Valentine's Day & a Birthday - all at Benihana!

So last week we had Valentine's Day and Larry's birthday all together - so we decided to go to his favorite place - Benihana. Strangely enough - I'd never been - I've been to fake Benihana's but never the real thing. So here we go...

We went to the Benihana by Tri-County Mall...after we were seated we waited...

and I had time to take pictures...see I like the plates...and waited...and WAITED. (more on this at the end)

The Valentine's menu was separate (you could order from the regular if you like). Everything was $20+. We each chose something around $30 and that came with miso, salad, steamed rice, entree and ice cream. Fried rice was $4 extra per person (really????).

First some miso soup - it was fine. Chicken broth and some thinly sliced mushrooms...not much flavor but it was a cold night so tasted good.

Then a salad. I hated the dressing - it was very ginger-y. Most everyone at the table was commenting on how strong and overpowering it was. I've had better dressings at the other Japanese restaurants - this was NOT good.

My goodness we're cute and we're not afraid of bright colors either.

Our chef was fairly animated - and being Valentine's Day - he made the rice into a heart and then with the spatula - made it beat. AWWWWWWWW...

I got shrimp & steak - it was very good. I always dump all the sauce on that they give me to make it tastier but the steak was actually medium rare. I haven't typically had much luck with that at these places. I ate half and had half for leftovers a few days later. I never leave hungry!

Also with our dinner we got ice cream. There was some excuse about why so little - they ran out or it was too hard to scoop or something. But this was an extremely sad portion of chocolate ice cream if I do say so myself.

The real issue here was the service. We had 6:30 reservations and were seated at 6:50. We sat for a full 30 minutes before anyone even came and got our drink order. Turns out the hostess didn't tell the server she had another table so we waited. One couple actually left about 15 minutes in. After 30 minutes, Larry went and talked to them and then they came and hurried along as best they could.

But seriously - we waited far too long - and then for them to come back and give us half-servings of ice cream and no discount or anything. We all sort of expected a manager to come over and comp us something or a coupon for next time or SOMETHING!

They were CRAZY busy but still when you have a table full of people that you've clearly disappointed - make some type of effort other than just having your swamped server apologize once. Especially when your paying $30/person without drinks.

Why Should You Go? The food was good - except for the salad. But I would NEVER go on a busy night again.

Benihana on Urbanspoon


  1. 2 things:

    1) The one downtown Cincinnati is better.

    2) If you sign up online, you can get a free lunch on or around your birthday.

  2. Japaneese Staekhouses are YUMMY. However, I have found Benihana's to be, well, gross. Having been to both Benihana's in Cincinnati, I HATE it when I have to return for a coworker's birthday which is the ONLY reason I find myself back there once or twice a year. portion size and quality keep dwindling, downtown is FILTHY. I thought I was going to ahve to give up on hibichi grills until we tried Fuji Steak House Japaneese Grill in Hyde Park. Fresh, plentiful portions, and hillarious table side cooks. If you like Benihana's, you will LOVE Fuji.

  3. They're always super salty to mask the less than fresh ingredients. I too dread when someone wants to go there to celebrate something. Benihana is gross.

  4. So, I am one of the people that was sitting at your table and decided to pop on and check out your blog. My finace and I were sitting across from you all... Anyways, I called up there and let them know that we were all disapointed and told them the whole story and to make a long story even shorter, they mailed me a cupon and an apology letter asking us to come back in and try dinner for two on them

  5. I emailed them my blog from their contact us page on the website and haven't heard back. I also tweeted it to them. Again - nothing.

    Glad you got some feedback!

    Nice having Valentine's Day dinner with ya!

    Food Hussy

    (p.s. my fiance was convinced he knew your fiance - he couldn't remember where he recognized him from)

  6. I really like "The Iron Chef". Much much better than Benihana!

  7. Never, never, never eat in the bar area. No refills, are bar server/ waitress was always too busy to check on us and if she came by she would never remember to bring it to us.
    Our food took 25 minutes to be brought to us and the brought out the meet first and then the rice ten minutes later, the meat was not hot. We both didn't want mushrooms so there onions and zucchini. My wifes plate had 5 small piecesof zucchini.

    We complained to the waitress and she said she would get the manager. I had to track him down to bring him to our table. He took our plates and heated our meal up. When he brought it back it was better but he forgot my wifes fook. He said he would come back with it but never did. I had to go to the bar and ask for one, we waited five minutes before getting one on my own. My wife had a birthday coupon and the meal was still 58.00 and we had water to drink. I had to hunt down the waitress to get my credit card back and sign the check.

    The portions were small and it made for a lousy birthday dinner for my wife.
    We will never go back.