A recent entry in the Japanese cuisine lineup, Hibachi of Japan, was opened in mid-November by Jim and Shu Yang, owners of Blue Fish Seafood & Sushi Buffet, in North Naples — and they have given their son, Mike Yang, the opportunity to show off his culinary skills with his own restaurant.
It is nestled between Toast and Stevie Tomato’s Sports Page in Pebblebrooke Center. Although relatively small, the restaurant has as its hallmark value and quality.
One menu is served all day, so specials are not necessary since all menu items are priced less than $10 whether you dine in or carry out.
As you enter, you are met with the aromas of Asian cuisine, the sounds of sizzling oils and the clapping of metallic spatulas deftly handled by Yang, the newest generation in the family of restaurateurs, as he prepares an entree on the hot hibachi.
The word for the popular Japanese cooking style is a combination of the Japanese word “hi,” that means fire, and “bachi” that means bowl.
Customer favorites include the hibachi entrees ($5.95-$9.95) that are served with fried rice, vegetables and soup and that are offered in various combinations of steak, shrimp, teriyaki chicken and vegetables.
Hibachi bowls ($6.25-$8 medium; $7.25- $9.50 large) of chicken, shrimp and steak also come in junior-sized portions (3.95-$5.95).
If you go
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Cost: $1.50-$5.50 soup and salad; $3.95-$9.50 hibachi bowls, $5.95-$9.95 hibachi entrees; $6.75-$8.25 noodles; $3-$9 sushi rolls; $1.50 sushi and sashimi (per piece); $2.50-$5.95 side items. Wine and beer are available.
Enjoy miso soup ($1.50) or a salad ($2.50-$5.50) such as seaweed, avocado, chicken, snow crab or shrimp and crab to start off a meal that is big on flavor.
A nice variety of cooked sushi rolls ($3-$9) feature snow crab rolls and shrimp tempura rolls. Raw sushi rolls include tuna or salmon (regular or spicy), rainbow rolls (California roll with tuna, salmon and shrimp) to the chocolate city rolls (spicy tuna, crabmeat, avocado wrap with tuna and a crunchy top). Sushi and sashimi (per piece) are all priced at $1.50 for salmon, tobiko, tuna, eel or crab.
If you have a yearning for authentically prepared yakisoba or Udon noodle dishes ($6.75-8.25), Yang prepares them with teriyaki chicken, hibachi shrimp or steak and one with veggies such as mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and onions.
“Our dishes are prepared with the highest quality seafood that is delivered several times a week from a Japanese seafood company with local produce delivered twice a week. Everything is made fresh and we keep our prices very affordable,” said Yang.
That seems to work out just fine with customers Jadis and Kevin Schneider, who dined on Christmas Eve with their son, Justin Johnson.
“Mike is a great proprietor and very hands-on. He makes sure that your dining experience is wonderful and personal,” Jadis Schneider said. “When we come in, they know who we are and he takes care of us and makes us feel as if we matter to him. And, the food is delicious and you get quality dishes with a great price.”
In addition to a few outdoor tables for al fresco dining, the demure eatery seats 48 with a row of four tables down the middle of a room lined on each side with four booths. These are separated by a decorative, open wooden grid with small, orange pendant lighting. Friendly servers who include Yang’s sister, Jane, lend authenticity and ambiance in addition to unobtrusive but attentive service.
Yang, who has the restaurant business in his blood, earned his chops working in his family owned restaurants in Whippany, N.J. The Yangs moved to Southwest Florida six years ago and saw the opportunity to bring their brand of Japanese cuisine and sushi to a sophisticated market.
They then opened Blue Fish buffet and another restaurant in Cape Coral. Yang’s wife, Jennifer, also works with him at Hibachi of Japan while a brother works with his parents.