The Unfrugal Meal

A Teppanyaki chef cooking on a modern gas powe...

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I spend a lot of time talking about how to save money here.  It’s kind of what I do.

Not today.

Today, I’m going to talk about the best way I’ve wasted money during my vacation this week.

First, so my feelings are completely understood:  A vacation is about experiences and memories.   I could spend all day at the park with my kids, or I could spend a memorable meal with them.   Which will they remember longer?

It ain’t the park.  They are there almost every day.

Of course, if the restaurant is McDonald’s they wouldn’t remember for long, either.

Tuesday, after a long day of hands-on, interactive museum-going, we took the kids to a Japanese steakhouse.   Teppanyaki, where they cook the food at the table, complete with fire, spatula spinning, and airborne food.

I’m the only one in my family who has seen that before.    Honestly, watching the art, the skill, the banter, and the giant fireball leaves me as wide-eyed as my kids.

They loved it.

Watching the chef throw a bowl full of rice across the table made my son’s jaw drop.

Seeing the chef carry fire from one side of the grill to the other on his fingers made my youngest squeal and beg for more fire tricks.

Getting squirted by the chef when he was putting out a flare-up made the middle brat giggle, possibly because the squirt gun was a little kid, dressed up as a fireman, with his pants down.   She got “peed” on and loved it.

Aside from cooking-as-a-show, the service was fantastic.   There was always a waiter nearby to keep our water glasses full or to provide “little kid” chopsticks, which are modified with rubber band to remove the need for skill to eat.   They had the courses perfectly timed.   The minute the salad was cleared, the soup was delivered.   When that was done, the chef rolled up to start on the rice.  My two-year-old was eating white rice without complaint for the first time.

Giggles and squeals.  Three days later, they are still talking about it.   My 11-year-old, who’s trying so hard to be an unimpressible teenager, says it was the coolest restaurant he’s ever seen.

Frugal, it wasn’t, but the memories were worth the money.

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  • 14 comments

    Comments

    1. This cooking style is called Hibachi. There’s one near us. No doubt, it’s costly but a time well spent. You are right, kids love it.

    2. That sounds like a total blast. We haven’t done that with my kids. I have never been but it might just be a good idea for the experience.

    3. Yeah, those steakhouses are definitely not the cheapest but the experience is very much worth it. Sort of like getting dinner and a movie. But with this you get to do it all at once.

    4. I went to one of those places with my co-workers on a business trip once. It was a lot of fun, but pretty expensive. The chef cooked some shrimps and tossed it to the diner’s mouth – like tossing popcorn I guess. Pretty good.

    5. I 100% agree with you, it is completely worth it.

      We actually went to a Hibachi grill restaurant on our vacation too. It is costly, but so much fun and entertaining.

    6. Went to one last night with some friends. Don’t know how much the bill was, as it was their turn to treat, but in looking at the menu, I imagine the total was pretty steep. Still, the show makes the food taste better, and it prompted my wife and I to vow to come back another time with the kids… they’d love it.

    7. Well worth the money, they put on an excellent show!!

    8. Sounds like an awesome meal! I’ve been to a similar place once and was equally impressed/entertained.

    9. I love these types of places! They are definitely expensive but I agree with you that the experience outweighs the monetary cost…

    10. I feel the same way, experiences are worth far more than any amount of cash. What’s money for if not to experience life!

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