Bennett: Battle of the Restaurants — “Yoshimoto” and “Samurai”

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This is the first iteration of “Battle of the Restaurants,” a weekly column where, each week, i’ll put two similar local restaurants to the test and compare them to see who ultimately comes out on top. This week’s category is Hibachi. The two restaurants I compared were “Yoshimoto” in Turnersville, N.J., and “Samurai” in Glassboro, N.J.

Yoshimoto

When I approached Yoshimoto, I was seated right away at a private table and greeted very warmly by the hostess. The only caveat was there were multiple Hibachi stations available, and we were only given a table. 

This was disappointing, but we were close enough to be able to see the demonstration and the cook was loud enough to the point where we felt somewhat included. This essentially gave me that Hibachi ambience that serves as the selling point for this kind of establishment. Other than that, the atmosphere was warm and dim, creating a very relaxed environment. 

One of the best parts of the entire course was the Miso soup that came with the entrée. The spice of the broth mixed with scallions was a symphony of flavor and warmth that excited my tastebuds. Even though it was simple, it made a significant impact on my dining experience. 

Afterward, the Hibachi chicken came through. The sauce they used was a beautiful glaze that smothered the chicken in sweetness and saltiness. The rice was air-like and soft, but it also had somewhat of a smokiness to it as well. The best part was the rice wasn’t overcooked which I really appreciated, and it blended beautifully with the vegetables as well. Finally, it was time for the worst part of the experience: the bill. 

It came out to $21.99. Although it’s a little on the high-end compared to surrounding Hibachi restaurants, I would definitely go there again. The best part is if you go during their lunch hour, the meal is almost half the price but you will receive a smaller portion of the meal.  

Samurai

Samurai is another place that I had heard great things about. It’s located in Glassboro, which is convenient for Rowan students. Just like the prior restaurant, the ambience was very relaxed. However, we were not seated at the Hibachi station and there were no demonstrations, which was, again, disappointing. 

The service was great. The waitress checked on us a decent number of times and refilled our waters when they were getting low. 

When the food was served, I was surprised that the Hibachi chicken offered a few pieces of shrimp in the meal but it wasn’t stated in the menu. If you like seafood then you would be elated. However, if you have an allergy or are not a big fan of seafood then I would advise you to ask the server if that particular ingredient is in the dish. Fortunately, it wasn’t a big deal for me, and it complimented the dish well. The chicken was juicy and tender and it complimented the Hibachi glaze beautifully and the rice was nice and fluffy. 

The best part is the multiple payment methods they offered; Apple Pay, debit cards, cash and even Rowan Bucks. The entire experience was affordable as well. The total for me ended up at $18.

Overall, both restaurants’ experiences were amazing but the one that stuck out to me the most was Yoshimoto. The uniqueness of the dish with the different glazes was amazing and honestly, the entertainment is really what won me over.

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