An Open Letter To All Hibachi Chefs


Yeah, I’m talking to you Hiroki. Listen up. You’ve had it too good for too long and I’m about sick of it.

Every single time I’ve gone to a Hibachi restaurant I see the same goddamn tricks. I swear if you use your spatula to make another pile of rice shaped into a heart look like it’s beating I’m going to take a dump on the grill.

You could say, “Hey we’re not forcing you to watch our act.”

Au contraire.

Whether directly or indirectly, you guys always make the experience interactive. There is a constant pressure on us customers to reciprocate your fake excitement every time you juggle your utensils or quickly chop up vegetables or just loudly shout “Hai!” We’re practically required to smile and say, “Wow, isn’t that special,” like our mentally challenged cousin just showed us his penny collection. I’m tired of it. You spinning an egg does not deserve my praise.

Then of course there’s the part when you force customers to be part of the show by flipping small pieces of food into our mouths. You’re not fooling me. I know this is a subtle way for you to take out your resentment of having to serve dumb Americans by embarrassing us in front of our friends and family. I can sense your bitterness because I have the same feelings about you. Cut it out. Nobody wants to watch their grandmother try to catch pieces of zucchini in her mouth. Nobody.

Last but not least, it would be remiss of me not to mention your classic bit: the famed volcano onion stack. I will admit, it was cool when I was eight years old and hopped up on pixie sticks at a birthday party but after seeing it 50 more times, it loses its edge. By this point it doesn’t impress anybody except sixty-year-old Midwestern women named Kathy. The next time you try this trick I hope a leak in you squirt bottle causes a trail of oil to lead up to your sleeve. Then when you go to ignite the volcano your whole body lights up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. At least then customers would finally see something new.

I’m giving you 2 options: Get a new act or commit hari-kari. Choose wisely.