First Bites

Hibachi Grill Has No Hibachi -- Or Grill

Hibachi Grill & Noodle Bar opened in downtown Miami about one month ago (it is located in the back of 50 Biscayne Blvd. at NE Third Avenue and NE First Street). The bright little mostly white space has a place where you can order, and some other counter space to stand and eat; the only seating is at outdoor tables under red umbrellas.

The condensed menu offers stir-fried noodle dishes; noodle soups; fried rice bowls; a couple of salads; and side orders such as egg rolls and gyoza. The signature items are the namesake "hibachi" meals, which offer choice of chicken; steak; shrimp; vegetables; teriyaki salmon; and combos thereof.

​A hibachi is a Japanese portable charcoal-burning brazier with grill. Usually when the term is found on a menu, it implies that a little grill will be brought to the table where marinated strips of meat, fish, poultry or vegetable will sizzle upon it. Because Hibachi Grill And Noodle Bar is a fast-food place that does most of its business as delivery and takeout, it's sort of understandable that grills aren't brought to each table (and delivery orders of burning hibachis would be really problematic). So in this case, it makes sense for the word hibachi to imply that the food is simply grilled -- still deceptive in concept, but grilled food is grilled food.

Except Hibachi Grill also has no grill.

What they have is a flat griddle, which is where pieces of chicken breast for my "chicken hibachi" were cooked. All the food here is wokked, griddled, or fried per order, so freshness is not an issue. The decently portioned chicken ($8.95) comes atop fried rice, and with a side of sauteed zucchini and onions. Lots of soy sauce in the flavors -- not great, pretty much Chinese fast-food -- but hibachi or no hibachi, this dish is sorely missing the taste of the grill.

Tried a pad Thai, which contained all the necessary and listed ingredients: rice noodles, scallions, bean sprouts, egg, and crushed peanuts with a garnish of cilantro and lime. Oops, they forgot the cilantro and lime -- and forgot it on the one dish we ordered to go (so we didn't notice until we got home). We had tofu tossed into the mix ($7.95; a buck more for chicken or beef, two dollars extra for shrimp), the cubes crisply fried. All in all an OK renditon, and generously portioned for the price.

Chicken gyoza were good -- four small dumplings with garlic kick, freshly fried and tossed with scallions and frizzled garlic ($3.95).

Hibachi Grill & Noodle Bar is cheap, fresh fast food -- passable for downtown workers on the go and looking for a new lunch spot. Just don't head there expecting that your food will exude the pleasing flavors derived from hibachi or grill.

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein