A hibachi chef clatters his utensils on the hot steel cooking surface, getting ready his next meal…behind a glass counter?
When you first enter Kyoto Sushi and Grill, formerly the location of a stand-alone Boston Market building, there aren’t large hibachi tables every where: only one behind the counter. Kyoto Sushi and Grill is a fast casual Japanese hibachi/ teppanyaki/ sushi joint in the UCF area and the unique part about this place is that you order at the counter, much like at the nearby Pei Wei’s, then receive a number and wait for your food at one of the tables in the dining area. The sushi and hibachi are prepared at the front and are behind the counter rather than in your face with flaming onion volcanoes. The trade-off is in the prices: for considerably less you can get your hibachi meal that you would typically get at a Kobe’s steakhouse, minus the show and high tickets. For lunch, its a steal for the quantity and quality of a hibachi meal that you receive.
On this occasion, I was in the area for lunch with an old friend. I ordered the steak and scallops hibachi lunch meal with the side salad and fried rice while my friend ordered the salmon hibachi meal with miso soup. There is a young and happy manager here who is always making sure you are taken care of, you can feel that customers receive a real genuine welcome. Although the decor is much like any fast food place, the seats are very comfortable and the tables are clean. Almost every seat in the house is taken up, its pretty amazing how busy it can be during lunch, which says a lot about the operation they are running here.
My steak and scallop hibachi meal was quite enjoyable: the scallops were large, plump, and flavorful not too chewy or too rare. The sirloin steak was cooked the way I wanted with a warm pink center. With the fried rice, I honestly believe that the food here is better than what you get at Kobe’s down the street at more than half the price and minus the glitz. My friend also enjoyed her meal and had enough for leftovers for dinner. Also, don’t forget to use the almighty white sauce to flavor things to your liking. All in all, Kyoto Sushi and Grill is probably shaping up to be one of my favorite places to go to lunch in the UCF area, if you can fight off the crowds. Itadakimasu!
This Kyoto Grill location is on the southwest corner of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail, just at the gates of the University of Central Florida, is actually an offshoot of the original Kyoto Grill at the UCF Arena plaza on the north end of campus.