The Olympics have only been held in the United States eight times during the event’s illustrious history, but you would swear that you were walking into a world-class venue the moment you park your car at Kasai Japanese Steakhouse in Old Town Scottsdale. Two large flaming torches on each side of the entrance way greet you, and a gorgeous water feature sets the tone for a fun-filled evening of delicious food and culinary craftsmanship.
While there aren’t any athletic competitions taking place inside the building, Kasai certainly provides the level of excitement synonymous with such entertainment. I am referring, of course, to the Japanese cooking style commonly known as teppanyaki. Using an open-faced flat surface grill, chefs cook several different items at once right in front of expecting customers. In fact, the chefs often incorporate diners into their routine by tossing food into a people’s mouths or creating a fiery display of culinary art.
If the restaurant’s ambiance does not warm you up, one look at the bar menu should do the trick. Aligning with Kasai’s East Asian tradition, you can find plenty of cultural cocktail options ranging from sake bombers to authentic Japanese whiskey, such as the Shibui 18-year Sherri Cask ($50).
If you’re like me, you might be the type to look at a cocktail menu and not understand the difference between the options. Kasai removed the mystery of the menu by including detailed explanations of their drinks, highlighting elements such as aroma, palate and food pairings to help you decide.
As for the food, you could say that this Japanese restaurant has learned from its time studying abroad, because you will not be going home hungry after these very much American-sized portions. For starters, there is an extensive list of appetizers, including lump crab rangoons ($11) and Wagyu sliders ($13).
If you choose to go the teppanyaki route, prepare yourself for a seven-course meal complete with mushroom soup, house salad, a shrimp starter, fried rice, seasonal vegetables and a Dole pineapple soft-serve dessert. Your only responsibility is to select your protein from a choice of filet mignon, New York strip, chicken breast, tofu, calamari steak, salmon, scallops, sea bass, lobster or Wagyu filet mignon.
Of course, there are plenty of alternative options if you choose to pass on the teppanyaki experience. For example, if you’re a wok & noodles fan, there are a ton of delicious dishes to choose from, such as the Kabayaki scallops ($24) or Szechuan beef ($18). And if pineapple soft serve isn’t your cup of tea, no worries. You can choose from a slew of mouth-watering desserts, such as the brown butter cake ($8) – a delicious butter cake served with bourbon caramel toffee crunch ice cream topped with seasonal berries and a combination of caramel and raspberry sauce.
If you are looking for beautiful décor, a lively atmosphere and the highest quality service and food, Kasai Japanese Steakhouse is a must-visit in the Valley.
Location: 14344 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday,
4 p.m.-10 p.m. Closed on Mondays.