Columbus >Kihachi Japanese Restaurant
terrible. We had reservation at 6:30 on Saturday night for family dinner. The first plate came after we waited for 1 hour. The last plate came at 9:30. One plate for 4 people every 30 minutes. Good food but this is not dinner we expected. NO RECOMMENDATION!!!!
Not good enough for how bad they behave. Nothing extraordinary foodwise - but really rude - I got a feeling that you have to be of a certain class (or perhaps japanese?) to be welcome here.
At long last, a real Japanese restaurant!.
Unlike 99% of the Japanese style eateries in this country, this place caters to people who actually know and care about Japanese food. They get that you don't have to serve raw fish or toss shrimp in the air at a grill. The food is authentic, delicious, and elegant. Just like you get at a nice restaurant in Japan.
We ordered off the seasonal menu written in Japanese, which our server carefully explained to us. We had boiled eggplant in broth, grilled matsutake (from Oregon), tataki-awase (boiled pumpkin, shrimp, and other things), saba oshizushi (pressed sushi with mackerel), and tekka maki (tuna roll sushi). We also ordered mozuku (seaweed salad) and agedashi dofu (deep fried tofu in broth). Nothing disappointed. The matsutake and mackerel sushi were standouts.
The all-Japanese group in the tatami mat room next door sounded like a typical work-buddy group gathering after work. For a split second I even felt like I was back in Japan, to my great surprise. But go for the food. If you want to know how a real Japanese person eats when s/he wants to go somewhere a little special, go here.
Authentic Japanese Food.
One of the finest consistent dining experiences I've had in Columbus--delicious Japanese food is also very authentic. Hidden in the strip mall across from Chipotle, its something of a best-kept secret.
Great place to go for noodles, tempura, etc. They have some sushi offerings as well, but this is THE place to branch out.
Expect a leisurely meal in an elegant atmosphere with the option of regular tables or tatami rooms. This very relaxing, Japanese-owned restaurant offers a holistic Japanese dining experience that will calm you and enable you to appreciate the textures of Japanese cuisine.
Most authentic (and delicious) Japanese food in Central Ohio.
I'm a white Ohioan who lived in Tokyo for over a year, and recently moved back to Ohio with my Japanese fiance. I can say with 100% confidence that Kihachi is the equal of any upscale Tokyo itzakhiya. Its by far the best (non-sushi-primary) Japanese restaurant in central Ohio- and my Japanese fiance enthusiastically agrees.
The clientele is almost all Japanese, but the waitresses speak English and are very friendly. The atmosphere is pure Tokyo- sit at the floor-tables in the tatami-mat rooms, or sit at the bar and watch the chefs work. Menus are in English and Japanese, but the daily specials are always in Japanese only- always ask for a translation! These specials are usually VERY Japanese (seasonal Japan-only vegetables, for example) and are always delicious.
The more well-known Japanese staples are present- edamame, udon, soba, etc.- and you can (and should) come here even if that's all you want. This isn't a sushi place, but there are always a couple of delicious sushi offerings that are (again) up to Tokyo standards.
However, Kihachi has dozens of menu items you won't find at any even slightly Americanized Japanese restaurant. Octopus tentacle with soy sauce. Blood-rare beef sashimi topped with Japanese seasonal vegetable. Lightly fried shiitake mushrooms. Pork cheek. Wash it down with the premium Sapporo, or a variety of other Japanese beers or liquors.
In summary, this place is one of Columbus's hidden treasures. Ignore the hibachi, head directly to Kihachi.
Fantastic Japanese Food.
My intimidation upon entering Kihachi the first time was immeasurable, but I stuck with it; I'm glad I did. Two years later, I cannot count the number of times I have eaten there. The food is fantastic. The atmosphere relaxes you. You won't even have a choice in the matter. When I sit at that sushi counter, my stress melts away.
To all the folks who gripe about service, a few points:
1) Staff at all restaurants play favorites with "the regulars" at their establishment. Just because the regulars at Kihachi are Japanese salarymen doesn't justify spouting ignorant diatribes.
2) Service is slow because that's the pace of the restaurant. In the same way that a five-course meal at The Refectory will take longer than a hamburger from the drive-up at Steak and Shake, dining at Kihachi is suppose to be a pleasure. If you're in a hurry that night, eat somewhere else.
3) In all my experiences there, I have never seen anyone be unfriendly, unhelpful, etc. Be polite and patient and you will receive the same in turn.
No Rival in Town.
Kihachi is outstanding. The decor is simple and tasteful. The atmosphere is pleasant, particularly at the counter on a cold winter night where you can feel the heat from the grill as you watch both chefs work their magic. If you believe that a meal is a race rather than an experience, or if you think that a meal is only good if it is inexpensive, or feel that good service is only rendered by a wait person who spends almost as much time at your table during the meal as you do, then this is not the place for you. If you believe that eating a meal consisting of only the finest quality ,freshest ingredients available, individually prepared by an expert, is something to be cherished, then Kihachi cannot be missed. You should be prepared to both wait, and pay, for the finest Japanese cuisine available. After all, the chef both waits, and pays, for the finest ingredients on the market. The staff can get busy, but have been friendly and professional to me every time that I have gone. The secret? Say hello, engage in conversation about what is fresh, and what the specials are. Tell them what you enjoyed.
What to eat? No item I have tried has disappointed. Bluefin tuna, Toro, hirame, eel in vinegar sauce, Jack fish, hamachi, kampachi have all been incredible. Several times the tuna has left me speechless. Simply the finest quality I have eaten in the US. Braised duck breast with tamari, soba noodles with duck, steamed duck with sake are all hits. Grilled pork cheek meat-heavenly. Edamame and tempura shiitake mushrooms with shrimp is outstanding. If you are really lucky, and REALLY willing to pay good money for great food, then go in the fall and eat the Matsutake mushroom. I had my first at Kihachi. I think six mushrooms grilled was $30. My wife said I was crazy. After I finiished the last one she asked me what I thought? I told her I thought it was time to order more Matsutake! If you are impatient, don't worry. I will be there to take your seat.
Disappointing and slow inconsiderate service.
Appetizers including sushi were excellent. The service was very slow and unevenly served with one meal finally served as others were finishing their meals. Three hours and 15 minute experience.
First course delayed almost an hour. Main courses were average. Also small consistent arithmetic mistakes (overcharges) on 3 of 4 checks. I would not go back. Disappointed because I have eaten there before with good results and had recommended this restaurant to six others who joined us. I was embarrassed!!
Best Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
There is no question, Kihachi is the best restaurant and dining experience Columbus, Ohio has to offer. Some hints to the best meal you've had this week: 1. Make a reservation, seating is limited (~40 seats, open 6-10pm). 2: Be courteous and curious. 3: Don't expect sushi or a Japanese steakhouse, expect wonderful food. 4: Forget fast food, relax and enjoy. The ikebana displays throughout the small, exceeding clean restaurant are a hint to the chef's attention to detail: courses are prepared to exacting specifications.
Kihachi's secret is the staff: only two talented chefs and two wait staff serve a demanding clientele. The head chef's passion for fresh ingredients translates directly to the food. Traditional Japanese favorites are served alongside new inventions, each dish artfully prepared and plated on beautiful dinnerware carefully selected from a daunting arsenal of Japanese pottery.
Menus are in English, though must-have specials are in Japanese. The wait staff speak fluent English and are happy to translate the day's hand-written specials. Many of the seasonally-selected specials are fresh from Japan, delicacies from land and sea some may not otherwise experience. Food is prepared behind the counter, in full view of diners seeking to absorb a better understanding of Japanese cooking. The larger menu contains appetizer-sized portions appropriate for one or two people, while a separate menu lists dinners and light meals. Don't let the many menu items fool you: the quality of food is not diluted or diminished in any way by the myriad preparations listed.
An order of several specials or appetizers followed by a light meal for each diner is appropriate. Ordering too much can be pricey, but the temptation is so strong. Dessert is a delightful ending complemented by green tea upon request; choices include home-made ice cream and Japanese favorites.
Trust the staff, try the specials. Your patience will be rewarded in an amazing experience.
Tempora, Sushi and Sashimi!. We just went to Kihachi under the guidance from Lisa at restaurantwidow. We sat at the bar and Chef Kimura was amazing to watch, almost like a magician. We also had really great service. I really felt like I could be at a great restaurant on the coast of Japan until I walked out of the front door. What a blessing to have this in Columbus, Oh! The menu is in Japanese with brief English descriptions, but waiter graciously translated it, explained the dishes, and made amazing recommendations. We had the best tempora I have ever had (Wild Mushrooms and Shrimp) and appetizer of baby octopi (which amazingly are very mild and were marinated in something great.) What I would describe as Japanese Mazaball soup, made with homemade tofu that was good and the best, most authentic Sushi and Sashimi that I have ever seen. Don't expect gimmicky rolls like a dragon roll, or anything with cream cheese, just the best, freshest ingredients prepared by a great chef.
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