Who doesn't like a good show? I'm a sucker for being entertained, especially when it comes to dinner. I like the bells and whistles, the music and fanfare, the awe factor or surprise associated with a dining experience. If you take a trip to Shogun's in south Tulsa, you will certainly experience dinner and a show.
I love hibachi-style cooking. There is nothing like it. The smell of seared meats and vegetables, the comedy of watching the chef manipulate the food over fire with fancy knife skills, it's every pyro and wannabe chef's dream come true.
The Shogun's in south Tulsa is located in the Village at Woodland Hills shopping center behind Red Lobster and Toys-R-Us. Upon entering the restaurant, you are greeted by a beautiful hostess dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono. The lobby is spacious and decorated sparsely with subtle Japanese style artwork and simple colors. We arrived for dinner on a Thursday night around 7:30pm and didn't have to wait long.
After ordering drinks -- incliding a delicious green tea martini -- we settled in, ready for the show. At this Shogun location, they serve the soup first. This soup was a clean and clear Japanese soy broth with shaved mushrooms. It was hot, salty and very savory, and it was followed with a refreshing and simple iceberg lettuce salad.
At last, our chef arrived. I had ordered scallops and filet mignon, my two favorite seared meats. The rest of the table ordered a combination of chicken, shrimp and strip steak. Shogun's also offers lobster tail, vegetarian delight, and an atypical sole fillet fish option. The prices are determined by the protein or combination and whether you upgrade to fried-rice instead of steamed. Prices range from around $13.00 for chicken to well over $33.00 for lobster or premium steak.
Each meal also comes with two house specialty sauces and fresh hibachi vegetables. The first is a creamy ginger dipping sauce made with fresh ginger, garlic and mayo. The second is a dark sesame based sauce that is savory and salty. Both complement the various meats and add a fun dipping experience for your taste buds. There are also lighter portion sides for those looking to stay lean and trim.
Our chef began by saying his name and going over the order in detail so as not give the wrong person the wrong meat. The large griddle was hot and ready to be united with the raw protein and seasoned with some butter and soy sauce.
We started with the fried rice. Of course, everyone upgraded their rice choice to this option. How can nutritious, pure, healthy, steamed rice compete with crispy, buttery (or was that margarine?) infused flavor, combined with sautéed vegetables dripping in soy sauce, and umami flavor compete?
The fire show also begins here as the chef ignites raw onions stacked in an upside-down ring formation into a fiery smoke stack. Next, a couple of eggs came out of nowhere and began spinning on the griddle.
My kids went wild as the eggs jumped up in the air and then cracked right in front of their faces. The eggs were then scrambled and added to the succulent fried rice. The chef also cooked the vegetable side accompaniment which consisted of zucchini and mushrooms. Everything smelled amazing and was served in sequence of completion. The beef is cooked to your doneness specification, and everyone received two shrimps as a little appetizer while the bulk of the meat cooks.
Our chef was funny and lighthearted. He had great knife skills and showmanship. The portions were a little lighter than what I have experienced at other Shogun franchise locations. At the end of the meal I was expecting the quintessential fried noodle finale. Typically, a huge pile of cooked noodles are sautéed with butter and soy sauce and tossed onto your plate to complete the already bounty of food sitting in front of you. I was disappointed to see the meal finished with what I thought at first were noodles, but ended up being fresh bean sprouts that were cooked and then served wilted as the final thought.
Refreshingly enough, though, the meal did conclude with traditional Japanese hot tea and your choice of sherbet or ice cream, both included in the dinner price.
Overall, the hibachi experience at Shogun was relaxing and fairly satisfying. The service was good and the food was properly cooked and appetizing. The ambiance of the location could use a serious update, and the flatware/dinnerware needed a good refreshing. Nonetheless, the vibe was warm and reminded me of some of the hibachi restaurants I dined in as a child of the '80s.
I recommend giving Shogun a try for dinner sometime with kids or a hot date. You'll enjoy the fire show, and if you're so inclined, catch a flying shrimp in your mouth.
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