By Raymond Bill
When dining out in the desert, I am always looking for the total experience. Of course food quality, presentation and service are all important, but more and more I am lacking an entertainment factor to complete the whole dining experience. That is why I gravitate toward places like Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. For 25 years, Kobe has set the bar for Japanese cuisine in the Coachella Valley. My recent visit to Kobe provided much more than dinner and it was easy to see why people return again and again.
When we arrived, we took our time to admire the Koi pond and the surrounding décor. As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by a smiling staff with all eyes on us. It was refreshing to have such immediate attention as it is often that I find host staff and management busy with personal conversation. We decided to begin with a cocktail in the lounge where we were so comfortable that we enjoyed a spicy tuna roll. The sushi roll was generously stuffed with tuna and a perfect start to our evening. We were ready for the show!
We were seated at the corner of a communal table where we would be able to view our master chef prepare our meals before us. Our server was quick to offer drinks and appetizers, dressed from head to toe in authentic attire. We continued our tasting with a Dragon Roll made with fresh seared eel while our chef was prepping for the evening. It was savory and sweet, quite delicious! Our teppanyaki experience would begin after our miso soup, which is included in each meal. Once our chef began to sharpen and toss his knives, we knew the show was about to begin!
Our chef, Eric was engaging yet focused. He prepared and sliced shrimp before tossing them at each of us to catch in our mouths like hungry dogs. Apparently I have a knack for this, catching a few pieces. The menu offers many combinations so that there is likely something for every palate. Steak and Prawns, Steak and Chicken, Chicken and Prawns… you get the idea. If one cannot easily decide, there are extras to add. I ordered the Fresh Halibut and added on Scallops. My girlfriend ordered Filet Mignon. The steak and seafood were prepared to our liking. Eric was generous with butter and soy, making each bite full of flavor!
Each meal includes steamed rice but for an extra charge, fried rice is prepared on the iron flat top grill. I recommend someone from the table do this. It adds to the teppanyaki experience and there is usually a little extra left over to share. We would also all enjoy fresh vegetables prepared before us. A signature teppanyaki technique allowed for us to view the “Onion Volcano” where onion rings are stacked to resemble a volcano, then doused with oil and set ablaze. Our table guests were engaged and entertained.
We finished the meal with our choice of Green Tea Ice Cream or Orange Sherbet. The Staff was truly wonderful and welcoming. I can see why tourists return year after year and why locals celebrate special occasions here at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. Kobe is a family friendly restaurant and is great for children of all ages. There is also an incredible and affordable early bird menu and Happy Hour is offered twice per day. In addition to the main dining area that features teppanyaki, there is also a sushi bar. With so much going on, I recommend visiting their website at www.koberanchomirage.com. I will definitely be returning to enjoy some more sushi and sake!