Ah, the opening of a new restaurant. The hustle of the crowd, the wait for your table, the anticipation of trying new dishes from the kitchen and meeting the wait staff, the joy of seeing how a space has been transformed into a new dining experience …
Yeah right. Who are we kidding? If you’ve read this blog, um, EVER, then you know that … well, as much as we know you count on us to give you the skinny on all of the latest and greatest restaurants in the area (I almost wrote that with a straight face. almost.) – let’s face it, we know better than to bring our somewhat overly judgmental and usually not quiet about it asses to a new place in the first days or sometimes even weeks of opening. Shane’s typical “I’m going to eat my arm off if we don’t eat soon” rhetoric usually bodes unwell for a wait time of any kind for seating, much less a backed up kitchen or a still learning the ropes wait staff.
So the moral of the story is that, unless it’s a specific invitation, we tend to avoid new places until they’ve been open for a hot minute and had an opportunity to settle into things a bit
Until 2020, anyway. Because now that WTGW has turned into an exclusively a carryout only operation for the time being, that whole “didn’t they just open” thing is a little bit easier to navigate. Thank you technology, for the wonders that are online menus and ordering, mobile apps and contactless pickup. Please don’t ever change.
All that to say, Hibachi Grille may never have entered our radar in any other time period, being that they are a newly opened and carryout only establishment. But sometimes fate creates a perfect storm, no?
Hibachi Grille is a tiny little storefront in a tiny little strip plaza that quite obviously housed a Lawson’s at one point in its life. If you’re from Northeast Ohio don’t even pretend like you didn’t have a very specific image pop into your head as you read that. There is zero space for seating, so even post-Covid this will continue to exist as a carryout only establishment. And it’s definitely no-frills. Like we’re talking fryers, grills, fridges … I mean, they literally only serve hibachi and a few fried appetizers, so they only have the minimum items necessary for those functions. It’s kind of like if you took a food truck and just made it stationary, with a little bit of extra room. Like an RV with those fancy extended living areas that pop out on the sides when parked.
Because every restaurant loves to be compared to a moving vehicle, right?
Whatever. It looked clean and the ordering was efficient and timely, so step off.
Remember a few weeks ago when we got Chinese food and Shane almost died from his shrimp allergy? That was fun.
Never one to stop tempting fate – or, apparently, start learning from situations – for this particular order Shane decided on the steak and seafood hibachi … but specified that he wanted scallops as the seafood portion. And only after I glared at him from across the kitchen, mouthing the words “tell them about your allergy,” did he mention that little detail to the person taking his order over the phone.
I mean, never mind that he could’ve ordered just steak, or just chicken – two perfectly good options that include no seafood whatsoever. But, I mean, being that this place just opened, we’ve never eaten there – or, at the point of ordering, ever even seen what the place looks like – before, adding scallops to your order and conveniently forgetting to tell a hibachi place (read: shared cooktop for every single meal) that they shouldn’t cook shrimp near your order seems like a totally amazing idea.
I have to believe the creator of the eye roll emoji would be proud of my want for placement in this exact moment.
In any case, they obliged his requests spectacularly and all was well.
Shane also got chicken spring rolls. Now, unlike last time, HG does specify on their menu that you should request veggie, chicken or shrimp. And so another crisis averted there. *whew*
On the less dramatic side of the table, I chose the steak only hibachi, with the above mentioned veggie spring rolls.
First of all, I’m not sure how this place actually makes money. I’m not sure if it’s obvious from those photos above, but the portions here are HUGE. Like pickup the container and it’s so heavy, it feels like it maybe they mistook your food order for that piece of concrete you’ve been meaning to pick up at the garden supply store. Like eat one meal to the point of being bust-your-pants-open full, and it looks like you barely even made a dent into the container.
I think you get the idea.
In other words, plan your ordering from HG accordingly. Like maybe on that day when you’ve been too busy to eat all day (week?). Or when you expectedly need to feed four people with just one order. Or when you just don’t want to have to cook again for a couple of days.
Each meal is easily enough to share for two – well unless you’re married to Shane, of course. He ate all of his, but I can’t say he didn’t maybe regret that decision immediately afterwards. Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying mine again for one if not two more meals. Because it wasn’t all filler – the majority of the weight seemed to be the meats, but there was also plenty of veggies and fried rice to complement.
And it’s very good. The meat and veggies were flavorful even without the extra containers of yum yum sauce that they give you to add in yourself. Shane was so impressed, he declared that “we may have just found our new winner for Asian take out.”
(Don’t worry Sushi Asia Gourmet, we still love you for sushi – but this definitely wins in the search for a good Asian meat and veggies meal)
It’s also very simple – again, it’s only hibachi, and a few select fried appetizers. No frills of looking through 100 meals trying to decide what to order. Your biggest decision at HG is what type of meat you want with your veggies and rice. And some days, that’s really about the biggest decision you want to be responsible for – especially this year, am I right?
The one thing I will say that I wish they had was an online ordering option – as all orders are taken by phone only at the moment, or I believe they are available via some of the food delivery services like GrubHub or UberEats. But I have to say that I’ve come to appreciate a place that allows you to place your order online – and in some cases even order early and specify a timed pickup.
Update: As of about six weeks after this post, we have managed to visit Hibachi Grille already one other time – although if it was left up to Shane I think we would be changing the blog name to Hibachi Wednesdays, and our weekly take out would just be a standing date at this one establishment. He has proclaimed it to be his number one takeout location, and has already requested it as the meal of choice for both New Year’s Eve and his early January birthday … to which I replied he had to pick just one, because there really is too much of a good thing. And also because given that those two events are less than a week apart, I’m thinking we would just be finishing up the leftovers from one before we ordered again.