Nakashima is a Japanese style Hibachi restaurant in Appleton a short drive south of the Fox River mall, west of highway 41. It’s easy to see from the highway but once you exit College Avenue and turn south you need to zig-zag a bit to find it.
We came in the door and were greeted by workers behind a hostess stand. We were able to be seated right away. The tables have a grill built in, offset to one side. Guests sit on the other three sides of the table. The weather was very poor with heavy snow and wind and this was a week day evening. The two of us were the only ones at our table that I think could sit about 8 or 9 people. I think every restaurant was slow that night because of the weather.
They do have a full bar and we ordered Old Fashond's a Wisconsin local favorite and they made it the correct Wisconsin way.
A server took our drink order as well as our dinner order. After bringing us our drinks and soup a Hibachi chef rolls a cart to the table and verified our order. The sever also brings a small salad but you do not get to choose your dressing. The soup and salad are, I guess I’d call it ‘Japanese’ rather plane but it’s the same that I have been served at every Hibachi restaurant so that’s just how they do it.
What follows is a mixture of cooking and show. This includes the chef tossing utensils in the air and catching behind his back, flipping some shrimp tails in the air and catching them in his hat and shirt pocket and some brief flames on the grill as well as some tapping of what looked like wood salt shakers.
Once seated the dinner and show combination takes about 45 minutes. On a busy night this may take longer. The meal includes rice, some grilled vegetables, onions then your main course, I had chicken, but they had other choices, then a small dish of ice cream or sherbet.
I feel the main reason I go to Nakashima is the social fun atmosphere and the showmanship. It’s not fine dining, however it is reasonably economical. Is a fun experience for a date or with a group of people.
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