of their vegetarian meals it came with a separate tofu appetizer instead of the regular shrimp one everyone receives. This was fine with me because I love tofu and it had a really good, spicy sauce on top.
Tofu appetizer
Chef's mosaic made with my veggies
Mark ordered Rocky's Favorite. It was a piece of steak and a piece of chicken sauteed in butter with mushrooms. Mark thought it was delicious (butter + meat = how could it not be) and he finally got with the program by realizing the yum yum sauce is oh so delicious and subsequently dipped everything in it. Mark's meal came with a choice of ice cream for dessert and he chose the green tea flavor. We both agreed that it wasn't the best available flavor, but he had wanted to try it for some time.
Green tea ice cream
And while the food was pretty good as usual, what made this experience the best one yet was our chef, Aaron. He was so enthusiastic and impressive. He called butter "peanut butter" and soy sauce "coca cola", which both Jeff and I got quite the kick out of. On top of having a wonderful chef, we received a discount for having to wait for our table to be ready.

Obviously we will be back in November for my birthday.
Jeff's straw/chop stick creation
Fork Mark may or may not have accidentally kept
Birthday boys

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