For Japanese Food (and a Live Cooking Show), Try Nagasaki Inn
For dinner and a live cooking show, grab a seat at one of the Hibachi tables at Nagasaki Inn on Summer Avenue.
Nagasaki Inn is sort of like the Pete & Sam's of Japanese food. Time inside the restaurant seems to have stopped somewhere around 1965, and the space is laden with the nostalgia of past birthday dinners and special occasions.
While Nagasaki Inn has a full menu and plenty of sushi options, I went for the hibachi lobster dinner. My dinner buddy and I were seated at a large communal table with another couple and a lone woman who seemed to be one a dinner date with her bluetooth. The center of the table was a large cooking surface.
A chef came to the table and prepared the food in front of us with a sizeable ammount of fanfare. Vegetables were enthusiastically chopped, bowls of rice were flipped expertly behind the chef's back and shrimp were flung into the air with gusto. The meal arrived on my plate in pieces – first, there was a pile of sauteed vegetables seasoned with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Then came a big bowl of fried rice. My meat came out last, huge chunks of lobster with soy sauce and spicy mustard for dipping.
All of the dinners come with clear soup, salad and fried rice. The soup is fairly standard (but tasty) and the rice is prepared on the hibachi grill. While the salad's peanut dressing was good, I wish it had been on top of something more than just chopped iceberg lettuce.
Because the hibachi dinners at Nagasaki are sort of like a show, it's a pretty kid-friendly place (read: they'll be plenty entertained). If you want to try it on the cheap, you can usually find two-for-one tickets in the Go Memphis suppliment in the Friday Commercial Appeal.
Nagasaki Inn is open for dinner seven nights per week. They have a full bar and accept all major credit cards.