The first experience I ever had with hibachi was with a college ex. It was something we seemed to enjoy doing together on a regular basis.
Considering we were horrifically poor college students who maybe went “out to eat” less than 20 times over 3 years, once a year was a “regular basis”. Just so we’re clear.
Anyway, we happened to to go out for hibachi in St. Louis when we were visiting his family for his birthday. One of my first times meeting the extended family. Two sweet lil’ grandmas included.
Everything was going great. Conversation flowing well and the hibachi was entertaining- a perfect family gathering.
Then, that part in the series of tricks where the chef flips shrimp and you catch it in your mouth.
Shrimp isn’t my favorite. Something about the texture. And, on top of that, I had other reasons for not wanting to participate.
Around the table he went. Most people attempting the catch. I politely declined. The chef didn’t mind. He was ready to go on to the next person.
But oh no. My boyfriend was persistent.
“Come on, Amy- it’s fine!”
“You can do it, Amy- it’s fun!”
“Just one… you can do it!”
I shot a look in his direction that he clearly didn’t pick up on.
NO, I said.
He continued. And had the whole table joining in.
“You can do it, Amy!!!!”
FINE. I shot him one last “I will kill you” look and caught that damn piece of shrimp in my mouth.
And that, my friends, is how my ex’s entire family found out I had a tongue ring in college.
The tongue ring is long gone. But my love of kitschy hibachi presentations is not.
So when Mon asked if I wanted to join her and her fam at Benihana this weekend?
Jumped on it.
Plus, we had time to kill before an 11:30 concert. A dinner that takes almost 2 hours? Why not?
It was delicious. With a side of zucchini and onions (unpictured because I downed them in a fit of starvation) and some sticky brown rice?
I could have easily fallen asleep and skipped the concert.
Thank goodness a sugar rush was had by the ice cream they sat in front of me at the end of the meal.All I had to do was endure a 5-minute serenade of Japanese happy birthday songs. In front of everyone. Because someone at our table thought it would be hilarious.
Joke’s on them. Because I got free ice cream and they didn’t.
And I didn’t even have to catch a stupid piece of shrimp to get it.