Tried the new Benihana at the Dulles Town Center, the only one of the franchise in Virginia, with the 4-year-old earlier this week. She enjoyed the experience of teppanyaki dining, a Japanese style of cooking where a chef cooks meals for patrons who are seated in a U-shaped table that surrounds the grill. (My friend who joined us for lunch thought the show was a little cheesy, though.)
While my picky daughter opted only for plain white rice, the Benihana menu does include kids’ meals of grilled steak, shrimp or chicken, and you can order fried rice if they prefer that.
My friend and I split a spicy tuna roll, which wasn’t spicy (I liked that) and held tuna that didn’t look especially appetizing — some of it was red and some a light orange. We both got a bento boat lunch special with salmon, which was a good deal for $9.95: It came with a thin slice of salmon, shrimp and vegetable tempura, a half California roll, sashimi, edamame and rice. I’m not a drinker, so I opted for their berry smoothie, which was quite good, although it came in a pretty small glass for $4.50.
Some folks in Loudoun HOA forums have complained about the service, and although I found the staff is friendly and helpful, my food didn’t come until 10 minutes after my friend got her meal. The waitress said the delay was because the chef read the order wrong.
If your kids aren’t picky and will eat grilled meats, Benihana would be an entertaining choice for lunch or dinner. They’re good about seating the folks with kids together, too. You’ll just have to have some patience with the service.