I’ve been to a few sushi places in New York City, but somehow I never managed to experience hibachi before visiting Nikko in Harlem (1280 Amsterdam Ave), which is worth the trip uptown for some of the best sushi and hibachi in NYC. As soon as my girlfriend and I walked in the restaurant, Justin, the manager, greeted us with a wide smile. He explained to us that the regular dining area and the hibachi area were separated into two different rooms so that the hibachi wouldn’t be distracting to anyone who just wants to have a regular meal. I thought this was very thoughtful and cool.
When we got to the hibachi area we were offered several great sounding combinations such as Lobster and Chicken, Scallops and Chicken, Scallops and Shrimp and much more. The Lobster and Chicken was amazing. Our chef came out to our table and immediately got into his whole hibachi act. If you’ve never been to one of these, you’ll want to make sure you don’t sit too close because the flames get pretty high. The chef, however, assured us they’ve never had any damages. The showmanship of our chef was unimaginable. First he carved the rice into the shape of a heart and then used his spatula to create the illusion that the heart was beating. Next he poured sauce into a mountain of onions and lit it with a light flame making it blaze into an onion volcano. Our chef kept us engaged in conversation throughout the duration of the preparation of our meal, which was a real treat. He then played a game where he flings a piece of chicken in the air at you and if you’re lucky enough to catch it in your mouth you are rewarded with a shot of sake.
The food was not to be outdone by the hibachi experience. Everything tasted so fresh, and the restaurant wasn’t too over crowded or loud so we were able to have great conversation while we dined. There are two different types of sauce they offer you to top your meal, and I highly recommend going for the garlic sauce twice over the cream sauce. The cream sauce is a little heavy but the garlic sauce brings all the flavors together perfectly.
Also, if you’ve never had a Sweet Potato Roll, this is only a greater incentive to make a trip to Nikko. It is by far the most delicious item on the menu, and is something I’ve never seen at another establishment. I ordered this in addition to my meal and it hit the spot. If you want the best sushi and hibachi experience in the city, I highly suggest Nikko. It’s not one of those over saturated locations where the name is more than the value of the experience, and the staff was so accommodating.