About 20 years ago a family member told me about teppanyaki, where a chef will cook food in front of you. I didn’t quite understand the concept, as I had never experienced it. I remember thinking that it wasn’t really such a big deal. I mean, if I wanted to watch someone cook, I could sit and watch my grandma make dinner. So, that didn’t really inspire me to try the restaurant he was suggesting.
Then, about 8 years ago, I was taken to Edo Ya Tokyo Cuisine for dinner. I was under the impression that it was just a regular restaurant, so when we sat down around a huge flat-top stove, I was a bit confused. (Look here and here to find a bit more on the history of Teppanyaki and Edo Ya, which has been in Fresno since 1998.)
If you’ve never experienced teppanyaki style of cooking, this is where a chef cooks the meal right in front of you, while putting on a show for the guests. You sit around a grill, with about 8 people. Everyone is facing the chef, and unless your party is a size of 8, you’ll be sitting with strangers. Some people don’t like this, but I do, as it gives me a chance to get to know someone new! (If I’m not in the mood to socialize, then I sit in the regular part of the restaurant. Or, I just stay home!) After you’re seated, the waiter/waitress takes your order, and brings out the soup and salad. (You can also order sushi to be brought out from the sushi bar.) Shortly thereafter, the chef appears and the show begins!
When eating teppanyaki, the chef usually serves you as the food is ready. You get rice, veggies, shrimp (if it’s dinner time, or part of your order), then the meat. All the while, the chef is chatting with the guests, involving everyone throughout the meal. If there is a birthday, the chef will talk with the birthday person. If there is a cute child at the table, the chef will joke along with him/her. The chef will sometimes do fancy tricks with his cooking utensils, or will have fun with fire and the food.
Some things to know before you go:
3050 W Shaw Ave #112
Fresno, CA 93711
(North/West corner of Shaw and Marks)
Monday – Saturday 11:30 – 2:30
Sunday 12:00 – 3:00
Monday – Thursday 4:30 – 10:00
Friday & Saturday 4:30 – 11:00
Sunday 4:30 – 9:30
*I would recommend making a reservation, no matter when you decide to go. You can call them at 275-7535, even if it’s just for lunch. This way you don’t have to wait when you get there, especially on Friday or Saturday nights.
*When it comes to tipping. You should tip the chef a few bucks (I usually give them $5) for the great service they give. I only knew about that because of watching others do it as well, and it only makes sense.
*Finally, let them know if you’re celebrating a special occasion. They’ll sing to you, take a picture, and give you this yummy dessert. (It’s $5 extra for this part. If you just want them to sing to you, that’s free.)
There are other Japanese restaurants that serve teppanyaki around town, and everyone has their favorite. I’ve tried 2 others, but Edo Ya is my favorite. However, I think what makes the experience most enjoyable is the company. Whether you go with friends or family, meet someone new, or have the best chef putting on the greatest show, you can enjoy the food at any of the teppanyaki restaurants in Fresno. I hope you enjoy the experience!!!