Food & Drink

Diner’s Dictionary: Teppanyaki

What is it? Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine cooked on a flat-top iron griddle, popularized in North America by the Benihana chain. The word is used to describe a variety of dishes cooked on the griddle, including noodle preparations (yakisoba) as well as those with beef, seafood and a variety of chopped vegetables, plus rice and egg. At most teppanyaki restaurants, dishes are prepared at tableside grills, in front of guests. Misono restaurant in Kobe, Japan, claims to have been the first to set up its dining room this way, in 1945.

Fun fact: Even though teppanyaki and hibachi are often used interchangeably to describe Japanese steakhouses, hibachi grills are charcoal-heated and have open grates. With its gas-heated flat surface, teppanyaki grills are closer in style to the steel griddles used to cook Mongolian barbecue.

Where can I find it? The new SooWoo restaurant claims it will be the only tappanyaki spot in South Beach when it opens this month at 555 Washington Ave. For a hibachi-grill experience, visit Drunken Dragon at 1424 Alton Rd., also in South Beach

Evan S. Benn is Miami Herald food editor and Miami.com restaurants editor. Follow him on Twitter: @EvanBenn.

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