Tokyo Hibachi serves up a variety of Asian dishes
Issue date: 7/31/09 Section: Arts & Entertainment
The restaurant is divided into two sections: Hibachi on the left and sushi on the right. The décor of the restaurant works hard to remain homogeneous while accommodating two very different serving styles. Located on 16th and Walnut, it is a second floor restaurant above WOK. At Tokyo, the overall feel is more fun than high end. In short, jeans and a button down, a breezy top (it is summer) would work best.
On the Hibachi side, two hibachi chefs perform for four different sections of guests. The most stunning part of this whole ordeal is that an average Hibachi entrée is only about $20, extremely cheap considering the entire meal is cooked tableside. When ordering, be prepared to catch bits of shrimp and steak in your mouth. If you are lucky they might spray sake in your mouth, and form a heart with the rice. It's a laugh to watch them pump it with a spatula slid underneath as they spray it with a red bottle of soy sauce.
Every Hibachi entrée is preluded by miso soup and a salad with ginger dressing. The soup is deliciously pungent and I would rather it stood alone because the salad really is nothing to speak about at all.
A quick taste assessment finds the sushi rolls much more stunning. The creative plate arrangements, complimentary textures and fresh flavors rival those of POD's like Drexel rivals Penn. The Lava Roll, $15.95, is comprised of spicy tuna and avocado. The entire roll is then deep-fried in tempura and reigns as a Tokyo favorite. Other recommendations are for the Center City roll (Yellow Tail, salmon and scallion with a tuna and wasabi top for $12.95) and the Dragon Roll, $9.95, which finishes with the perfect amount of heat.
As all servings are beyond ample, there was little room left for dessert. However, I ordered the Tempura ice cream knowing its power to set Japanese restaurants apart from each other. Despairingly however, this dish set Tokyo behind.
While the tempura was crisp and perfectly fried, the vanilla ice cream did not deliver. The ice cream was grainy which distracted from its otherwise satisfying finish. Many restaurants find difficulty with frying the ice cream, resulting in a melting mush. It's a shame that Tokyo's greatest fault is a simple one to fix. Stop with the freezer damage!
While the dessert was disappointing, the overall experience is enjoyable and perfect for a lighthearted evening. The menu works hard to compete in both hibachi and sushi and the chefs will do their best to elicit applause and laughs. The budget for Tokyo is moderate but the potential for great memories is extraordinary.