Trip to Evansville’s New Teppanyaki Grill and Buffet Worth Repeating – Ryan’s Review
After reading Big Boy's review of Evansville's newest Asian buffet, and given my interest in trying new places, I decided to take it upon myself to see what all the fuss was about.
Located in the Burlington Coat Factory complex next to Sofa City at the intersection of Green River Road and the Lloyd Expressway, Teppanyaki Grill and Supreme Buffet bills itself as the largest and most elegant Chinese, Japanese, and American cuisine restaurant. A statement I would wholeheartedly agree with if they would have stopped at "Chinese, Japanese". I would argue that somewhere like The Log Inn is larger when it comes to American cuisine, however it sits outside the city limits in northern Vanderburgh County, so let's not split hairs. Don't get me wrong, it is a large place. Easily the largest Asian buffet in Evansville despite the deceiving appearance from outside.
Something I learned during my lunch time visit on Monday is that Evansville's Teppanyaki is part of a larger chain. The east side location joins six other locations in Indiana including two in Indianapolis, along with one each in Muncie, Terre Haute, Lafayette, and Fort Wayne. These seven locations join the other 45 locations owned by the company. Now let's get to real reason I went, the food.
The selection was by far the most I had ever encountered at a Chinese buffet. They offered the standard fare of steamed and fried rice, but also had "Hibachi Rice" which tasted like fried rice mixed with cooked mushrooms and a dash of teriyaki sauce.
They also offered "Hibachi Chicken" which was simply sliced chicken breast cooked with some type of sauce and green peppers. The sauce didn't taste like teriyaki, actually I'm not sure what it tasted like. It wasn't bad, the chicken was tender and juicy, but I didn't feel like the sauce really added anything. It was just kind of...there.
What I did enjoy was the General Tso's Chicken, a MUST every time I visit a every Chinese buffet. The sauce was sweet and spicy, and the chicken was crispy on the outside while remaining juicy on the inside. I also enjoyed the Black Pepper Chicken and Black Pepper Shrimp. Both of which provided a solid peppery flavor without being overpowering.
The Cheese Wanton's were also very good. These are Teppanyaki's version of crab rangoon, but were loaded with smooth cream cheese. It was hard to taste any crab meat, but they had me at "cream cheese" so I didn't mind. Unlike most buffets where the rangoon is shaped almost like a four-point star, these were set up more like a small pouch which made eating them much easier. I was able to just pop the whole thing in my mouth (after a quick dip in the sweet and sour sauce of course) instead of trying to determine which side I need to bite into to keep one point of the wanton wrapper from going up my nose.
Like more and more buffets are starting to offer these days, Teppanyaki also provides a hibachi grill for a Mongolian BBQ type experience along with a sushi bar. I didn't try the hibachi although it appeared to offer a good selection of ingredients. I did however make a bee-line straight for the sushi bar which offered a really good selection including your typical California rolls to tempura battered and deep fried sushi, along with rolls topped with thinly sliced avocado. My only gripe would be the lack of a proper dish for soy sauce. Instead of small, rectangular dishes available at most restaurants, Teppanyaki provides a container of round, plastic cups which makes dipping the larger pieces of sushi difficult. Taste wise, while a few of the pieces I grabbed weren't rolled very tight and wanted to fall about, the flavor was good and I could tell it was freshly made.
Overall, I was really pleased with my experience at Teppanyaki, and suggest giving it a try next time your in the mood for a little Asian zing.