First Look: Ninja Grill, Hibachi Eating Without Hibachi Seating
Ordering is a five-step process; just choose the protein, the base, the vegetables, a cooking sauce, and finally a dipping sauce. No one has time for the math, but there are probably hundreds of combinations available to you, the diner who just wants to eat and not have to clap every couple of minutes when yet another chef propels a shrimp tail expertly into the top of their toque.
We started off with a couple of bowls of miso and wonton soup and our go-to green onion pancake. The soups are a bit pricy at over $5 for something that is usually included with hibachi meals, but they were serviceable. No surprises but nothing to write home about.
The green onion pancake (more Chinese than Japanese, but who’s keeping score?) came four quarters to an order over the usual eight. They were fine, not overpowered by the onions, but perhaps a bit on the thin side.
For our mains, we went with shrimp and steak as our proteins, but other options include chicken breast or thigh, beef rib, fried tofu, squid, salmon, scallop and vegetables only. The base can be either fried or white rice, lo mein, or rice noodles, and we went with fried rice and lo mein. You can select up to five vegetables, oddly enough including pineapple and egg. If one can get past the fact that they consider pineapple and egg vegetables, it’s a good selection.
The $13.99 jumbo shrimp plate had a decent amount of good-sized grilled shrimp, with lo mein noodles as a base and broccoli, onions, zucchini, cabbage and egg additions, all in a Mongolian sauce with garlic butter for dipping on the side. It was a large serving with the expected hibachi grilled flavor. The noodles were not bad, but in the future, we’d probably go with a more traditional rice base.
The steak plate had a generous amount of tender grilled steak (probably sirloin) with onions, broccoli, cabbage and egg added, all perfectly cooked and seasoned in a traditional hibachi sauce. Again, a larger portion than expected, and it came with yum yum dipping sauce along with a large scoop of fried rice as a base. It’s also $13.99.
So, when all’s said and done, this was a really good hibachi meal costing less than half what you’d expect to pay at the Benihanas or Jinbehs of the world, and it was much quieter. Maybe we did miss seeing the onion volcano just a little bit, however…
6509 W. Park Blvd., No. 435, Plano. Open daily, 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
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