Lindsey Harris · Jan 24, 2020 · 3 min read
From elementary school to college I celebrated many birthdays of mine and friends at Japanese Steakhouses. It was such a novelty, to watch someone gleefully and impressively cook an entire meal right in front of your eyes, all the while creating onion volcanos and smiley faces out of rice. It’s been many years since I have been to a Japanese Steakhouse, but that changed this past weekend when I decided to grab some friends and try Blue Fugu Japanese Steakhouse on St Pete Beach.
We foolishly did not make a reservation for a 6:30pm arrival on a Saturday and were told the wait would be an hour. That was no problem when we realized that they had a cozy full bar to order drinks and appetizers while we waited for our table. From the bar our group ordered a Miso soup, Hamachi Jalapeño Carpaccio, Gyoza, Edamame, and the Sushi App.
The Edamame was cooked perfectly, and the miso soup was well balanced in flavor. The crispy Gyoza was stuffed with slightly smoky pork and vegetables. Both the Hamachi and Sushi App were beautifully plated, looking so fresh the fish could have just jumped out of the ocean.
I typically order Hamachi in a raw preparation whenever I see it on a menu, and I have to say...this was one of the best preparations I have ever had. It was spicy with sliced jalapeño and a spicy pepper sauce on top. The spice was rounded out by the refreshing ponzu and fresh squeezed lemon. After the appetizers, we were eagerly anticipating our Hibachi dinner as we wrapped up at the bar and were seated for the “show.”
We were seated at our Teppanyaki table and promptly greeted by our server. I was somehow convinced (by myself) to order another appetizer after realizing they had Toro on their sushi menu. I’ve never had Toro before this night and always wanted to try it, so I figured why not! Let me tell you…I was not disappointed. It was fresh, cold, fatty, and insanely delicious. Needless to say, I will be ordering Toro whenever I see it on a menu moving forward.
My girlfriends and I decided to order a signature cocktail with a take home cup in the shape of a lucky cat. They have many other options to choose from, but because the three of us are shameless cat lovers we decided to all get the lucky cat. The cocktails were quite sweet, but delicious, and the glass was very cute, so I was satisfied.
Our Hibachi chef of the night was Darwin. He was kind, entertaining, and conversational.
I chose to order the NY Strip and added scallops. The scallops were seared properly, and the steak was cooked mid-rare just like I asked. My favorite part of hibachi is the noodles, and I did not notice any noodles (as they were forthcoming) and made a comment asking if we were getting any, and as you see in my picture Darwin loaded me up! One of my friends ordered sushi instead of hibachi and he still filled her plate with veggies and some shrimp. Darwin did everything a Hibachi chef should do, including the onion volcano, other than throw shrimp into his hat and onto my plate.
(When ordering off the Teppanyaki menu soup, salad, fried rice, veggies, and noodles are included with each dish)
Instead of dessert, we opted to end our meal with celebratory saké bombs, as one does at a Japanese Steakhouse. Unfortunately, they were gone before I could take a photo. Sorry! 😉
We were accommodated, without a reservation, as we walked in and yet we ended the night full! I would highly suggest checking out Blue Fugu over the large chain Japanese steakhouse restaurants. As it is a locally owned one-off restaurant that will give you an intimate and special experience from beginning to end.
Japanese Steakhouse - Sushi & Hibachi in St. Pete Beach