About 90% of the time, I go to Japanese restaurants to have nothing but sushi. That’s usually what makes or breaks a Japanese place for me – whether their sushi is good. But since I’ve never been to a teppanyaki place before (“teppan” is an iron plate used for grilling, which translates to “yaki”), I decided to skip out on the sushi and go for the restaurant’s specialty. Besides, it makes more sense to order the restaurant’s “special” foods, since it should be what sets the particular restaurant apart from others.

So the place I went to is called Kegon, located in Northbrook. I know there are several branches of Kegon, including one in Hawaii, and this one was the first one I’ve been to. It’s quite dimly lit, which was probably for the best because the interior is clean, but tacky. There are plastic plates on plastic tables that are weirdly surfaced with a clashing colour scheme (ours was mainly purple with a pink and green triangle). Not only that, but they mixed too many different textures and materials – there are plastic tables, wooden pillars, carpeted and tiled floors, and metal grill plates. Not my cup of tea.

But the cooking performance, now that was something else. I’m pretty sure the chefs do the same routine at every table, every single day of the week, because the chef we got had a blank smiley face on all throughout his cooking. But I didn’t care. It was really fun watching him juggle his cooking utensils, set the oil on fire, make a volcano out of an onion half, and throw broccoli at my friend so she could try to catch it with her mouth. It might get old if you eat here every day, but for me, it was a novelty. As long as no one gets stabbed with a wayward fork, it’s all a very entertaining performance.

As for the food, I really enjoyed my swordfish teriyaki dish, which came with miso soup, salad, and rice. The miso soup was meh, salad was fresh (especially liked the homemade dressing), and the swordfish was perfectly cooked and seasoned. It also felt like I had the “true” teriyaki sauce with it, because instead of it being a really thick, gooey sweet sauce, their teriyaki sauce was light and not overly sweet or overpowering in taste. I could actually taste the fish underneath all the sauce! But above all these things, I think I loved the grilled veggies the most – they were very fresh and cooked just right, not like some of the soggy veggies you get as side dishes at other restaurants. Again, they were seasoned just right, so kudos to the blank-faced chef! He could probably do everything in his sleep!

The service was pretty fast, maybe because of the fact that we were the first customers for the dinner shift. Otherwise, I think I’d definitely want to return – this place satisfies all five senses in the most delightful way. 7.5/10.


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