Benihana, meaning ‘safflower’ in Japanese, is an American company which operates Japanese cuisine restaurants around the world. Founded in New York City, there are now 116 Benihana restaurants around the globe. There are two in the UK already, in Piccadilly and Chelsea, with Benihana in Glasgow being the first British venture outside of London.
We were invited along to a preview night to find out more about Benihana before they officially open this Monday, 11th February in the unit that used to be Carluccio’s.
Benihana is a teppanyaki (or hibachi) restaurant. ‘Teppan’ refers to the metal cooking plate while ‘yaki’ means ‘grill’ and you get to watch the food cooked in front of you on a metal plate – usually with some jokes and theatrics included!
Below is a Teppanyaki ‘station’. Around each one is seating for 6 – 10 people.
Inside you are greeted in Japanese and shown to the central cocktail bar for some delectable signature cocktails. We were told that the cocktail menu here is unique to the Glasgow restaurant and this welcome cocktail got a thumbs up from both of us. 👍 Rhubarb and elderflower are a couple of the ingredients, and we are huge fans of both. One of those cocktails that sneak up on you (when you try to get out your seat!).
The stylised wall art might look a bit out of place in a funky new restaurant – it’s a scene of war-torn Hiroshima and a reference to the inspiration for Yunosuke Aoki’s original Benihana restaurant in Tokyo. He saw a single flowering safflower growing through the rubble at the end of WWII and this symbol of hope provided the name for his cafe, which later became a restaurant, and inspired his son, Hiroaki ‘Rocky’ Aoki to give his first restaurant in New York the same name.
Further inside you’ll see some Glasgow-inspired art. Spot the sights! The Duke is, of course, there with his cone.
Express Lunch Menu
Mr Foodie picked an Omakase cocktail as he heard that this was their most unusual concoction – it includes seaweed, a side of sushi and comes in a square wooden cup! Another strong cocktail, which certainly tastes Japanesesy! The sushi must’ve been good too as I didn’t even get a sniff of them!
Time for starters (and another cocktail!) Pirikara prawns and a Benihana salad.
We both liked the salad with its clean and simple dressing. Cleansing after the tempura prawns and the Hanabi cocktail with its cinnamon taste. Mr Foodie’s chicken karaage, was great drinking food, crispy and moreish with lots of garlic!
Greg, our Chef, arrived and got into the swing of entertaining us. Watching your dinner bring cooked is always good, but added theatrics makes it even better!
I must apologise for the lack of actual food shots. The whole experience was so much fun to watch that actually eating seems to take a back step. I got to try some filet mignon (😍), miso cod and lobster tail (😍😍).
Each stage is cooked separately, e.g. egg fried rice in one batch then seafood followed by meat (as we all ordered medium rare). This cooking style is fun however, it doesn’t lend itself to a pretty plate or a relaxed eating style. A bowl of rice, then lobster tail added, then the steak. The food is tasty, however it does feel like a second place to the show.
Chef makes sure that the ingredients are cooked to your liking and that the experience is fun. Who knew there would be romance with egg fried rice?!
👍 Thumbs up for showmanship and great cocktails, Benihana seems like the ideal place for a group get together for drinks and fun. It’s also a lively and more unusual place for a dinner date. The decor is funky, the banter excellent and once again, we must mention those cocktails (scroll down for a pic of Toro cocktai)! 😍
Toilets in tip-top shape. Service exemplary too. Benihana should be a hit. It’s also ideally placed for Glasgow Central railway station, the underground and bus stops on Union St.
7 West Nile Street,
Weekday Opening Hours For Lunch:
11:30 – 15:00 (Mon – Fri)
Weekday Opening Hours For Dinner:
17:30 – 22:00 (Mon – Thu)
17:00 – 22:00 (Fri)
Weekend Opening Hours:
11:30 – 22:00 (Sat)
11:30 – 21:30 (Sun)
Bar Opening Hours:
11:30 – 23:00 (Sun – Thu)
11:30 – 00:00 (Fri – Sat)
Disclaimer: Fred sez he wasn’t impressed that he didn’t get an invite seeing as dere wiz fishies and meats on the menu but he says dat his hoomans got foods and drinks for free but dey are honest hoomans so please give Benihana a go. 🐾