Best Japanese Restaurant for Pyrotechnics - 2006
Sakai Japanese Restaurant
You thought old-fashioned hibachi pyrotechnics had gone the way of the samurai? Not so, Grasshopper: The spinning knives and the flying fillets are still dancing through their paces at Sakai Japanese Restaurant, where -- depending on how sociable you feel -- you can reserve a seat at one of four communal hibachi tables. Kids, of course, love to belly up to the hibachi to see old Iron Chef play with his food (where else is tossing around your vegetables socially acceptable?). Watch him, all but stony-faced, as he twirls his knives like batons, cracks raw eggs midair, and composes a flaming volcano from a stack of raw onion rings. Choose steak, shrimp, scallops, chicken, and lobster in some combination ($19 to $35); hibachi dinners include soup or salad, fried rice, stir-fried vegetables, and noodles -- you can't go away hungry. Sushi and excellent vegetable, tempura, and tofu plates are available in the quieter front room, where you and your party can shutter yourselves away from the madding crowds in a completely private booth, sliding the paper screen closed behind you with a satisfying whoosh.