The Journal News
By Sue PERINE O’REILLY contributing Editor

Chef Sam at the Hibachi grill

Diners looking for something unique will find fire-spouting volcanoes made from stacked onion rings and knives splitting raw eggs in the shell – all at Kabuto Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar.

Customers laugh with and are mesmerized by chef and owner Sam Zheng at the Hibachi dinner table grill when he gives breathtaking food/knife/fire performances before he cooks the dinner.

Diners get great authentic Japanese food-and plenty of it. The portions are huge.

Hibachi dinners, which are prepared at the table in the finest Japanese tradition, are served with a clear soup, a house salad with an exotic-tasting in-house dressing, vegetables, rice, noodles and sauces. While the chef is cooking, diners may select a beverage- from a soothing, light-tasting warm sake to a soft drink, hot green tea or wine.

The menu boasts 24 Hibachi dinner selections, including the lobster and filet mignon combo for $27.95. Hostess and co-owner Vicki Chi says all of the Hibachi dinners are best sellers, including the steak and scallops combo, for $18.95. All dinners are served with two shrimp, she said.

If performance and excitement is not necessary, booths are available behind a partition-near the sushi bar. The bar includes 12 raw sushi dishes and eight cooked sushi dishes as varied as delicately flavored smoked salmon and cooked eel. It also has 11 cooked and 11 raw rolls.

“I come here all of the time,” said regular customer Anne Heiss. “I love sushi and their Philadelphia rolls (salmon, cream cheese and avocado) and ginger salad,” said Heiss, who attends Miami University in Oxford. “I live with 11 other girls and we come here a lot at night for dinner.”

The menu has 20 appetizer selections, including Tako Su- sliced octopus served with vinegar sauce ($4.95). Kabuto has lunch specials served with soup and salad and a kids Hibachi menu.

According to Jade Chi, a spokesperson for this family-owned restaurant, Kabuto opened in 2003. "It’s a fun place to celebrate a special occasion."

Waiters sometimes ask diners if they may be photographed. A number of customer photos grace the walls, including a recent photo of the mayor of Cincinnati and his family.

Diners will leave this restaurant feeling entertained, satisfied and full. A proper Japanese response? “Doumo arigato gozaimasu.” English translation: “Thank you very much.”