We have a really good Japanese steakhouse about 15 minutes from our house that we probably visit once a week. As in you know you have issues when the servers and the cooks all know your names, your drink order, and what you’re going to eat without you saying a single word. The selling point for us is it’s a chance to get Monkey Man to eat something other than chicken nuggets or pizza for a change, never mind that at this point we’re going to have to get a second mortgage to support his hibachi addiction.
The kid loves hibachi. He has gotten totally jaded with the whole flashy show, to the point where sometimes it’s a little embarrassing to sit at a table full of enraptured people while your child is critiquing the technique of the “Cooker Man”. So between that and the fact that he’s shoveling in food as fast as the poor cook can plop it on the plate, he elicits a lot of attention from other people at the table.
Tonight we were seated at a table with two older couples. Monkey Man was on his best behavior – he ate his entire bowl of onion soup, picked at the salad a bit, ate an entire order of gyoza, and before he got too restless the cook showed up. It wasn’t one of the regulars – this was a new guy who was probably all of 25 years old but exuded an air of confidence as he began the show.
He did all of the right things. He whipped the spatula and fork around. He did the big burst of flame. He took the little spice shakers and tapped them with the spatula. And the food was very good – a little light on the spices, but good nonetheless.
We finished our dinner and Monkey Man was still polishing off his chicken…
Monkey Man: I didn’t like that cooker man.
Joey: What was wrong with him, buddy?
Monkey Man: He didn’t do the volcano. You always do the volcano.
Yup, he was right. All of the cooks take an onion, pull the rings apart, stack them into a “volcano”, and set a fire by pouring an oil/water mixture inside and setting it on fire. And our cook totally missed the boat and forgot to do one. In all honesty, I think Monkey Man missed the part where the cooks take this little plastic figurine of a little boy off their cart, pull the figurine's pants down and it “pees” water on the volcano. Pretty classy stuff and a big hit with the four-year-old crowd, apparently.
So, the food was great – but his performance earned a big fat F from Monkey Man. The kid whose first job won’t be bagging groceries, it will be as a hibachi chef. And you bet your sweet ass that he will do the volcano every single time.