The world of surf and turf came to the Power & Light District this weekend as Kobe Japanese Steak House opened on Saturday.
The surf is the 14 hibachi grills, while the turf is a sushi bar in the main dining room at 1303 Baltimore Avenue. The Power & Light location is the sixth restaurant for a chain that began in Leesburg, Virginia.
"We always strive to use fresh, high quality ingredients. Our pricing is reasonable and we have larger portions," says manager Frank Ha.
The sushi station is captained by Bob "Wasabi" Shin -- a jokester who promises a "money-back guarantee" if you're unhappy with what he makes you. Shin is a recent transplant from Cleveland, having worked for other Kobe franchises and as a sushi chef for more than 30 years.
Ha recommends the twin dragon roll ($24.95, two long rolls of tempura shrimp topped with eel), but recognizes that sushi is potentially a way for Kobe to carve out a niche downtown.
"With hibachi, we all love meat. But sushi is growing here," says Ha.
The grills are spread out over three dining rooms in the 8,000 square foot space -- two allow for semi-private dining. Ha points to a few differences in how Kobe prepares its hibachi entrees. The chefs start with fried rice before adding the vegetables to chicken ($15.95) or steak ($20.95).
Kobe is also known for the white sauce that accompanies its hibachi shrimp ($25.95) or scallops ($26.95). It's somewhere between Thousand Island dressing and a lighter cream sauce. The meat entrees come with a tangy ginger sauce. If you're interested in hibachi, Ha suggests you call ahead.
"I'd recommend making reservations because the grills take 25 to 30 minutes to heat up.".
Kobe is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m. On Fridays, it's 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 11 p.m. The restaurant is open continuously Saturdays (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) and Sundays (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.).
This space is built for special occasions. It even has a birthday special: a specialty drink inside a souvenir mug with a piece of cheesecake and photograph for $12.95.