Illustrations by Jake Young
Date night with your girl is supposed to be fun, but more importantly it's supposed to make you look like the man. By the end of the evening, she should view you as the slickest guy on the planet. That's why Hibachi restaurants are so tricky. Girls love Hibachi, but the whole dining experience revolves around another dude who's skilled with knives and fire. How do you compete with that?
Here's five classic Hibachi chef moves that will have you walking out of Benihana like a boss.
1. Blades Of Steel
Your chef is armed with three weapons: a knife, a two-pronged grilling fork and a spatula. He's gonna roll up on your table and juggle his grilling tools like a pro. (Your backyard burger-flipping stunts will look like child's play in comparison.) Assert your dominance right away: Use your chopsticks to reproduce John Bonham's entire 15-minute drum solo from "Moby-Dick." Led Zeppelin is like Hibachi chef kryptonite.
2. Smiley Face Flames
Next, he's gonna patronize you by squirting some oil on the grill in the shape of a smiley face. Remember, you're a grown man; you won't be disrespected by some joker who cooks with emoticons. When he ignites the smiley face, everyone at your table will scream and recoil, but hold your ground. Don't let him scare you with his Hibachi blaze.
When the flames subside, you should be smoking a cigar and eating a roasted marshmallow. Sure, you smell like burnt hair, but you've kept your dignity.
3. The Onion Volcano
In this classic Hibachi move, your chef stacks raw onion rings, fills them with oil and lights them, causing flames to shoot out. Then, he will unveil a little plastic, water-filled fireman and yell, "Fireman!" He'll press a button, and the fireman toy will drop his pants and pee out the fire.
But here's the kicker: sometimes he'll make the fireman pee on you, R. Kelly style, and everyone will laugh and laugh. At this point, you have to act fast, like a ninja, before the onion volcano is extinguished. Grab the fireman toy and sacrifice him into the flaming summit, melting him beyond recognition. Who's laughing now? You.
4. The Broccoli Toss
This clown has stepped up and impressed your girl with his knife-wielding skills. He's peed on you with an action figure. And now he's trying to toss a sautéed vegetable in your mouth. Don't play his game. When he flings the broccoli morsel at you, slap it across the room like you're blocking a layup: "Get outta my house!"
5. The Saké Squirt
Your chef has multiple squeeze bottles of fluid on his Hibachi cart, and one of 'em is filled with sweet, sweet saké. He'll eventually come around and spurt it directly into the customers' mouths. When it's your turn, swipe the saké bottle and do a body shot off your date, because no one squirts anything onto her except you.