MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — A viral Instagram video featuring a hibachi chef performing tricks for customers launched Kobe Steakhouse to internet popularity. At Kobe, located in Westport Plaza they train their chiefs to work the hibachi. A lot of chefs start in the kitchen and work their way up to the tables.
At the table, hibachi cooks work on big flat griddles and perform a show when they cook. They cut up and cook different kinds of food right in front of the customers, like meat, seafood, veggies, and rice.
This video has 2.4 million views. Tyson Santos was the cook who was performing the trick. As a favorite trick, he likes to “feed” people shrimp by throwing them into their mouths.
The General Manager of Kobe Steakhouse, Jasper Pascua, said that Kumeo Komazaki’s dream of opening Kobe Steak House of Japan began during his tenure as a hibachi cook at Benihana in New York. He realized this dream in 1991 by opening the restaurant in St. Louis, and it has remained a popular establishment ever since.
Pascua mentioned, “[I try to advertise by] creating more content, pushing out our products, and then adding some videos of our chef rehearsing and just advertising special events that’s happening.”
At a hibachi restaurant, people sit at the same table and watch the cooking show together. It’s socialized eating, and everyone at the table has an opportunity to get interactive with food.
While cooking, chefs do tricks like flipping utensils, making fire shows, and making a lot of steam. This makes the dining experience fun and engaging.
While hibachi-style cooking is traditionally associated with Japanese cuisine, it has spread to other parts of the world, especially the United States, where it has gained immense popularity. Many hibachi establishments serve a fusion of Japanese, American, and other Asian flavors.
A new service of Kobe Steakhouse is that they just started a lunch menu that is not hibachi.
“The lunch is new. It is on my wish list. I created and developed the menu. We just recently opened on July 31,” said Pascua.
They also have special event opportunities where large parties can reserve ahead of time.