Recently for cousin Q's birthday, my brother suggested Shogun Japanese Restaurant in Pasadena for the teppanyaki show. My only other teppanyaki experience was with the Benihana chain, and beyond a few knife tosses (mainly for the benefit of the all-female group I was with), I don't recall anything amazing happened with the food. My brother promised Shogun would be better.
My brother and I split a seafood combo of halibut, shrimp, scallops, and calimari for $20.95 and cousin Q and his little brother split a filet mignon dinner for $23.50.
Our salad was the standard ginger-carrot dressing, or rather our dressing came with a bit of salad. :P
The soup looked like the standard miso soup but it wasn't. There were a few cubes of tofu. And the flavor was that of thin onion slivers that had been breaded and fried, then used to flavor the soup. Ick!
We ordered the chicken karaage appetizer with sweet and sour and spicy teriyaki sauces for $5.50. Basically, chicken nuggets, but they were good and the spicy sauce had a nice kick.
Here's our chef making our fried rice. With a big glob of butter. See? My Japanese version of fried rice with butter wasn't such a bad approximation after all.
Afterward, he shaped the rice into a heart and turned on the grill so that the heart was red and was "beating." Unfortunately, the effect barely lasted a few seconds.
I was envious because I saw one of the other chefs take a bowl of fried rice and place it on his spatula, he flipped it in the air and caught it again on his spatula. Our chef merely scooped our rice into bowls and placed it in front of us. :(
Then came the "secret sauces." Thousand island and something else I can't recall.
Here's our meat and veggies cooking on the teppan (grill). Actually, it was the whole table's order so half of that belonged to two other couples.
One of their signature moves is making a little "volcano" and "choo choo train" out of onions.
And here he is slicing and dicing our meats.
This is actually just one order of the seafood combo, split among two plates since my brother and I were sharing.
And yes, we did pick at cousin Q's filet mignon, but it wasn't a very big piece to begin with.
So while the food was good (because it's hard to mess up with a nice hot griddle), the show wasn't as spectacular as I was expecting. I think it really depends on who you get as a chef and how much they want to interact with the table. And I think they definitely perform more for a group of women and children, who are more likely to ooh and aah at their antics.
You can also order sushi, but why would you if you can get a show?
Psst! For my Inland Valley readers, there's a Shogun in La Verne.
Shogun Japanese Restaurant (various locations)
470 N. Halstead St.
Pasadena, CA 91107
Monday - Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday 12 noon to 10:30 p.m.
Sunday 12 noon to 9:30 p.m.