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Shogun Steak & Seafood House
75 Jefferson Boulevard
by Bob Mariani
I’ve eaten at Japanese steak and seafood restaurants in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City and in Rhode Island, and am continually amazed by the uniformity of the presentation, the service, and the menu. Even the chefs’ acrobatic cooking techniques are almost identical no matter where you go. This, despite the fact that they’re all independently run.
Shogun Steak & Seafood House in Warwick is certainly no exception. On the Tuesday night we went, we watched as the chefs performed their slight-of-hand acts at the various hibachi tables around the room. There was the usual twirling of knives, spinning of spatulas, and juggling of salt and pepper shakers, that proves to kids it’s really OK to play with your food. (These performances make this dining experience especially appealing to youngsters, of which there were quite a few this night.)
We began with some of Shogun’s sushi selections, a list that seems to get longer and more exotic sounding all the time as Americans’ taste for this kind of food evolves. Unfortunately, because of the poor acoustics in Shogun, it was almost impossible for me to hear from our waitress exactly what each item was and so we took a few stabs at interesting sounding items like Tobiko (flying fish roe) and Unagi (fresh water eel).
The roe was two jewel-like little nests of minuscule scarlet fish eggs that kind of evaporated in your mouth like a million tiny explosions with a very mild seafood flavor. The surprisingly dainty and only slightly fish-y eel meat was neatly sliced into small medallions and doused in a soy and ginger-flavored sauce.
We also ordered some California Rolls, neat little packets of sushi wrapped in rice. Starters also included some beautifully battered and deep-fried pork tidbits and whole shrimp that I could have happily had for an entrée.
Our chef (whom I discovered was not actually Japanese but Laotian) showed up at our table/grill in his colorful hat and cheerfully began his ritual. First, came the fried noodles scrambled with deftly cracked eggs. Then, the fried rice with soy sauce and mixed with onions and garlic. And then, the separate entrées. We’d ordered three different combination platters. The first was the Shrimp & Chicken ($22.95). Both were cooked slightly beyond medium rare and sauced with spices.
My wife had the Hibachi Swordfish ($17.95) which hit the grill about the same time as the chicken and shrimp but was cooked a few minutes longer—longer perhaps than I personally prefer—then chopped into bite-size pieces with lightning speed and dumped on top of the rice and noodles.
My entrée was the Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail ($34.95). The steak was as soft and tender as butter and cooked perfectly medium-rare. Our chef left the lobster tail on the grill the longest and when it was ready, the shell popped right off with the flick of his knifepoint. The meat was then rapidly sliced up and sauced and served back in the shell along with my filet mignon.
Since all items are cooked with virtually the same sauce combination, there is a sameness of flavor in every dish at these hibachi restaurants. It’s basically the textures that vary depending on whether you’re having meat, or fish or shellfish.
Other hibachi main dishes I’m sure you’re familiar with include Hibachi chicken ($12.95); shrimp ($17.95); steak ($19.95); and scallops ($18.95). The combination dinners are all different pairings of the above and range in price from $25.95 to $34.95.
Shogun Steak & Seafood House is open for dinner form 5pm to 10pm Monday through Thursday, from 5pm to 11pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 4pm to 9pm on Sunday. There is also a take-out menu. Call (401) 270-3608 or visit theirwebsite.
Bob Mariani is a Southeastern New England freelance author. Besides his "Your Table is Ready" restaurant reviews on findRI.com, he also writes jazz articles on allaboutjazz.com