By Ava Stryker-Robbins
Hibachi—literally translated to fire bowl in Japanese—is an integral part of Japanese cuisine even if it may be less well-known than other staples like sushi or udon. Historically, hibachis were used as small, portable heaters by people in Japan. In the United States, however, a different style of Japanese cooking—over a large iron plate—called Teppanyaki is generally referred to as hibachi.
Flame, a local Japanese restaurant, serves a large range of hibachi dining options, including vegetables, chicken, duck, short ribs, various types of steak, salmon, sea bass, shrimp, scallops, and lobster.
Flame’s hibachi duck breast is nothing short of luxurious; the tender meat combined with the sweet hibachi sauce on it was a pure delight. It is served with both ginger and Yum Yum sauce—a mayonnaise and ketchup-based condiment—on the side, but the meal was more than flavorful without the addition of these sauces.
While Flame has traditional table service, diners can also sit at communal tables located around the large hibachi grill and watch the dish being prepared by talented hibachi chefs. The dining experience includes leaping flames, singing, juggling, party games—like catching zucchini in your mouth, and more; there is never a dull moment. Each dish at Flame is served with delicious, fresh hibachi vegetables, Jasmine rice, and an appetizer. These appetizers include miso soup, tom yum vegetable soup, salad with ginger dressing, vegetable potstickers, hibachi shrimp, hibachi golden tofu, and beef potstickers.
Flame has three locations throughout New York City, and serves sushi and other types of Asian cuisine in addition to hibachi. According to their website, Flame combines “fun and high-quality ingredients with casual dining…Every moment is unforgettable and exciting.” They strive to serve the freshest ingredients possible, and they “bring the flavors of all Asian cuisine under one menu.”
The hibachi duck breast costs $28.
The Dish: Hibachi Duck Breast
The Restaurant: Flame (100 West 82nd St on Columbus Avenue)