Photo by Paulo Benavides
Until now, setting out in search of teppanyaki* has required that you be in a certain mood. The mood in which you want flames to leap across your table, knives to be juggled, eggs to be balanced expertly on spoon tips, and bits of food to be flung around near and/or at your face. It’s not that those things don’t have their merits — it’s just that you don’t always want to risk your life over dinner, nor do you always want to pay a premium to do so. Enter Hibachi Box. The new spot on Harrison Street is looking to serve affordable teppanyaki with 100 percent less theatre than your average hibachi joint, but with all the flavor your cravings demand.
At Hibachi Box, you’ll walk up to the counter and decide between chicken, steak, shrimp, salmon or veggies, and it will cost you somewhere between $7.50 and $11. Your meal will come with vegetables, fried rice, pan-fried noodles and — yes, and — two dipping sauces (including creamy yum yum sauce, of course, amongst other choices), and it will be prepared to order from fresh ingredients in the open-concept kitchen. If you have dietary restrictions, it will be easy to swap out or omit ingredients, and they’ll have one dedicated vegetarian grill to prevent cross-contamination with meats.
Brothers Paulo and Nelson Benavides took over 411 N. Harrison St., the old Stuffy’s Subs spot below Edo’s Squid, for their second project. Their first, Pepe’s, a much-loved Mexican joint on Midlothian, was their maiden voyage into restaurant ownership, and they’ve learned a lot about running a successful food business over the four years it’s been open. Of course, even years of experience couldn't stave off a few delays; getting everything just right pushed their opening date back by a few months. “The building updates we did made the space look completely different, but it pushed us back a little bit," says Paulo. "And we’ve got a local artist doing work for us, Curtis Lane. He’s really talented — he’s doing origami-influenced art on the walls.”
Look for open doors at Hibachi Box around the first or second week of October; lunch and dinner will be served Monday through Saturday. Dine in, take it with you, or have it delivered via Quickness RVA.
*Both teppanyaki and hibachi are Japanese grilling styles. Teppanyaki is done over a flat metal grill called a teppan (“iron plate”); a hibachi grill is a metal grate over a flame. Hibachi Box will be cooking on teppans, but because the terms are so often used interchangeably in America, they went with the catchier “hibachi” for their name.
Hibachi Box is set to open at 411 N. Harrison St. this October.