October 1, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

The Culinary Art Of Benihana In Santa Monica:

Since 2004, Chef Edwin Dai has been flipping knives and masterfully sautéing Japanese Teppanyaki meats and seafood while putting on a show at Benihana in Santa Monica.

Unlike traditional Asian chefs, Dai is also an performer and his entertainment can be found in his preparation of lobster, shrimp, steak, and chicken.

The Benihana chain has been around for 47 years and its Santa Monica location has been serving guests since the late 1990s. Dai has been with the restaurant since 2004.

Dai begins the show by teasing guests with select pieces of shrimp while he makes chicken fried rice slicing vegetables and chicken with the skill of a cutlery genius constructing art out of food and forming romantic shapes like a perfect heart out of the rice.

“Look, it’s my heart for you,” said Dai posing a moment before scooping the fried rice into bowls for everyone seated at the table. Dai topped his art by sprinkling on some sesame seeds.

Next Dai cooked up some vegetables for the entrees along with choice cuts of meats and shellfish on a Hibachi grill that heats to 350 degrees.

“I just put a little water in the onion and it makes steam,” said Dai, referring to the onion volcano he had built out of rings of onions stacked on the grill.

What Dai does isn’t easy.

In order to become a Benihana chef, a lengthy process of training needs to be completed.

Chefs are trained for a minimum of three to six months at the restaurant. They start in the kitchen and they learn food preparation, seasonings, and eventually they learn showmanship. One of the main things Benihana looks for in a chef is the right personality.

Hector Fernandez, a manager at Santa Monica Benihana, said the restaurant butchers all of its meat in-house.

“From cleaning it to cutting it, we do it all here at Benihana early in the morning,” Fernandez said.

Hibachi steak and chicken can be found in menu items such as Rocky’s Choice and the citrusy avocado lovers Emperor’s Salad.

“(Our customers) can make sure that the food is completely fresh and cooked right in front of them,” said Fernandez. “Benihana is a family friendly place and when people have a party they can reserve a few tables and have a good time.”

Walk-ins are also encouraged.

Seafood lovers will not be disappointed by the selection of shellfish items.

Ocean’s Treasure is one of Benihana’s most popular items and for good reason.

It combines a cold-water lobster tail with sea scallops and premium colossal shrimp mixing together garlic buttered veggies soaked in Benihana Safflour Oil.

The seafood teppanyaki meal is served with a mustard and a ginger sauce and this only adds character to this colorful entree.

Expect to try the breaded onion soup and small salad that is served with most entrees on the menu.

In the realm of sushi, The Sumo Roll should be awarded the Shukunsho award, as it is layered with delightful pieces of crab, avocado, cucumber, shrimp tempura, and topped with baked salmon and special sauce.

Noodle lovers will find a slice of heaven inside of the Yakisoba, which are sautéed Japanese noodles with mixed vegetables that include a special sauce.

But all feasts must have drinks and Benihana is prepared to deliver.

Among the best drink items are Sake Sangrias that come in unique plum and peach flavors.

Varieties of cold and hot sake make up the traditional Japanese choice drink options and do well to accompany the decadent meal of Samurai sliced meats.

For November, Benihana’s feature beverage is Sake infusion. It’s a combination of Benihana Hot Sake where guests choose to infuse it with flavors of Chambord, Kahlua, or SoHo Lychee.

For dessert, Benihana tempura served with Green Tea ice cream with whipped cream and cherries will be sure to do the trick.


1447 Fourth Street, Santa Monica

Mon-Thur: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. / 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Fri: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. / 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Sat: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Sun: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.



Related Posts

Review: “Away”

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

“Away”Rated TV-14Season 1 – 10 One-Hour EpisodesReleased September 4th on Netflix In 2014 Esquire Magazine published a thorough article by...

Beloved Santa Monica Artist Passes Away at 99

August 31, 2020

August 31, 2020

Venezuelan born artist surrealist artist Luchita Hurtado passes away  By Toi Creel For some in Santa Monica, the name Luchita...

Brock on Your Block: Saturday Morning Neighborhood Jazz

August 24, 2020

August 24, 2020

In the latest Brock on Your Block, Phil discovers an impromptu Jazz Concert by the neighbors – a great way...

Film/TV Review: Upload

May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

FILM/TV REVIEWUPLOADRated TV-MA30-Minute EpisodesSeason 1,10 Episodes Released on Amazon Prime May 1st Upload has the guise of a cute rom-com....

Edify TV: Santa Monica Place Food Court Vacancies

March 10, 2020

March 10, 2020

Another restaurant has closed in the Santa Monica Place food court, adding to the number of vendor vacancies. Learn more...

Fried Chicken and Doughnut Joint Closes Santa Monica Location

March 4, 2020

March 4, 2020

All Southern California Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken shut down By Toi Creel After an almost three-year-long stint, Astro Doughnuts...

Edify TV: Free and Affordable Meals for SMC Students

March 3, 2020

March 3, 2020

Santa Monica College has opened its first Everytable SmartFridge. Learn more about this program to make healthy meals affordable for under $5 (and...

Lazy Daisy Cafe to Reopen Doors With New Menu, Ownership

February 27, 2020

February 27, 2020

Feb. 28 soft opening By Toi Creel A popular Santa Monica eatery-once planned to be closed for good – is...

Cinema at the Edge Film Festival Returns

February 19, 2020

February 19, 2020

February 21st to 23rd – Edgemar Center for the Arts By Staff Writer Housed at the Edgemar Center for the...

My Own Academy Awards

February 7, 2020

February 7, 2020

On May 16, 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an organization founded by Louis B. Mayer to...

Brock on Your Block: The Maiden Factor

February 3, 2020

February 3, 2020

Phil Brock meets Tracy Edwards, MBE, skipper of Maiden, who led the first all-female crew to complete the Whitbread Round...

Santa Monica High School Graduate Becomes NASA Astronaut

January 14, 2020

January 14, 2020

Dr. Jonny Kim becomes first Korean American astronaut By Sam Catanzaro A graduate of Santa Monica High School (SAMOHI) has...