Saturday, March 17, 2012

Plum Garden

You go to Plum Garden because it's a hibachi restaurant.  You go to celebrate special occasions.  You go to watch personable yet somewhat frightening chefs throw and clank their knives; make fiery onion volcanos and flaming shrimp rockets; and throw tiny little balls of rice that you catch in your mouth to great applause (unless you're me, in which case you catch them with your face, hair, glasses, sweater, or floor to multiple sighs).  That's what you're paying for, and you expect the food to be passable.  But, I'm happy to report that at Plum Garden, most of it is actually quite tasty.

My kids LOVE Plum Garden.  They would go every week if they could.  They love the spectacle.  It makes them scream with laughter, awe, and delight.  And, they love the food.  They eat heaping bowls of fried rice, plates full of chicken and sukiyaki steak, and even a few veggies.  Change that last line to "a lot" of veggies, and we're right there with them.

Each meal at Plum Garden starts with some non-standard "Japanese" pre-courses:  an iceberg salad with ginger dressing and a miso onion soup.  The former is not especially tasty, but the latter is decent enough, with some mushrooms thrown in.  From this starter course, a theme at Plum Garden emerges:  you get a lot of food.  The salad is bigger than you might expect as is the soup.  You're paying for the show, but you'll leave with leftovers.

We all have set orders now.  My children order off the less expensive kids' menu which offers slightly smaller portions and comes with just one starter but adds in vanilla ice cream or rainbow sherbet (yep, it's still around!) for dessert.  My son goes for the chicken; my daughter, the sukiyaki steak (thinner cut).

My husband goes for a combo: steak and chicken.  I'm a sukiyaki steak-only girl:  it's not just cheaper, I think the thinner cut works better on the grill, turning out tender and flavorful.

All meals come with about 9 pounds of highly addictive fried rice made in a magnificent show involving disappearing eggs, gravity defying yolks, and spinning shells.  The result is sprinkled with sesame seeds and can be eaten for weeks if you can stop yourself at the table.  Seriously, I don't know what they put in this, but it is clearly some controlled substance--go ahead, try to put down your chopsticks.  Each meal also comes with mounds of veggies, two sauces (dark ginger and hot mustard), some shrimp, and the infamous onion volcano.  

It all adds up to great kitschy food theatre that, like the rainbow sherbet, seems to have come from a simpler era.  See you at the hibachi :)

No comments:

Post a Comment