Happy Foodie Friday! Today we head to Japan… the Japanese Pavilion in Disney’s EPCOT, that is. We tried Teppan Edo for the first time this past year. It was a good time to try it, as we were traveling with another family, so we had a party of 8. The hibachi stations seat eight, and you’ll most likely be seated with strangers if you have a smaller party. Having a large party definitely added to the fun. We were a larger party and had fun conversing and joking around with one another.
Regardless of whether you have a party of eight or two, I’d definitely recommend trying Teppan Edo. It’s a fun, interactive meal with tons of different delicious options!
Let’s start with the aesthetics of the restaurant. Each restaurant in Disney is accurately themed to reflect the pavilion’s country, and Teppan Edo is no exception! The waiting area is dimly lit with dark colors. The decor is sleek and modern, with a minimalist appeal. The restaurant consists of a single hallway with multiple rooms to the right. Each room contains four hibachi grill stations and each station seats eight guests.
A server soon greets us in the waiting area and walks us down the long corridor and into one of the rooms. The rooms is brighter than the hallway and waiting area. Each grill station features a surrounding white tabletop, adding to the room’s brightness. As we admire the shiny grill, the server reminds us not to touch the stove top.
Soon after we’re seated, the server collects our drink and food orders. I order a Sapporo and a Diet Coke. Each entree contains a protein, mixed vegetables, udon noodles and beef rice. There is a seasonal vegetable option on the menu, and I believe vegetarians can switch the beef rice for white rice. The protein options include steak, chicken, swordfish and scallops. There are also combinations, including steak and shrimp, steak and chicken breast, and chicken breast and shrimp.
I debated between the steak and shrimp or the chicken and steak. I ultimately decided to go with the chicken and steak, as I enjoyed the steak and lobster tail at Narcoossee’s the night before and was looking for something different.
The chef arrives and after confirming everyone’s orders, she starts prepping her work station and serving our dipping sauces for the meal. Everyone gets their own individual serving of a mustard sauce, a ginger sauce and a “Japanese ranch” (shrimp sauce.) Let me just say – it’s a good thing that everyone gets their own portion of sauces, because each of these sauces are absolutely delicious. I can definitely see a fight breaking out over the Japanese ranch!
The chef starts by preparing the vegetables. She creates an onion volcano and then pushes the smoking tower of onion slices around the grill like a train. After a few jokes, she’s back to work, slicing the vegetables and showing off her knife work. The knife work can get lost amid all the other theatrics. Take some time to watch how precise the chef is in his or her cuts. It truly is amazing how every cut is perfectly symmetrical! As a foodie, it’s something I really appreciate and admire. No matter how many times I’ve tried to emulate a chef’s knife work, I can never perfect it the way these chefs do!
After grilling the vegetables, the chef adds the udon noodles to the grill. The noodles are already cooked, so the grill serves to reheat the noodles and add some texture. After mixing up the noodles and vegetables, the chef serves the first course of the meal. You can choose to wait to eat the noodles until your choice of protein is ready, but I immediately start to gobble up the noodles. The noodles are delicious and cooked perfectly. The highlight, for me, is the onion. Nothing beats a grilled onion! The caramelized onions are prevalent, but not overpowering. The noodles are not too greasy and the zucchini adds a delicious crunch.
I try to eat slow and wait for my chicken and steak. A quick note – the chef cooks the meal in order, according to how much cooking time each item requires. The fish and shrimp will be done first, then the chicken, and then the steak. I leave some noodles on my plate and eagerly await my chicken and steak. The chicken arrives first and I mix it with my noodles. I start by trying the chicken by itself. Chicken breast is easy to mess up and can easily be overcooked, giving it a rubbery texture; but this chicken is cooked to perfection. I try each of the dipping sauces and the Japanese ranch is my favorite. The mustard sauce also works well with the chicken, and the ginger sauce has a fresh, subtle spiciness.
Next up is the steak. If you’ve read my previous Foodie Friday posts, you know I love my steak medium rare. The steak is chopped before being served, so it’s hard to tell whether it was cooked correctly. Going by texture alone, the steak fit the bill of medium rare. It’s slightly charred on the outside and it melts in your mouth. In reviews for Teppan Edo, many people remark that the chicken and steak is underseasoned. I did find this to be slightly true. If you’re eating the chicken and steak by itself, it does lack some flavor; But the noodles pack a serious punch and the sauces definitely complement the dish.
After everything is served, the chef took a bow and left the station. The server returns and serves the beef rice. I had already gobbled down my noodles, so the beef rice served as a great side dish to my chicken and steak.
Everyone finishes their meal and it’s time for dessert. The dessert menu includes a slice of green tea cheesecake, vanilla or green tea ice cream, or a piece of chocolate ginger cake. I was happy that I ordered the chocolate ginger cake, as my mom ordered the green tea cheesecake and it was very small! The chocolate ginger cake was very good. It consisted of three layers. The base was a sponge cake. At the middle was a chocolate mousse, and it was topped with a chocolate icing. The cake was served cold. The chocolate icing was a little stiff, the mousse was light and airy and the sponge cake was moist. The first thing I tasted was the ginger and then the sweetness of the chocolate.
The desserts were definitely the low point of the meal, lacking options and size. But if you’re going to a hibachi restaurant for dessert, you’re going for the wrong reason. If you’re not on the meal plan, skip the dessert and head to the French bakery after!
Overall, Teppan Edo was a favorite among my family and family friends. They always say that you’re meal is only as good as the company you’re with. I definitely do not think the meal would have been as enjoyable had we been seated with strangers. But judging by the food alone, it was a great meal. Many would argue that you can get great hibachi food at any Benihana. While this may be true, Teppan Edo is wonderfully themed and is a great option within Disney. Not many Disney restaurants offer the interactive experience that Teppan Edo does, so I’d definitely recommend it for your next vacation.Follow @survivedisxmas