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Day 16: Benihana

It’s my Birthday Month!  And I’m taking advantage of all the birthday deals available to me by attempting to get one birthday deal every day.  Please read more about my mission in my “About” page.  On we go!!


Day:  16benihana1
Business:  Benihana
Offer:  $30 gift certificate towards dinner
Via:  Email message and printable certificate from Benihana’s Chef’s Table


Benihana is a teppanyaki style restaurant where the food is cooked before your very eyes with a fun display of skill and showmanship.  Birthdays are very popular at this Beaverton establishment, which explains why this place is fully packed on all days of the week.  Celebrants get candles on their ice cream dessert and a spirited birthday song, not to mention a birthday picture commemorating their visit to the restaurant.

The Benihana birthday offer is only available through their Chef’s Table email club, and you’ll receive the certificate via email around the first of your birthday month.  The rules and restrictions are clearly stated, starting with the requirement that you can only use the certificate for dinner, Monday – Thursday.  You basically get up to $30 for the birthday meal and sides, as long as you bring another person who also purchases an entree.  It used to be that you didn’t have to bring another person, but the chain finally wised up and made this change in 2014.  Please also note that the $30 cannot be used for alcohol or gratuity.

We went in on a Thursday with same day reservations.  Unfortunately, the only time slots left were 4:15 pm, 4:30pm and 9:30pm.  We chose the 4:30pm sitting since that was closest to our normal dinner time.  When we arrived to the restaurant, we poked our heads into the main teppanyaki grill area, and counted that each of the grills seated 8 – 10 diners in a U-shaped configuration.  We returned back to the waiting area and noticed that people without reservations were offered to dine in a separate lounge dining room.

The lounge dining room has regular table seating without the grill and the teppanyaki chef, but instead has regular servers.  The same room houses a sushi bar for those that want to sit up close and watch the sushi chefs in action.  The lounge space is a lot calmer and quieter, and since my wife and I had already done the teppanyaki experience in previous visits to Benihana, we decided to give this “other” dining room a try.  We informed the front hostess about our change in plans, and she said that it was no problem at all and handed us two menus.  She added that my birthday certificate was also valid in the lounge dining room, so long as we ordered the dinner entrees and not any of the discounted happy hour items.

We were seated at a two-person table and before I gave my order, I informed our waiter that I was using the birthday certificate.  He reiterated that it was not valid for happy hour items and that my dining guest would have to purchase a full-priced teppan dinner entree.  So my wife and I ordered an entree each (steak for me,  Colossal Mango Shrimp for my wife), plus I added a side of their chicken fried rice.  The first part of our meal each consisted of a small bowl of onion soup and a small bowl of Benihana salad.  Our entrees came next and they were accompanied by two dipping sauces (one for seafood, the other for meat) and each dish also had a few pieces of hibachi shrimp and a few pieces of hibachi veggies.  We were also provided with a small bowl of steamed white rice as well as the fried rice that I ordered as a side.  The meal was also supposed to come with hot green tea, but our waiter forgot about this (he had about five other tables to take care of and seemed pretty busy).  After our dinner was finished, he also forgot about the ice cream dessert that comes with the entrees.  A gentle reminder to our waiter and he returned with a scoop of vanilla for me and a scoop of green tea ice cream for my wife.

The total damage for our evening out came to $54.49.  He took off my meal and my side order and our bill was reduced to $24.99.  This would have been the same price as the teppanyaki experience, but without the entertainment aspect.  By dining in the lounge room, I also did not get candles on my dessert, a birthday song nor the instant photo card, but that was no big deal to me.  Another observation was that it also seemed that we didn’t get as much food versus the last time when we did the fresh grill show, but we can’t say for certain and can’t prove it.  We still had leftovers however, so there was still plenty of food to take home and eat for another day.  Bottom line is that the Benihana birthday offer is a must-have for the food, the show, the value and the fact that it is valid for an entire month.  The Benihana teppanyaki experience is something that kids and adults alike would get a kick out of.  Be forewarned however — just be sure to read all of the fine print on the certificate and make a reservation so you don’t get stuck eating super early or super late!  Happy birthday to you, Japanese Teppanyaki style!


Verdict:  Must-Have
benihana2Items ordered:  1 Colossal Shrimp entree, 1 steak entree, 1 side chicken fried rice
Amount before discount:  $54.49
Amount after discount:  $24.99
Total amount with tip:  $34.99
More info:  Benihana Chef’s Table





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