Families mingle with strangers around steaming tables where young men wielding knives work the crowd like lion tamers at the hibachi bar. It is wild under this big tent and reservations are required to participate. The basic meal in the interactive part of the restaurant is fried rice accompanied by soup, or salad and a shrimp sampler. A main ingredient such as lobster, chicken or pork is prepared with veggies (zucchini, onion, mushroom, carrot, broccoli). Typical dishes include filet mignon hibachi, shrimp hibachi or the seafood deluxe consisting of lobster, shrimp and scallops. We did not have a reservation for the Hibachi Bar, but since that experience prevents conversation of any kind, we were happy to sit in the dining room despite the occasional banging of gongs at tables with birthday parties.
Our guest was a rather sophisticated 12-year-old who refused to order off the kid’s menu and came armed with a book in case things got slow. Her first pick was a Marble Soda—a stand-out call because the strawberry drink had Suduko packaging.
We ordered squid in barbecue sauce and out came a sea creature that looked as if it could drive us home through the snow. It was cooked as squid should be; not too much and not too little, although the sauce was a bit goopy. Other appetizers we tried were the Age Tofu, deep fried tofu with bonito flakes—excellent because the tofu was very silky and the flakes barely there, providing just enough for coverage and crunch. Also we tried the Shumai, which is steamed shrimp dumplings, very tender and sweetly fresh.
The second thing about K’s that is distinctive is a certain whackiness on the chef’s part. The deceptively named Asian roll, which consists of crispy banana tempura, is topped with spicy tuna and tempura flakes. It’s very sweet and, because the tuna is so fresh, works for the adventurous palate. Then there are two rolls featuring strawberry sauce; the Lovers’ Box Roll and the Black Angel Roll.
Less adventurous meals include three variations on the traditional Bento Box, which is a neat combination of fish, vegetable and rice as well as noodle dishes. Watch out for the Yosenabe Hot Pot, which contains very fresh, delicious fish, chicken, shrimp, scallops, bean curd and vegetables as listed on the menu. But instead of Thick White Wheat Noodles, cellophane noodles were served, providing inadequate support for such a large cast of characters. Because this restaurant is so good otherwise, we can only assume the substitution was due to a busy night or a free-styling chef.
We all agreed that the food was superior to similar restaurants and also that we did not like the artificial crab which came with my Hot Pot. It looked beautiful floating around with less interesting ingredients in a brown sauce, yet had no flavor. “It’s the only bad thing so far,” said the kid.