Dine with us at Kobe Steakhouse for your next date

When seeking to find the right place for a date night, it can be a challenge with all the options in Central Florida. Kobe Steakhouse provides the perfect choice with its world-class food, signature cocktails, and one of a kind experience. Whether it’s a first date or a special night, Kobe Steakhouse can ensure a memorable atmosphere that is exciting, yet still romantic. We are the perfect balance for any date.

Dining with us displays the perfect setting. At Kobe Steakhouse it’s more than just a dining room away from home. Our restaurant creates a level of comfort, intimacy, and romance. We provide the perfect ambiance for you to make your date one to remember.

There are many reasons why you should join us for your next date.


At Kobe Steakhouse we carry a variety of drink choices with our fully stocked bar. You can try one of our many signature cocktails such as; the Scorpion bowl which is the perfect drink to share with your special someone or friend, Mai-Tai, Kobe Dragonberry, or relax with our top quality sake.


Teppanyaki dining adds an extra element of fun to your meal. We give your date the fantastic experience of having your meal cooked on a hot iron plate right in front of you. Therefore, there are no hidden secrets as you can witness the freshness of the ingredients used. Also, don’t forget about the entertainment provided by our expert teppanyaki chefs while they prepare the food and cook the ingredients; which will guarantee you and your date will always have a great time together.

Teppanyaki chefs have been trained to give you entertainment while they cook your food. We offer you an enjoyable experience so that you and your date will have a whole new dining experience. You will be able to sit back and watch the chefs juggle utensils, toss food up in the air, catch shrimp in their mouths, and finally enjoy the delicious food that was prepared in front of you. So, you don’t have to feel pressured to entertain your date since we will have you both entertained throughout the entire meal.

At Kobe Steakhouse we take pride in carrying on the ancient tradition of teppanyaki-hibachi style cooking. With a Japanese country-inn ambiance, your date will fully be immersed in this tradition. Kobe promises to deliver an unforgettable dining performance in combination with fresh, tender, and flavorful food.


At Kobe Steakhouse we are known for our fantastic food. We offer the finest cuts of beef, sirloin, and filet mignon. However, if you do not prefer beef, you can enjoy yourself with our other dinners that are made with shrimp, chicken, salmon, lobster, scallops, and noodles. Our food is always accompanied by a variety of dipping sauces featuring our famous white sauce. If you’re a vegetarian, then we have excellent alternatives from you to choose from as well.

Also, you will be able to enjoy one of the best forms of beef available in the world. The tenderness, flavorful, and heavy marbling gives our Wagyu beef a satisfying mouthfeel. Our chefs prepare our beef so that it melts in your mouth like butter which makes our Wagyu beef an outstanding culinary experience for any special occasion.

A Beginners Guide to Sake

When you visit Kobe Steakhouse, not only will you be able to indulge in the delicious Japanese food, but you will also be able to try some of our authentic sake choices. For those not familiar with this classic Japanese alcoholic drink, here are a few things to help you understand more about sake before you try it for yourself:

DEFINING SAKE: If you ask for sake in Japan, you will be met with a confused look because the word simply refers to a generic group of alcoholic drinks. However, when not in Japan, ordering sake will get you the traditional alcoholic fermented rice beverage. If you want the classic sake beverage while in Japan, you should ask for a Nihonshu.

TYPES OF SAKE: Because of the varied production processes and ingredients, sake is available in a myriad of varieties. Sake can be classified using several different factors, including the region from which it hails, the brewing process, the type of rice used, and more. One of the most common ways to classify sake is by labeling the polishing process. The polishing refers to how intensely the rice was milled, removing the outer layers of the grain and getting to the heart of the core. The most premium sakes have been polished down the most. Here are a few of the major types of sake to help get you started:

  • JUNMAI: This pure rice, non-additive sake exhibits a full taste with a slightly acidic profile.
  • HONJOZO: Made with water, rice, and koji, this type of sake contains a small amount of added alcohol, helping to smooth out the flavor and provide an easier drinking experience.
  • GINJO AND JUNMAI GINJO: This premium sake delivers a fruity and light flavor due to its specialized yeast ingredients and unique fermentation process.
  • DAIGINJO AND JUNMAI DAIGINJO: As one of the most premium types of sake, this drink requires a specialized brewing process and highly polished rice in its production.

DRINKING SAKE 101: Now that you have some background about the origins and production process of sake, it is time to enjoy the drink. Many beginning sake drinkers wonder what type of glass to use when drinking the beverage. Unlike traditional wine, there is no special glass shape that makes drinking the differing varietals a better experience. Most sake is consumed out of a glass material. Doing so will ensure that the complex flavors and aromas of the drink are not lost within the receptacle materials. Those looking for a more authentic experience can choose to drink their sake out of a traditional ochoko or masu.

Some sakes are better served warm while others need to be chilled to bring out the best flavors. There are no hard and fast rules about this and you will soon discover that drinking temperature is often just a personal preference. If you wish to drink your sake warm, it is important to take care to not heat it too quickly. Experts recommend using a specially designed sake carafe to gradually heat the beverage so that it is evenly warmed and the flavor is not lost. Experimenting for yourself will help you to discern how you best prefer your sake.

The best way to learn more about sake is to simply begin drinking it. Once you get the opportunity to sample some different varietals and experiment drinking it at varying temperatures, your own personal taste preferences will begin to be revealed. Have fun during the learning process and enjoy the beverage for all that it offers. Cheers!

Health Benefits of Japanese Food

The Japanese diet is based on the principle of health and longevity. Japanese food is not only tasteful and mouth-watering but also offers various health benefits. Japanese food traditionally consists of unprocessed foods, refined sugar or foods, and high amounts of grains and vegetables. Here are some of the many health benefits of enjoying Japanese food:


Japan has had an extremely low risk for hormone-dependent cancers such as breast and prostate cancers. This is attributed to the high consumption of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, high-fiber foods, and overall lower calorie intake.


The Japanese diet consists of a wide range of vegetables, which contains essential minerals to support overall nutrition. For example, seaweed is highly nutritious, including large amounts of iodine that can help your body preserve a healthy thyroid. Also, high amounts of fruit are consumed for breakfast and dessert, which has high amounts of fiber and water content.


As a nation, Japan has one of the lowest rates for the development of heart disease in the world and even more compared to developed countries. The reasoning behind these low instances of heart diseases is that the Japanese diet is filled with foods that help improve heart health.

Furthermore, Japanese food lacks ingredients in their diet which promotes poor cardiac health like high levels of saturated fats, modified carbohydrates from processed foods, and lower levels of sugar consumption. Soy is commonly in many Japanese dishes, and it is known to decrease the risk of heart attacks, as well as, regulate blood pressure. The Japanese use soy as an alternative to red meat, which can be very high in saturated fats.


Japanese restaurants usually include green tea with their meals, which have numerous health benefits. Green tea is known to help regulate blood pressure, lower blood sugar, boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, and slow down the aging process. It also contains half the amount of caffeine that coffee does, and helps breaks down oils in your digestive system. Green tea also helps create a relaxed and focused mental state of mind due to it being rich in antioxidants.


The Japanese culture understands that eating high-quality sources of protein helps promote a healthier lifestyle. Many of the dishes in Japanese food are full of protein, which is incredibly beneficial to your body. Fish, chicken, and even tofu are some of the most common staples in Japanese food. When you eat a lot of protein, you create stronger building blocks for your bones, your muscles, your cartilage, your skin, and even your blood. Protein also provides large amounts of iron, which keeps your blood oxygenated, so it continues to flow through your body as efficiently as possible.

In addition, the Japanese diet uses a lot of fish instead of red meats because it lowers the risks of heart attacks. By consuming more fish, you’re also gaining a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and brain-boosting nutrients.


Teppanyaki, which is also part of the Japanese diet, is another great option for healthier eating. Even though teppanyaki is fried, it’s incredibly healthy. One of the benefits of choosing this style of cooking is the food preparation. Compared to others where everything is deep fried, teppanyaki doesn’t deep fry any of their foods. Instead, items are cooked in a conservative amount of cottonseed oil on a flat-top grill. With options like fish and veggies, you can easily eat knowing you’re putting the right foods into your body.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Kobe Steakhouse

Valentine’s Day serves as an excellent reminder for people to take time out of their day to enjoy each other and share an intimate experience. Spending time with your partner doing something you love, like sitting down and enjoying a delicious meal can be more rewarding than an expensive gift and provides a memorable experience for you and your partner. However, this can lead to a lot of pressure in deciding on the right place to take your special someone. Fortunately, for you, Kobe Steakhouse provides the perfect ambiance for your romantic date night!

At Kobe Steakhouse, we understand you don’t only want to have the right setting for your special someone, but you also want them to feel comfortable during their dining experience. With our friendly staff, you will find yourself connecting with your date every time one of our chefs cracks a funny joke or does one of their many food tricks. By choosing Kobe Steakhouse, you’re picking a place both of you will like and one that will make you gleam with joy from the second you walk through our doors.

Coming to our renowned steakhouse gives an ambiance like no other. From the minute you walk in, you will have the feeling of stepping into a whole new world. At Kobe Steakhouse, you get the best of both worlds of being able to enjoy our themed restaurant and the romantic atmosphere that will be flowing through the air.

Envision yourself eating your meal around a table filled with other joyous people sharing in your experience of being dazzled by our captivating chefs. If the entertainment is not enough for you, then start your romantic evening off with one of our signature cocktails such as our Mai-Tai, Kobe Breeze, or the infamous scorpion bowl for 2. Then, indulge yourself with one of our delightful sushi rolls like our Red Dragon Roll, which is stuffed with tempura shrimp, cucumber, and avocado.

Next, you will make your way onto our main courses. For Valentine’s Day, you will have a vast amount of upscale dining options to choose from including steak, chicken, or our wide range of seafood. Also, don’t forget about our noodle dishes and the savory Kobe white sauce. Our specialty in Kobe beef is some of the finest meat, which is sure to impress.

Additionally, if you prefer tofu, don’t worry. We have plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians to choose from. Also, don’t forget to end your special meal with one of our desserts such as our cheesecake, gelato, and fried ice cream.

Valentine’s Day will be on a Thursday this year, so start your romantic weekend off with a unique and exciting experience. With the special day quickly approaching, don’t wait to make your priority seating as soon as possible.

Whenever you decide to celebrate your special occasion, the staff here at Kobe Steakhouse promises to serve you an unforgettable and memorable night that you and your significant other will never forget. Make a priority seating with us today by either calling or booking online.

The Differences Between Hard Shell Crab, Soft Shell Crab and Krab

When dining out, you have probably noticed a plethora of similar sounding ingredients in some of your favorite dishes. In the case of hard shell crab, soft shell crab and krab, this is often confusing. In Japanese cuisine, they are all used in similar dishes, so what are the differences? Here we’ll give you a little information to help you navigate the menu next time you dine with us.


Though called by different names, both soft shell and hard shell crab both come from the same type of crab. These crustaceans, usually blue crabs, go through a molting period when they mature. This means that they have grown too large for their shells and need to remove them before they can grow a new, larger shell to accommodate their size.

This process begins with the crab absorbing water until it swells large enough to break open its current shell and climb out. Once the crab has picked its way free from the old shell, it can begin growing a new shell. A few days will pass before a new hard shell has finished growing to cover the exposed soft body of the crab. During this short window, the crab is harvested quickly and can be prepared in a variety of different ways.

While both soft and hard shell crab have a bright, salty sweet flavor, the textures are quite different. The texture of a soft shell crab is unique. Normally deep fried, a light crunch gives way to the buttery soft meat inside. Though not quite as delicate in texture, the hard shell crab has a slightly more robust flavor hidden inside the tough exterior.

For a soft shell crab experience you will not forget, take a look at our Spider Roll. A deep fried soft shell crab and crab cake are combined with cucumber, avocado, masago and mayo rolled together with diced mango, eel sauce and sesame seeds inside a sheet of crisp nori.


Despite the name, krab is normally not made with any real crab, though some companies do use real crab along with the other ingredients. Called surimi, imitation crab or krab, this imitation meat is normally made of three basic ingredients. White fish, starch and spices are ground together to create a paste which can then be shaped into leg-like pieces and colored to resemble crab. Common in Japanese cuisine, this imitation seafood is used in many dishes all over the world.

Created in Japan as a cost effective replacement for shellfish in the 1970’s, surimi gained global popularity. Not only is it cheap and easy to manufacture, but surimi has a longer shelf life than standard shellfish and is easier to acquire all year. A decade later, surimi surfaced in the United States as imitation crab or Krab in sushi and seafood restaurants where it became a favorite. Today, imitation crab is still widely popular both in seafood dishes and as a shellfish alternative.

For those who would like to try imitation crab today, might we suggest our Rainbow Roll. Imitation crab, cucumber and avocado are rolled together inside nori and topped with tuna, salmon, white fish, avocado, mosago, lemon drops and sesame seeds.

For those who suffer from shellfish or other food allergies, please talk to your chef and server. While we cannot guarantee to completely eliminate all allergens, we will do everything we can to ensure your protection, including preparing your meal in our back kitchen.

Types of Sushi

The idea of eating sushi can be a little daunting at first: After all, most cuisines don’t feature uncooked proteins. However, sushi happens to be one of the most complex and delicious cuisines in the world, as more and more people throughout the world are finding out about this popular japanese food choice.

At first, the world of sushi can seem overly complicated and strange. The terms aren’t familiar, and there is a wide assortment of types of sushi to try. For a beginner, a sushi menu is usually literally a foreign language. But the good news is that you can easily understand the basics of sushi by learning just a few classifications into which sushi is grouped.
Once you understand the following types of sushi, you’ll be able to order sushi with confidence, and begin to appreciate one of the most novel and delicious world cuisines.


Temaki is another variation on the concept of the sushi roll. A Temaki sushi uses the seaweed in a rolled shape similar to an ice cream cone, with the ingredients that make up the sushi roll being placed inside.

Temaki rolls are often served as appetizers, and are a fun variant on the traditional Maki form.

So, to summarize, Sushi can be broken down into two basic categories. There’s Nigiri and Sashimi, which usually feature uncooked seafood in a simple presentation that highlights the fresh, high quality protein. And there is Maki, which are rolls which can contain many types and combinations of ingredients.

Once you’ve understood that basic concept, you’ve got the basics down, and should be able to start exploring and enjoying the world of Sushi cuisine.


Nigiri is one of the most classic types of sushi, as well as one of the oldest. In many ways, Nigiri Sushi distills the sushi experience down to its basics.

The form of Nigiri is a pressed oblong shape of sushi rice, which is then topped with a swipe of wasabi and some kind of topping. The toppings are usually seafood such as tuna or salmon, but can be anything from egg to chicken, or even more exotic toppings like eel. The topping of Nigiri is nearly always raw, but in some instances is seared or cooked.

>> Read More About Nigiri


Sashimi is technically not considered sushi, though nearly every sushi restaurant will serve sashimi, so it’s useful to classify and explain it along with sushi.

Sashimi refers to thinly sliced pieces of extremely fresh meat or fish, often served over a bed of daikon radishes. Sashimi differs from Nigiri Sushi in that it’s not served on rice, and Sashimi is always raw. Otherwise, the two are somewhat similar. In both cases, the centerpiece of the dish is the wonderfully fresh protein, prepared with master craftsmanship.

>> Read More About Sashimi


Nigiri and Sashimi represent sushi at its purer form, with the protein and rice taking center stage. However, there’s an entire other landscape of sushi, offering an enormous range of complexity of differing ingredients. These are Maki Sushi, or sushi rolls.

Maki are usually rolled in seaweed, known as Nori, and can feature almost any combination of ingredients imaginable. While Nigiri and Sashimi are meat based dishes, Maki can be vegetarian, though Maki certainly do feature seafood and other meats as well.

The traditional Maki Sushi shape and structure is the seaweed on the outside with rice and any other ingredients on the inside. While this is the standard setup, a number of other Maki formulations are popular as well.

>> Read More About Maki


Uramaki is a type of Maki Sushi. The main distinction with Uramaki is that the seaweed is on the inside of the sushi roll, with rice and other ingredients on the outside.

Uramaki is a more modern invention, and has become increasingly popular in certain parts of the world. Many sushi rolls that have reached mainstream popularity and recognition, like the California Roll, are Uramaki.

There are pluses and minuses to Uramaki vs. traditional Maki, but each is the same general idea. Seaweed, rice, and nearly any combination of ingredients a sushi chef can dream up.

>> Read More About Uramaki


Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed

As the leading Japanese Steakhouse in Central Florida, we are now in 11 locations from Orlando to Tampa, and our reputation is built on serving delicious Japanese cuisine, and doing it with flair!

Though we are pleased to cook specialized orders in the kitchen, including gluten-free meals, our specially trained chefs are proud to prepare the dishes for your entire party on an authentic Japanese grill as a part of your dining experience at the table.

Each table seats up to 10 people, and you will see your dinner prepared right in front of you after you have selected from our extensive menu. Our talented chefs enjoy preparing your dinners for you and your party in a stir-fry style that is naturally delicious in authentic Japanese style.

Japanese cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world. We offer the freshest of fish for sushi and the main dishes, precision-cut steaks, and super-fresh vegetables including fresh carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, seaweed, and more. Since all are natural, all are loaded with plenty of nutrients, but seaweed offers an especially high content of minerals and micro-nutrients, such as iodine and iron.


A favorite ingredient in Japanese cooking is seaweed. There are hundreds of variations of sea plants in the ocean, and they all are referred to as seaweed. The large majority of edible seaweed is harvested from Asian coastlines, not in the West. In most cases, seaweed is even more nutrient dense than land vegetables.

Asian cultures have known the value of seaweed for thousands of years, and they have known the incredible benefits that come from a diet that includes seaweed. Most seaweed is good to eat and has been found to be surprisingly high in antioxidants and minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, iron, and iodine. Of all the fresh vegetables we serve, seaweed is the most abundant in nutrients, and the common types of edible seaweed have 3 to 50 times the amount of iodine. This mineral is severely lacking in land vegetables.

Iodine and iron are two nutrients that are not easily found in Western foods, but they are extremely essential for optimal thyroid function. The thyroid must function properly as it regulates hormones throughout the body. It is essential, but you can ensure you are getting the proper amount simply by eating seaweed several times a month. Enjoy having sushi rolls after work or inviting friends to have a fresh, authentic Japanese dinner prepared tableside.

In popular dishes like sushi, the type of seaweed that is typically used is called Nori, and Nori is used in the edible wrapping for sushi rolls. We also use seaweed in other ways, too. Seaweed salad is a light, but very popular salad dish served with a very tasty, light dressing, and we add seaweed to some of the main dishes because it provides such a nice texture and taste.

Another fantastic benefit of seaweed is that it has high antioxidant properties as well as significant anti-inflammatory capacities. Seaweed is loaded with phycocyanins, carotenoids, and other various bioactive compounds. In common language, seaweed invigorates the immune system to perform at its best, which gives you more energy. Seaweed is one of the most distinctive ingredients which makes Asian cuisine so unique and delightful to eat. It is one of the most beneficial, and now you know one of our traditional secrets to delicious Japanese dishes.

So, to feel your best, have Japanese cuisine often! We find it is a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy a fresh, fabulous meal with extra natural and nutritional benefits.

Lake Buena Vista and New Tampa Now Open Lunch Sundays

Lunch at Kobe Steakhouse in Lake Buena Vista and New Tampa

Savor Mouthwatering Steak Lunches at Kobe Steakhouse Now, at all locations on Sundays!

Kobe Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse makes a superb dining establishment choice for people who are enthusiastic about hearty and mouthwatering meat dishes of all varieties. Terrific news is available to Kobe Steakhouse fans in and around Lake Buena Vista and New Tampa, Florida, too. That news is that our restaurant has extended its business hours. We’re currently accessible for lunch on Sundays at Noon, too. If you want to relish amazing and filling lunches in Lake Buena Vista or New Tampa, you honestly can’t go wrong at Kobe Steakhouse.

“Ichiban” is Japanese for “number one” or “best” and that defines lunches at our eatery. If you want to eat a lunch that’s unequaled, our menu can accommodate you to a T. Our lunch food choices run the gamut. If you’re in the mood for teppanyaki, you can pick between a wealth of top-quality options. Some examples of these are shrimp, chicken, sirloin steak, filet mignon, teriyaki chicken, scallops, lobster, tuna tataki and salmon. People who are interested in teppanyaki meals that aren’t based on meat can even go for tofu, believe it or not. We serve blended dishes that are suitable for people who wish to nosh on numerous options simultaneously. If you’re looking to dine on lobster, beef and crab cakes at the same time, Kobe Steakhouse is the destination for you.

Nothing can complete a tasty lunch better than a good beverage. Kobe Steakhouse has an extensive beverage selection accessible to all diners. If you want something cool and refreshing, you’ll adore our iced tea. It’s brewed fresh for your enjoyment. We even serve a variety of undeniable smoothies in flavors such as vanilla and strawberry cream. Be sure to ask our servers about our choices in sodas as well.

Kobe Steakhouse has an atmosphere that’s ideal for pure dining serenity. Your lunch break should be a time to take it easy. It should be a time to recharge in the middle of your Sunday. If you want to revel in an authentic Japanese lunch, there’s no stronger choice in the area than Kobe Steakhouse. Get in contact with our kind staff as soon as possible to learn more about our incredible and varied lunch choices.
All Kobe locations are now open for teppanyaki lunch on Sundays. Select locations are open for lunch on Friday and/or Saturday, too!

Kobe Won The Dining Award for Best Japanese Restaurant by Readers of “Orlando Weekly”

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse is pleased to announce that we’ve won the 2018 “Orlando Weekly” Reader’s Choice Award for Best Japanese Restaurant. This marks the eighth consecutive year our restaurant has won the award. We at Kobe take great pride in our cuisine, so this award is an honor to us all. We thank all the readers of “Orlando Weekly” who selected Kobe as their favorite Japanese restaurant as well as all the folks who’ve visited our establishments this year. Since Kobe Japanese Steakhouse opened its doors in 1984, we’ve worked hard to create the best teppanyaki dining experience in Florida. Our goal is to win the Reader’s Choice Award every year. To achieve that, we’ll continue to refine our craft of serving up delicious wagyu beef straight from the iron griddle.

We believe that what makes Kobe Japanese Steakhouse successful is our tireless pursuit of fun and good food. Visitors to Kobe know great teppanyaki is more than just savory meat, noodles, and vegetables sliced and tossed to the sound of steam; it’s a performance. With their fast knives and bursts of fire, our chefs make the spectacle of cooking as memorable as the food itself. Ask your Kobe chef to prepare some teriyaki chicken, and watch the knives turn raw ingredients into a plate of bronzed, glistening meat and hot noodles in minutes. Our teppanyaki entrees include shrimp, scallops, chicken, sirloin steak, and many other dishes, each served with rice, noodles, vegetables, onion soup, and a salad. If you’ve never been to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, now is your chance to find out why we’ve won the “Orlando Weekly” Reader’s Choice Award every year since 2011.

In addition to great teppanyaki, Kobe serves up a tasty slew of sushi. We have dozens of sushi rolls, including crispy shrimp rolls with cucumber and avocado, rainbow rolls decked in salmon and whitefish, and red dragon rolls featuring spicy mayo and tempura flakes. We also serve succulent nigiri and sashimi with octopus, smoked salmon, and many other types of seafood. For dessert, Kobe has such delectable dishes as fried ice cream and chocolate mousse cake. Wash the meal down with our sake or plum wine, or enjoy a Mai Tai for a fruity finish to your night. We aren’t content until every guest leaves satisfied.

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse has 11 locations throughout Central and West Coast Florida. That includes seven in the Orlando area and four in Tampa. Separated from the main restaurant, our private banquet rooms can seat 20 to 180 guests depending on capacity, and each table has a personal chef who will prepare your meals in front of you. We also have preset banquet menus we can customize with you to fit your budget. With each visit to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, you can receive Kobe Rewards points toward a $10 Kobe Reward Voucher. We even have a Kobe Reward mobile app to simplify the process. If you want a personal chef or server the next time you stop by, just contact a priority seating representative or use our online seating tool.

Readers of “Orlando Weekly” will be pleased to know Kobe is expanding to a new venue in St. Petersburg, Florida. We hope to see you there. Also, visitors to Kobe International Drive in Orlando can try out our newest idea: Maihana Asian Cuisine. More intimate than a typical visit, this two-person style of dining lets you enjoy your spicy pork belly teriyaki, mango sushi rolls, and other unforgettable dishes in an upscale atmosphere. Our goal at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse is to bring you the best teppanyaki and sushi for many years to come. Once more, we thank the readers of “Orlando Weekly” for making our job that much more satisfying.

History of Hibachi

When one envisions the characteristics of Japanese cuisine, common preparation methods such as sushi, tempura battering and frying, and sashimi come to mind. However, the modern day grilling technique of hibachi, popularized by many americanized Japanese restaurants and grills, is actually one of the most famous cooking techniques in Japanese gastronomy. The origins of the hibachi as a heating apparatus can be traced back centuries in Japanesehistory; however, hibachi, as we recognize presently, spent centuries evolving in both form and implementation. Despite hibachi’s seat as one of the most refined and skilled cooking techniques in Japanese fine dining venues and eateries, its origins are actually quite humble and contrary to the way hibachis are used today.

Hibachi in itself can trace its origins from the term “teppanyaki”, which in the Japanese language loosely equates to “grilling over an iron plate”. The first records of hibachi-style heating devices are alluded to during the Heian period of Japanese history, dating from 794 until 1185 AD. Because metal was not resource commonly found in Japan, the earliest hibachis were crafted from an amalgam of the wood from cypress trees, which werethen lined with clay. Primarily these devices functioned for their capacity to emit heat, and were not originally intended for cooking. With the passage of time, these apparatuses became more artisanal in appearance, and they began to feature delicate exterior finishes, including ornate painting and designs in addition to golf leafing techniques.

Over time, as trade routes expanded and metals became more widely available in Japan, hibachis themselves began to assume a form more similar to how we know them today. Nonethless, these heating devices were originally limited to use by samurais and wealthy dynasties, and it wasn’t until they became coveted by the lower classes that the general population of Japan began to use them. Once hibachis became more integrated into the homes of a larger stratification of social classes, their functions began to diversify. In addition to heating, hibachis had been used for multiple purposes including cigarette lighters, portable stovetops, and even heating devices in lieu of oil heaters during colder winter weather. As such, hibachis became commonplace objects during traditional Japanese celebrations, including tea ceremonies and during outdoor winter events and festivities.

The transition from hibachis as heating devicesto hibachis as a cooking tool is commonly disputed among culinary enthusiasts and scholars. Some evidence suggests that cooking using a hibachi-style grill could have begun in Japan over 200 years ago. However, counterarguments claim that hibachi cooking did not actually begin until the mid-1900s. Because the original hibachis were small, it is hard to conceive how they eventually developed into the large, sprawling open grills that we see in many modern day high-end Japanese restaurants.

Historically, the first restaurant to implement hibachi cooking on record opened in 1945 in Japan. The intention of these restaurants was not simply to serve food, but instead to entertain their guests with food preparation and impressive diversions. Strategies for entertaining guests included demonstrating knife skills, juggling ingredients and condiments, and even performing tricks with the flames emitted by the hot grill. This methodology of cooking as entertainment eventually became idealized not by native Japanese citizens but instead by tourists and those enamored by the exotic traditions of Japanese culture. Eventually, in the later half of the twentieth century, hibachi style cooking was implemented in the United States with high success rate and accolades. Therefore, it may be true that hibachi cooking was at some point used in Japanese households as a means of meal preparation. However, it was not until Japanese tourism became popular that hibachi cooking became appreciated just as much for its performative valuesas it was for its contributions to Japanese gastronomy.

Presently, hibachi-style Japanese restaurants are popular not only in Japan and the United States, but also worldwide. In this method of food preparation, guests are still entertained by live chefs, circling the perimeter of a large grill as friends and strangers alike come together for a meal. The foods utilized in hibachi cooking can vary, but usually meats, vegetables, and rice are the main stars of the dishes. The heating mechanism itself is utilized for adding grilled flavor to the food, and as such seasonings are limited to a few additional ingredients, including soy sauce for umami flavor, vinegar for acid, and salt, pepper and garlic as spices.

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