BEST JAPANESE IN THAILAND
It has been a while, but as I recall this restaurant put the “show” in dinner and a show. BENIHANA was just voted best Japanese restaurant in Thailand for the second year in a row by Thailand Tatler magazine! This is not your typical steak and shrimp Tepenyaki restaurant, as it offers a wide variety of premium selections as well as pages of high end sushi rolls and sashimi. I came to explore all that BENIHANA had become. Regular readers know I am a bottomless pit for sushi rolls and desert cakes, this time I will not disappoint.
Located at the Royal Garden Shopping Mall on the third floor, it seemed like one should have cocktails on the patio overlooking the beach. And so that was done. A great way to settle in and get started looking at all the menu choices.
I advised my group that I would finish all sushi rolls so feel free to try something new. As a result I got to enjoy an Angry Tuna roll, a Hamachi Beach roll, the Zen Garden, an obvious CA roll, the FAT DUCK roll with foie gras, two other rolls I couldn’t find pictures of in the menu. Only the Godzilla Roll (Wagyu beef) escaped uneaten. As is usual for me I had to request extra ginger and wasabi to wash it all down. It was promptly delivered.
This was considered my appetizer and I will say it worked. We settle into ordering KOBE beef, Hokkaido scallops, Snow fish, and Tiger Prawns for the main course. As an American I am aware of American restaurants who claim Kobe beef but do not have certificates of proof. As a result, before ordering I got to see the certificate. This is a good restaurant. Note: Wagyu is not even close to Kobe.
So our servers promptly deliver the salad with ginger sauce, miso soup with onion and edamame. Our chef arrives and begins showing off. After a bit of bell ringing and catching containers in his hat he actually starts cooking. First comes the mixed vegetables. He slices the onions and carefully stacks the rings into a tower. You know what is coming… a fire volcano. Being bold I of course don’t lean back and get my eyebrows flame trimmed for free. Or at least my forehead gets warm. Our chef is named Shake (he claimed it is pronounced like the wine sake, but I kept singing the song shake, shake, shake, and he obliged. From spinning eggs on a spatula, he successfully split four in a row into a bowl to prep for the shrimp fried rice. He had a shill at the end of the table from the company and he could throw shrimp into his mouth every time. I, of course, missed every one.
Next comes Tiger prawns. You know I am a cold water lobster kind of guy but these come darn close in taste and texture. A couple seared pieces of snowfish goes with it. Now beautiful large white Hokkaido scallops quickly seared and made to dance on the hot griddle and served, delicious.
Now of course the main event the Kobe beef. WE all make it easy medium rare. I am pleased to report no guest dipped it in any sauce, delicious on its own. I would have freaked. Couldn’t help but notice they have a Tomahawk steak as well. Next time.
In keeping with my tradition I ate 4 cakes for desert. A chocolate brownie, blueberry cheesecake, a strawberry/blue berry meringue and a Japanese desert called a flaming banana combo.
It was all big fun 2 hours flew by…
By Nick Athens