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Perhaps the glut of sushi bars in South Florida has finally inspired a trend toward retro: Sushi Yama (7050 W. Palmetto Park Rd., Boca Raton, 561-362-6416) is one of several restaurants recently to install hibachi grills. Now patrons can enjoy Japanese steak house items à la Benihana -- knife-rapping, shrimps-in-the-chef-hat, and all. Being rather new at it, the chef at Sushi Yama may lose a nugget of steak or two, but he's pretty good at flipping a rice bowl on a spatula. Indeed it's been so long since I've sat at a communal table and watched a culinary performance like this (say, since the '70s) that I found it a captivating novelty. Apparently the sushi chefs agree: During my recent visit, they were so entranced that they forgot all about pinching handfuls of rice together and started applauding along with the rest of us.

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Jen Karetnick is an award-winning dining critic, food-travel writer, and author of the books Ice Cube Tray Recipes, Mango, and The 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami.
Contact: Jen Karetnick

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