Marietta has a new hit on its hands with Okinawa Hibachi & Sushi.
Over the last 30 years, Eddie Yap has opened 11 restaurants in the United States. He opened his first restaurant in New York at 23 years old. His first restaurant in the South was Sushi Zen in Marietta, which has changed ownership.
In late February, Yap opened his second Okinawa Hibachi & Sushi in Marietta. The first one opened two years ago in Cartersville.
"With Okinawa, Eddie wanted to open a hibachi-sushi restaurant, but unlike most hibachi restaurants the food is cooked in the kitchen not at your table," Public relations representative Mike Straus said.
"You don't need to pay for the show and tell," Straus explained. "If you want to sit at the hibachi bar, you can watch the chef and he'll do the tricks, but we're providing high quality sushi and hibachi for about a third less."
Yap currently owns three restaurants: Bluefin, Rome; Okinawa, Cartersville; and Okinawa, Marietta.
"Of all his restaurants, this has taken off faster than any," Straus said.
There is counter seating at the sushi bar as well as tables and two tatami rooms, which each seat between 10 and 15 people in a traditional Japanese-style private dining area.
The restaurant is family friendly and very inviting with a freshly cut flower at every table. The paintings on the walls are done by a Russian artist and contribute to the bright, contemporary feel of the restaurant.
One thing can be said: this comfortable hibachi and sushi dining spot is not what you would expect to find in a shopping center area.
Hibachi & Sushi. The menu is what you'd expect—sushi; teriyaki chicken, shrimp, filet mignon, teriyaki salmon, ribeye and vegetable hibachi; tempura; noodles and rice with steak, shrimp, chicken and vegetables; and more.
Appetizers: The Fried Gyoza, Japanese-style fried pork dumplings for $3.50, was a delightful soft and flavorful mix on the inside with the greasy exterior you'd expect from fried dumplings.
The Ahi Poke Tuna, fresh tuna mixed with Masago, scallions and a spicy Japanese citrus sauce served with wanton chips for $10.95, was another home run. Fresh and a good-sized serving, this "Hawaiian dish" is a great way to start a meal.
Sushi: The Marietta Beauty Roll (cooked) is shrimp tempura, avocado, cream cheese and crab salad, topped with homemade Mirin sauce, $12.95. While I eat and appreciate sushi, it is rare that I am a fan of sushi. However, I enjoyed every bite. The sushi was fresh, visually pleasing and tasty with a spicy flavor sprinkled on top.
"The freshness of the sushi is one of the reasons you're going to like it," Straus said, and I agree.
There is a large emphasis on the presentation of food at Okinawa. The Caterpillar Roll, which is a cooked fresh water eel and cucumber roll topped with avocado and served with Japanese BBQ sauce, looks like a caterpillar.
House Salad: Iceberg lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and a choice of ranch, ginger or balsamic vinaigrette for $1.95. The ginger dressing is a light brown with, and here is the disappoint of my meal, a raw aftertaste.
Hibachi: When it comes to hibachi, I am all about the filet mignon, which was very tender at Okinawa. However, I recommend getting the filet mignon and lobster combo. Why? Take a look at the picture. Once again, the meal comes in style; I almost didn't want to take that first bite.
"If you like rare or medium rare, you'll get it here," Straus said of the steak. "When you cook at a hibachi table it usually all gets cooked together. Here we cook the meat separately."
As I always say, rice can make or break a meal. Bad rice; bad meal, right? Fortunately, Okinawa's rice was flavorful, with eggs cooked in just the way I like it.
Location: 3718 Dallas Highway, Suite 6, Marietta
Hours: Monday—Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11: 30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sunday Closed