by Andrew Chalk
Hibashi, in Addison, aims to be a higher class of sushi bar and teppan grill. The fish is fresh, the vegetables include a broader selection than found at other, more budget level, teppan grills, and the meat is Certified Angus beef. If, like me, you have avoided teppan grills because of a perceived lack of food quantity, then Hibashi may be the solution you have been looking for.
At a media event last week I put their model to the test and came away impressed with the breadth of the menu and the comfort of the surroundings.
Hibashi is the product of Steven and Grace Sohn. He is a Korean-American entrepreneur with a background in the jewelry design business. She is the product development one who trips back to Seoul and Tokyo twice a year to check on food trends. Steven travelled the U.S. in his jewellery job, trying Japanese and Korean food in each city. He felt Dallas lacked what he calls an “Asian Fusion” restaurant combining the best of Japanese and Korean. “Many people are unaware how similar are Japanese and Korean Food” he says. In fact, about 80% of Japanese restaurants in the U.S. are owned by Korean-Americans, so frictionless is the transition.
Korean food at Hibashi is not confined to kimchi. The signature might be the Spicy Sashimi Bowl (a bowl of layered seafood, vegetables and rice, topped with a fan of avocado), $24 . Or it may be the Hot Stone Rice Bowl ($18) with beef substituting for the fish of the previous fish and a fried egg atop all. I tried some lowly miso soup as well and was struck by how much more intense it was than other examples around town. The teppan table for two is ($48) and includes an entertaining show by the chef (hired away from Los Angeles) who also has some jokes that are so bad they are hilarious.
Of course, if you want sushi or sashimi, that is available too. My choice is the Ahi Tower (15), A leaning tower of ahi tuna, topped with avocado, crab meat, fish eggs and sushi rice. All lubricated with spicy mayo and eel sauce and presented with a side of tempura crunch. The waiter proceeds to demolish the tower, in the wholesale manner that they do with middle-aged Vegas casinos, and then sprinkle the tempura crunch, quasi reverentially, over the flattened remains. In the mouth, glutinous fish and creamy mayo combine into an ethereal savory blend enlivened by periodic pops from crushing tiny fish eggs. Crispy tempura granules set themselves apart in a flavor contrast.
I regard commonplace special rolls as a useful comparative metric of sushi restaurants (and one needs one, as north Dallas seems to have been zoned ‘sushi’ for the last decade) so I sampled the caterpillar roll ($15) . As well as a cute wackiness to its expression it was very well made.
Hibashi zings at lunch. Evenings are quieter. The teppan tables are popular for celebrations (birthdays, reunions, etc.). As well as the sushi counter there is a more laid back restaurant section and an edgily designed bar. In addition to a full cocktail selection, beer and sake there are about eighty wines by the glass. Only one, Llano Estacado Chenin Blanc, comes from Texas.
Hibashi is open seven days a week for lunch and diner,. Take out and delivery are also offered.
Hibashi’s brand of Asian Fusion may be coming to Frisco soon, and further sites beyond that (the Korean PF Chang’s?). In the meantime, check out the Addison location.