Do Teppanyaki Chefs In Japan Perform Shtick, Like At Benihana?

They must be doing it wrong. I go to this teppanyaki place quite often and it is excellent:

With dinner starting at $115 or so I’d expect it to be well above Benihana in quality.

Looks like a class act.

Yeah. Benihana restaurants still have pictures of him in places of honor, I believe, but it sure sounds like he was a piece of work.

I can see where she would be coming from. But on the other hand, a lot of Japanese comedy relies on broad, physical humor and goofball antics.

Only slightly on topic:

There’s a local teppanyaki restaurant chain that is owned by Chinese folks. They also hire Chinese people. I don’t recall exactly what I saw when I got a glance at their terminals where they enter the orders, but I have the memory that the Chinese characters used there were the simplified versions and not what would be used in Japanese. Even more to the point, they have at least one huge translation error on their menus - they clearly got someone to translate them, and they translated them according to the information they were given very precisely. But the owners didn’t know how to correctly spell “Samurai”, instead giving them “Samuri”, and getting back as a translation those exact three syllables (Sa-mu-ri) in katakana (used to spell foreign words in general) instead of any of the kanji that might be used, and keeping the error in spelling so that it would clearly be pronounced differently. The translator had to know what they meant, but didn’t correct them. Either that or the translator added that mistake in there knowing that the owners wouldn’t know any better and he’d get to show those who knew Japanese that the owners were clueless about it.

The food is really good though. Not all that expensive considering how much you get. I try not to watch the show; I’ve seen it probably a hundred times anyway, and it rarely changes much at all.

Imagine if Hard Gay had been the chef…

Traditionally, it was based around puns.

I think the crazy humor comes mostly from the short period after midnight where people come home from work and only have an hour to relax and watch some TV before going to sleep. There’s so much competition for eyes during that one hour that you can’t not do something extreme, to stop people from channel-flipping.

The other 23 hours of the day, Japanese TV is just soap operas, baseball, sumo, news, and documentaries.

Late to the show, as always, but as far as the OP is concerned…the answer is no. Teppanyaki is a type of Japanese restaurant, but the schtick that is associated with “Japanese steakhouses” in the States is an invention of Benihana.

-Benihana founder “Rocky” Aoki was a flashy, flamboyant guy. (A Japanese friend told me that his sartorial style came across more as a yakuza gangster than a Japanese businessman.). When he launched the original Benihana in Manhattan in the 60s., he figured that he needed a flashy gimmick to draw the crowds. While there was some theatricality from the chefs at Japanese teppanyaki restaurants, the American version went way over the top.

-Teppanyaki restaurants in Japan are primarily a vehicle to showcase pricy Japanese beef, such as Kobe beef or Matsuisaka beef. And it wasn’t really that these restaurants were especially popular with foreigners, but they were popular with Japanese people who needed to entertain Western visitors on their expense accounts (pricy!)Te mos. (“Westerners all like eating beef. Let’s take them out for teppanyaki!”)

-While there are other foods prepared on a Teppan, I doubt anyone would call a restaurant specializing in cook-it-yourself okonomiyaki a teppanyaki joint.

-I would think the most common Teppan dish prepared at home in Japan would be yakisoba, not okonimiyaki or yakiniku.

-I wonder if American tourists who go to Japan visit teppanyaki restaurants and are disappointed because the chefs don’t juggle knives or squirt sake into customer’s mouths.

Nothing to add except I’m entirely in favor of having sake squirted into my mouth.:smiley:

I know it’s not the good stuff. I lived in Japan and sampled the sake intended for competition at a friend’s father’s brewery in Kure. Smooooth and dry.

Oddly enough, my mom picked up some books at a garage sale that she thought I might like, and one of them was a book on sake by Benihana founder Rocky Aoki.

Hmm, interesting…my Japanese wife enjoys the antics at the local teppanyaki restaurant. Tastes differ, I guess.

There is no ‘performance’ or ‘antics’ in Japanese teppanyaki, but there is skill in using the implements that is pleasant to watch. No one is going to catch anything behind their back, but there will be no wasted movements, no imprecise cuts.

They have Teppanyaki at Tokyo Skytree. No show, except if you see some fireworks outside the windows. Unlike their main restaurant, you can only make reservations for it by phone though.