The Austin Chronicle

The Dish: Relish the Comfort of Hibachi Scallops at Sushi Japon

Newly remodeled Japanese steakhouse delivers entertainment and big flavor

By Jessi Cape, October 19, 2018, Food

If you ever visited Lubbock, Texas, and especially if you lived there, you probably noticed a high per capita ratio of hibachi restaurants for a Panhandle town. My 10-year stint in the land of Red Raiders reinforced my DFW-born appreciation of Japanese steakhouses, and my craving for ginger sauce and tableside chef theatrics has really never subsided. (Shout-out to Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki who made teppanyaki-style cooking popular in America with his Benihana restaurants.) Austin has its fair share of hibachi options, but there's something special about this neighborhood favorite.

It's a long-winded explanation, but basically, what is often referred to as hibachi in the U.S. is actually teppanyaki, and regardless of the nomenclature, it's delicious. There's a large steel flat-top grill surrounded by chairs on three sides, and a charming (seriously: it's a job requirement) chef prepares the orders while entertaining guests with antics like tossing grilled shrimp into willing mouths, making an onion-ring volcano, and cracking eggs on the edge of a knife. Served with clear soup and a house salad (and that delicious ginger dressing), these type of restaurants' hibachi menus, in my experience, are often almost identical, with options for steak, chicken, shrimp, or scallops to accompany the fresh grilled veggies and either fried or white rice. Here they've also got lobster, chateaubriand, and combo options like the Splash n' Meadow, which might be my all-time favorite name for a steak and shrimp pairing. I recommend ordering the scallops because there's really nothing more decadent than those seared little marshmallows of the sea.

Sushi Japon boasts an enormous menu with other Japanese cuisine choices (pepper tuna tataki, udon, katsu) and a whole other Chinese menu with favorites such as kung pao and egg drop soup. Their titular food feature is also delicious, with several unique specialties like the Hot Night, good maki rolls, and fresh nigiri flown in daily. Get you a bottle of saké and the banana tempura ice cream and make it an occasion.

There's something very comforting about knowing childhood favorite foods like hibachi rice hold up into adulthood, especially when paired with fresh modern options. This recently remodeled and updated I-35-adjacent spot is everything you want from this type of restaurant, and, even better, it's locally owned. Go ahead and bring the kids – fireside jokes and rice is always a solid bet.

Sushi Japon

6801 N. I-35

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