three friends from San Francisco go in search of the 3rd best steak restaurant in the country (according to the Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise.”) so how did Musashi stand up?
the good — the food. a big reason to go to a teppanyaki restaurant is for the prized Kobe beef, right? unfortunately, our trio took a nasty hit at the blackjack tables earlier that day, and so we weren’t feeling as flexible with our spending. i decided to settle for the more affordable filet mignon and shrimp combination, the Hosokawa clan special, which came with miso, salad, fried rice, and assorted veggies. the shrimp was ridiculously fresh and the accompanying sauces were outstanding. the filet? i felt it was more medium than medium rare, but then again you aren’t dealing with massive slices of red porterhouse you would get at a Texas-style beefhouse. the wasabi-mustard sauce was THE standout and none of us were severely burned from the “flaming onion volcano.” all in all, the food was good. not great, not outstanding, but good.
the ok — the service. we sat down for drinks in their lounge and asked about sake and beer selections for the group. our host/server was a little elusive in their answer, until we asked about house favorites to which the reply was: “well, i don’t really like sake or beer. i only drink hard liquor.” my immediate thoughts were: “come on. at least TRY and humor us or ask someone else in the joint for their opinion. not suitable.” ok, so maybe she was having an off night and it didn’t really reflect the service from the rest of the staff. but in the end, our sake/beer questions remained unanswered by the restaurant. thank god for iPhones.
the really not-so-good — the wait. i normally attribute abnormally lengthy waits as anomalies, but this one bordered on the absurd and essentially killed the experience. we scheduled 8:00pm reservations (after being denied a 7:30pm and an 8:30pm timeslot) and arrived around 7:58pm. after the hostess told us it would be about a 30 minute delay for the chef to finish up with another group, we were ushered in to the lounge (see “the ok”) where we proceeded to wait about 45 minutes. after drinks, we were escorted to the grill where i was under the impression things would be heating up. alas, i hovered my hand over the grill only to find it ice-cold. after about a 15 minute wait we were informed that the chef needed 6 more people to join us before he could start cooking and the next party was due to arrive at 9:30pm. it was around 9:45pm before our grill was finally fired up. sure, the staff was genuinely polite through our wait, but that didn’t help the fact that i had been running solely on an Encore Cafe Caesar salad and about five Sapporos since 1pm.
the verdict: it didn’t excatly bust our budget and the food was good, but the collective feeling of our party (led by yours truly) was that Musashi is a slightly overhyped experience. maybe next time i’ll try the Kobe beef.