Stepping into Hibashi Teppan Grill & Sushi Bar, your first instinct is to turn around and wonder how you walked into Ghost Bar: Northwest Dallas. A sign near the entrance read “Sake bombs $3”, and the bright and futuristic “Sky Blue Wave” sculpture behind the bar is the first thing you see. Only the absence of techno and smoke machines (and a large sushi bar) convinced me I was in the right place.
Unfortunately, this was high-noon on a work day and cocktails were not on the agenda. After hearing sometime ago of Hibashi’s new lunch options, I figured it was worth a shot.
The lunch menu offered one veg option - “Teppenyaki Vegetable Bowl” ($8) with white rice and a salad. 7-8 vegetarian rolls were also available, ranging in price from $4 to $8. I ordered the bowl and a couple of rolls to get a good sample of what Hibashi had to offer.
The salad was nice and simple – lettuce, cabbage, and carrots with a ginger dressing that had lots of potential. The flavor was excellent - citrus based, slightly sweet, and just enough ginger. Unfortunately, there too much of the dressing. To compound this problem, separation caused minced ginger to lay on top of the lettuce, while the rest of the salad soaked in a large pool of liquid forming at the bottom (hint – ask for the dressing on the side).
About the time I was finishing my
soup salad, the vegetarian rolls arrived. I ordered the Vegetable Tempura Roll ($6) and the Asparagus Roll ($4). The tempura rolls were supposedly sweet potato, zucchini, and yellow onion. In reality, I could hardly tell what I was eating – the cuts of vegetable were so small in proportion to the rest of the roll that it was difficult to tell. It was even more difficult to tell by taste or texture, as the breading, rice, and sauce transformed the roll into a bit of a mushy mess.
The Asparagus wasn’t bad, however, its presentation could have used some help. The roll wasn’t very well manufactured, i.e., the nori was falling apart before even picking one up. Not good for a restaurant where “world-class artistry of sushi” is claimed on the website.
Unfortunately, things only got worse with main entree. The Teppenyaki bowl came with an overcooked and under-flavored assortment of uninteresting vegetables – carrot, zucchini, broccoli, and a few mushrooms (maybe I should have ordered one…or three…of those sake bombs?).
The sides sauces that came with the lunch couldn’t even save the meal. Somehow they managed to make two very strong flavors – ginger and mustard – bland. After requesting a hot chili sauce and trying (in vain) to come up with a good combination of flavors, I decided I had enough.
A return trip many weeks later offered better presentation on the avocado rolls I ordered – but they were tiny and flavorless. Little else had changed with the food, but they did turn off the lighting around the bar and other parts of the restaurant – I suppose to make it look more like a lunch spot than an empty disco. Worst of all, they didn’t even have the sake-bomb special anymore (I had planned on trying a few this time – just in case the food hadn’t improved).
Clearly, Hibashi’s strength is in evening dining, which might make it a nice place to try with some cocktails, live hibachi grills, and the sights and sounds of the bar - but for lunch, it’s a no.
Hibashi Teppan Grill Sushi Bar
13465 Inwood Rd