LEHI — Hibachi House is a catchy name that effectively communicates the fact that there's Japanese food on offer inside this unassuming storefront, part of a big shopping area east of I-15 in Lehi.
And I know that, technically, "hibachi" covers a lot of territory in America. However, I can't help but think of those little Japanese-style barbecue grills — which were nowhere to be seen when my family and I visited Hibachi House on a recent weekend evening.
Instead, the cooking area behind the counter was dominated by a big teppanyaki-style griddle — not that there's anything wrong with that!
Hibachi House has sort of democratized and streamlined the teppanyaki experience: You get that quick-seared flavor but none of the expense or theatrics of Utah's higher-end restaurants of the same type.
Hibachi House has walk-up counter ordering, and food is brought to diners in takeout containers when it's ready. This no-frills approach seems to work, allowing the restaurant to offer decent-quality food at prices close to fast food.
We started with the gyoza and yakitori, as well as a big order of vegetable tempura. The gyoza, steamed rather than fried with a brown sear on the bottom, tasted fine but were not very hot when they arrived at our table. The yakitori, skewers of tangy-sauced chicken, pineapple and green peppers, reminded me of something I'd eat in Hawaii — again, not a bad thing by any means.
Several of us also tried the miso, a lighter and subtler version than most with scads of tofu and seaweed to liven it up.
The tempura veggies were excellent, crispy with moist interiors and a great variety: mushrooms, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini.
Hibachi House offers several sauces, from traditional teriyaki and ginger to tangy mustard sauce and a creamy white sauce. All were nice for tempura dipping.
My youngest daughter and I also had the unagi sushi roll, with eel, cucumber and avocado, which was weirdly bland despite a drizzle of eel sauce.
We had plenty of entrées and ended up sharing them among ourselves: my husband's nicely seared and juicy hibachi steak, my beautifully browned little hibachi shrimp, my middle daughter's simple, straightforward teriyaki of grilled chicken pieces and a light sauce over rice.
Our oldest daughter ordered the pineapple chicken, breaded chicken pieces with pineapple in a tangy sauce. She loved its medley of flavors, though I found the breading a little too firm.
I like that with each entrée Hibachi House offers diners the choice of steamed white rice, hibachi-fried rice or noodles. Our youngest son had a simple side order of gently seasoned plain noodles for dinner and was pleased as punch, while most of the rest of us enjoyed the silky texture and assertive seasoning of the fried rice — always one of my favorite things about teppanyaki-style dining.
Appetizers $1.95-$5.95, soup and salad $1.20-$4.95, lunch specials $5.95-$8.95, entrées $6.95-$13.95, sides $1-$6, sushi $2.95-$8.95.
Where: 1438 Main, Lehi
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon-9 p.m.
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Wheelchair access: Easy
Also: Takeout and lunch specials available
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News.