Saturday, January 19, 2013

After dining in Planet Hollywood, we accidentally saw a huge sign BENIHANA, Japanese Restaurant few blocks ahead. My husband had to turn so we can check it out (as I was not sure about what I saw due to our speed), to our surprise, it was indeed a Japanese restaurant. We told ourselves, our next dine out had to be there!

True enough, we dined out after 2 days and we went to Benihana. We are usually researching first about the resto we are trying for the first time but because of the baby, I didn't have enough time to go online and browse. We went there blindly without knowing what kind of Japanese food they serve. I mean I had to know because Furusato is totally different from Tokyo and Oi Lounge... and with my simple taste, I only click with Tokyo (because of the ramen). Kaiser loved Oi Lounge. Although I should say, we are both in love with Furusato, too bad it's too pricey to be a daily dine out routine for us :D

Anyhoo, we went to Benihana, luckily, we were one of the first people who came in after prayer time. If we moved slower, we wouldn't be able to get a table. The customers pile like it was Jollibee! And the waiting area, fab as it maybe, is FULL.

So I suggest that before dining in, RESERVE your seats, their number is listed below. You can never go wrong with reserving first, believe me, the waiting queue is long!

The food is pricey. Not an everyday Filipino budget meal...but if you're looking for something cozy, this is the place to be. Menu prices looked more expensive than in Furusato BUT when you get the bill, Benihana is actually much cheaper.

Why is that? It's because when you ordered a meal... they serve everything with it from salad to tea, everything's inclusive... but it depends on what you are ordering... check the fine print on the menu.

My impression with the crew was not satisfactory. The usher that night was Filipino. Sadly, he saw we're only 2 and the people behind us were a lot, families perhaps. He wanted to prioritize them despite us being first in line, my question... was it because we're Filipinos? and they are Saudis?

One cannot prioritize based on quantity because they didn't have smaller tables, all are Teppanyaki styles designed for bigger groups (I didn't know teppanyaki spelled with double p) and sharing tables isn't an option since families in Saudi Arabia don't usually do that because of the culture. So why?

Hmm anyway, they cannot ever do that to me because I certainly would cause a scene if he pursued his plans to defer giving us seats.

Thank God for the cook who salvaged the scene. He was the one who managed the teppanyaki grill. He's also Filipino, friendly and professional. One weird thing though... he called the waiter professionally (waiter) because he needed assistance, no one responded. So he had to enunciate, specifying his call this time, Kuya so and so... Kuya so and so came in... the same one who did not respond with being called, waiter.

So, why is this a fuss?

I for one include dining out as part of our budget. A huge part that is, just because we love eating out and discovering different cultures based on their cuisines is an inclination. I pay a hefty amount to get an excellent service, how come I don't get it from my fellow Filipinos? I pay the same bill, don't I? I may have tipped bigger... but why the service?

The thing that ticked me off is that Kuya so and so came. Apparently, the cook needed a lobster because the one he was cooking got compromised (in which way, I have no clue!). So there, he came with a new lobster. What Kuya so and so did is he checked out the compromised lobster.. and talked about it (in front of us). He said, "this is still okay," so the cook said, "do you want it?" and he immediately took his chopsticks out and grilled it on our teppanyaki for his own chow!

I am not uber sensitive you know. But that ain't right! We are customers and that was our grill! WOULD THEY DO THAT TO THEIR JAPANESE CUSTOMERS? TO THEIR SAUDI CUSTOMERS? TO THEIR AMERICAN CUSTOMERS? No they won't.

It's just so weird given their price range and the poshness of their restaurant... they won't even do that in La Paz Batchoy!

The food quality is excellent. We loved it.

My husband asked me not to make a scene. He is usually more kind and understanding in this regard. But he understood where I am coming from.

If you're eating there, do not be too friendly because we have to draw the line somehow, otherwise, they would be chopsticking on your teppanyaki as well. If you don't mind that, then go ahead! Be Casper!

Benihana Address: Northern Ring Branch Road, At Taawun, Riyadh 12477, Saudi Arabia Phone:+966 1 415 7878

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