At the hotel we stayed during our trip to Orlando Florida, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, they had a few restaurant inside the hotel. Benihana was one of them, and they seemed like a popular spot. I have been to Benihana couple of times a long time ago, and I was not a fan. Or I should say, I am not a fan of their teppanyaki “show.” But one night when we were not able to go outside for dinner, we decided to give them a try anyways.
The inside was kind of simple, mostly white floor, wall, and ceiling. Nothing fancy. Good amount of seating, I believe they had more dining room in the back, but I didn’t get to see it since it was more of a separated room from the main dining room.
It had a really long sushi counter, and they had two staffs working behind the sushi counter. Since we were there for sushi, we should have sat at the sushi counter, but we didn’t really think about that until later… I guess maybe we would have gotten faster service, but then again, who knows.
They had a separate room for teppanyaki only, had a few of those hibachi table and counter seats. This is the popular thing they do here, so this area was pretty packed. I am not a fan because to me, all they do it chop everything up and pour brown sauce all over it, mixed it all up, and done. Come out as pile of brown stuff… No matter what you order, they all look the same, and taste all the same. At least, that was my experience.
There was a wait for a table, so we waited at their bar. They had full bar, and offered some Japanese beer as well. The draft beer puller for the Kirin Beer was in a shape of Sumo wrestler, I have never seen that before. Every time someone orders draft Kirin beer, the bartender had to grab him to pour the beer, which was kind of funny.
We ordered kind of couple of drinks at the bar. First one was called Lychee Blossom ($10) which is made with Vodka, Edlerflower Liqueur, lychee purèe, and pinapple juice. It was a small drink, and was ok. Not as tasty as I wanted it to be… It didn’t have that wow factor.
The second drink was called Haiku Colada ($9.50). Now, this was a drink! It was huge, and pretty colors of deep orange-red and yellow. It is made with Malibu Rum, pineapple, coconut, and strawberry purèe swirl. It is a frozen drink, very sweet but refreshing. Very tropical flavor. I say the price tag was pretty good for the size of this drink.
We ordered side orders to go with sushi. We first went with Hibachi Chicken Rice ($3.55). It is called the “original Benihana classic.” It is made with grilled chicken, rice, egg, and chopped vegetables with garlic flavored butter. It was a small portion, as it is a side order. It was pretty darn tasty, buttery and packed with flavor. I enjoyed the garlic butter, I could’ve had a mountain of this rice…even though that will not be a healthy thing to do.
Another side order we chose was Crispy Spicy Tuna ($9). It is made with spicy tuna mix, served on crispy sesame rice balls, drizzled with soy chili sauce. It was interesting creating, kind of sushi with a twist. The rice was coated with black sesame seeds, and it was also topped with slice of jalapeño to give the extra spiciness. It was ok, not great, just ok. I think the portion was rather small for the price.
Then, onto the sushi. Chili Shrimp Roll ($10.50) and Spider Roll ($11.90). The Chili Shrimp Roll is made with krab, cream cheese and seaweed tempura in a spicy chili sauce, topped with spicy krab and shrimp. It was again interesting, and had really good kick to it. It was spicy and crunchy. It was a bit too spicy, but pretty good.
Spider Roll was big, and made a bit sloppy. It is made with soft shell crab, green leaf, cucumber, avocado, soybean paper, and yamagobo. Since it was sloppy, it felt apart as we were eating it. It was not as good as I wanted, just ok. Didn’t have much of taste…
It did satisfy our craving for sushi, but not greatly. At the end, it didn’t change my feelings towards Benihana… Still not a fan. The staff was ok, it was really, really slow. The sushi took a while to come out, which our server warned us about when we ordered them. It took long time for us to get the check too. We had to find someone, just anyone, so that we could get our check. I don’t think I will be returning to Benihana, unless we are in another jam. But if I do go back, at least I know what drink to order!
Benihana – 1751 Hotel Plaza Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830