“I can’t wait to see the show,” I remember exclaiming as we sat down at an upscale teppanyaki restaurant in one of Tokyo’s five-star hotels on my first trip to the city, only to have my dining companion respond with utter confusion. Of course, little did I know at the time, mini flaming volcanoes made out of onion rings and acrobatic eggs are an exclusively suburban North America “teppanyaki experience”, as foreign and out of place as a fortune cookie is to authentic Chinese cuisine.
So ever since my first authentic teppanyaki experience in Tokyo, where I left craving the entertaining cheesiness of having my fried rice served into the shape of a heart, I’ve been searching from Hong Kong to Hawaii for the “dinner and a show” concept that defined the teppanyaki experiences of my childhood. When we first heard about Black Sheep Restaurants’ newest venture, Crown Super Deluxe, we wondered if our hunger for tableside entertainment would finally be satiated.
Named after the Toyota Crown Deluxe taxis manned by the immaculately dressed gentlemen drivers that line the streets of Tokyo, this teppanyaki restaurant promises a lavish dining experience using premium ingredients in a refined yet relaxed environment. Rocky Aoki, an amateur wrestler, restaurateur and cultural icon who founded the iconic teppanyaki restaurant chain Benihana, was also an inspiration behind Crown Super Deluxe for his eccentric style.
Taking over the space that Bread Street Kitchen once occupied at LKF Tower, the main dining area headlines three teppans in the central hub, flanked by two additional counters on the side. The interior, designed bySean Dix, features velvety, mustard-coloured armchairs, plush, purple carpeting and gold chandeliers for a distinct, opulent mid-century look.
Every teppan is manned by at least one chef, with the team headed by veteran teppanyaki Chef Toru Takano alongside his wife, Chef Ami Hamasaki. Chef Takano was most recently behind the grill at URA restaurant in Sheung Wan.
To fully experience the restaurant’s offerings, we decided on the Deluxe menu ($1,188/person), which features the most premium ingredients amongst the three set menus available. À-la-carte options will also be available, although, at the time of this article’s publication, the selection has yet to be confirmed.
Beef is king at Crown Super Deluxe, and a bevy of options, including USDA Prime, Australian Wagyu and top-of-the-range Japanese beef, is on offer.
Our Deluxe prix-fixe menu began with jet-fresh Toyosu Market sashimi, ranging from refreshingly crisp shima-aji, to rich, velvety salmon, to sweet amaebi, followed by Tokushima fruit tomato, whose sweetness was further accentuated with a sprinkling of sea salt. Fat garlic flakes fried in oil made for another a mouth-watering treat.
Spiny lobster sizzled alongside garlic bread on the same teppan, with the whole composition later drizzled with a sinfully good sauce made from lobster coral and butter. The lobster was perfectly cooked, retaining the textural bounce of the meat.
We were pleasantly surprised to see spinach in the medley of grilled vegetables.
And finally, the main event, featuring the restaurant’s headlining A5 Kagoshima Wagyu with its delicate snowflake marbling. This top-grade beef is the most prized of all, making up only one per cent of Japan’s total beef production. The particular beef we enjoyed that evening hailed from the volcanic region of Kagoshima, renowned for its full-bodied flavour. Cooked to a blushing pink, each bite was tender and packed with juicy, beefy flavour. Three dipping sauces accompanied the beef, although we preferred just a sprinkling of coarse salt to accentuate its unadulterated flavour. Because the beef was so highly marbled, a few bites were enough to satisfy our cravings.
Wagyu and garlic fried rice and lobster miso soup, made from the head of the grilled lobster, rounded out the savoury portion of our meal.
We moved on to the cosy, 30-seat dessert and whisky bar at the back of the restaurant to indulge in some tantalising sweets, ranging from coconut tart ($168), to mango Charlotte ($168), to chocolate millefeuille ($168). The desserts are scrumptious but pricey for what they are.
A roaming magician dazzled guests with seemingly impossible mind-reading tricks while we sipped umeshu.
A delicious, high-end teppanyaki experience in an opulent yet funky setting. Impeccable service, as expected from all our previous Black Sheep restaurant experiences, although when we heard that Rocky Aoki was one of the inspirations behind Crown Super Deluxe, we really got our hopes up for the full Benihana package – alas, no shrimp tails flipped into the chef’s pocket this time! The food here is spot on, although you do pay a pretty penny for the experience.
M/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, 2111 8434, firstname.lastname@example.org
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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