Have you ever eaten at a teppanyaki table?
I enjoy going to Japanese restaurants that have these specially prepared grill tables because you get to enjoy good food and a show. The table is in a rectangular shape and seats 10 people so you usually are seated with other guests. It’s a great way to meet people and share in the experience.
On Sunday, I went to Yamota Japanese Restaurant, which is located in the trendy area of Yorkville. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know it existed as I thought Benihana was the only restaurant with this type of dining experience. But I’m happy to have been introduced to it. So after a bike ride on a beautiful day, I met a few friends and we got right down to ordering. We were seated with two other people and the server came to take our order. As part of our meal, we were served a bowl of onion soup. It’s made with a broth (probably chicken), onion strips, a few very thin slices of mushrooms and garnished with green onions. I found it to be light and flavourful. You are not offered a spoon so you just lift the bowl to your mouth and drink.
Shortly after, our chef (Toshi) showed up pushing a cart with our food for cooking. He confirmed the order for the table. There was three steaks (at a cost of $11 each) , and two chicken and shrimp combinations (at a cost of $15 each). The meal comes with grilled vegetables (zucchini, onions, mushrooms, carrots and bean sprouts) and a bowl of steamed rice. The two ladies that were at the table decided to upgrade their steamed rice to fried rice at a cost of $5 each – just in case you prefer it. The chef started with grilling the vegetables.
As he placed them down on the hot grill, you heard the searing noise and I personally started to salivate a bit as I was just about ready to eat. He started to cut up the zucchini in cubes and then separated the onion in order to build an onion tower! He then poured oil down the middle and lit it on fire. It is quite amazing to see.
Chef Toshi continued the dance of flipping, slicing and grilling our mains. I have to say presentation on the plate could be much better but the food was simply, tasty and pretty good value.
Our meals were served with individual dipping sauces. One was a ginger sauce and the other was a mustard sauce that was tiny bit spicy but I thought it was the better of the two. While I like ginger, this just had too much ginger for me as it s quite a strong taste that can overpower other flavours.
Overall, I enjoyed my lunch at Yamoto. Although the chef could have been much more interactive with us (he could have been having a bad day) I would recommend Yamoto fora casual afternoon with friends or for group employee lunches or birthdays – the ones that don’t have corporate cards. I would definitely come back as they have sushi and a patio and I enjoy people watching. It’s in a great area.