Cutting the cheese since 1996

Domo arigatoo all, and to all a good night

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I've written before about how much my brother and I enjoy a good Chinese buffet (good being relative, of course). Sometimes we take the kids, and sometimes the eldest tries a little something, um, less-than-American, while the other sticks to lemon wedges and soft-serve ice cream. Meanwhile, the missus wouldn't be caught dead at a Chinese buffet, which is fine, but in the past until my brother moved to town it always meant the only time I'd get Chinese is if going with co-workers at lunch. Myself excluded, the family has never been big on Far East cuisine. So it was with anticipation but some trepidation that the missus (yes, not I, but the missus) decided we were taking the eldest to a Japanese restaurant for his birthday.

The original plan was Chuck E. Cheese, but it's loud, the pizza is average, and you spend a fortune on tokens for a few tickets and some questionable prizes (in their defense, usually a pretty good salad bar, though). But a friend of hers told her how at the Japanese place they use the hibachi grills to cook right at the table, throw food in your mouth (for the kids, that is) and generally provide a good show while preparing your dinner. When she told me that's where we were going, I was floored. I hadn't been to a Japanese hibachi restaurant in over ten years, so it sounded like a great idea to me. She even managed to sell the kids on it. All good.

Until we got things underway. It started innocent enough. The kids ordered shrimp, the adults steak and chicken. Then the first course: an unfancy but quite good onion soup. "I don't like it." Sigh. Then came the salad with wafu dressing. Again, delicious. Again, "I don't like it." Again, sigh. Then came our chef, who was thoroughly entertaining and amazing to watch, and the kids indeed enjoyed that... until he piled the fried rice on the plates. "I don't like it." And the vegetables. "I don't like them."

To be fair, the eldest didn't complain so much; he did eat some of the rice and vegetables, but I could tell it was something of a kick in the pants of the chef's honor that so much rice and veggies was going uneaten. He actually looked a little hurt, but we assured him that not all are into rice and that it was indeed very good. So good was it all, in fact, that I went home with three boxes of rice and veggies, a box of salad, and two containers of soup. I had a terrific lunch today, and expect another tomorrow.

So end the end the evening cost us about $100, which was about $40 more than we planned to spend at Chuck E. Cheese. Was it worth it? For what the kids ate, probably not, but the fact they were highly entertained the whole time made up for it. For myself, absolutely worth it. It was a dining experience I haven't had in a long, long time. Plus, it'll probably be the first, last and only time I'll not only see the missus in an oriental restaurant, but using chopsticks as well. I'm so proud.

So while it was a little dismaying to see so much food go uneaten (at the table, that is), the night was definitely a success. The birthday boy enjoyed it, and that counted the most. Happy birthday, kid.