By Veronique Saiya
Shogun offers spectacular entertainment, big atmosphere, and bigger taste!
At many newer restaurants you can peer into the fashionable open-air kitchens. But go to Shogun, and you can actually eat in the kitchen, huddled around the stove, awestruck by the chef’s deft maneuvers.
Shogun’s chefs are entertainers in addition to being grill virtuosos. Diners sit at communal tables that form squares around the hibachis while chefs prepare teppanyaki-style dishes (teppan means steel grill, yaki means broiled) on giant griddles right before our eyes. The hibachi chefs are part cook, part clown, and part juggler, making the experience a culinary entertainment extravaganza that is well worth the long wait to be seated.
Authentic Japanese food can seem rather ‘out there’ to some American palates, but Shogun’s hibachi fare is a sure bet for the less adventurous. Hibachi prepared food is simplicity at its best, even if it is prepared with a flamboyant style.
My husband, Ken, ordered the “Chef Special” which is a combination of steak, chicken, and shrimp. I ordered from the “Your Choice of Any Two Items” list and selected the scallops and fillet mignon. Possible hibachi entrée selections included teriyaki chicken, shrimp, scallops, fillet mignon, salmon, tuna, Mahi Mahi, calamari, Red Snapper, lobster, and several combinations of these selections.
Every hibachi entrée is accompanied by a salad, two pieces of jumbo shrimp, steamed rice, stir-fried noodles, mixed vegetables, and a clear onion broth with bits of mushrooms floating in it.
Even when eating at the grill, you may place non-hibachi orders. My husband, who is Japanese, never passes up an opportunity to eat sushi, but as hibachi entrées are filling, he only ordered a few sushi items. Of the items he ordered, he enjoyed the Salmon Roe, Fresh Water Eel, and Spider Roll the most.
Before the cooking performance begins, each diner gets two kinds of side sauces—one for chicken & seafood that has a ginger flavor, and a mayo-based sauce with a semi-sweet flavor for beef. It’s fun to mix and switch around the condiments as they are both quite good.
Our steaks were melt-in-your-mouth delicious, Ken’s chicken was tender and both of our seafood items were of a perfect consistency. We thoroughly enjoyed our hibachi-prepared food as well as its entertaining preparation.
While making the fried rice that some of my fellow diners opted for, the chef cracked open the eggs by tossing them in the air and catching them one-by-one on the edge of his spatula which he wielded with amazing dexterity. After filling the bowls with the finished product, he put one serving onto the spatula and gave it a 360 degree flip without loosing one single grain of rice.
Skillfully cutting an onion into rings with a long knife, he forms the rings into a miniature mountain, pours in “fire water” and presto—an instant volcano that shoots out steam looking as if it’s about to erupt.
Using the same knife with lightening speed—he scores shrimp and slices the various meats. It comes as little surprise that after he puts our food on plates everyone gives him a round of applause.
The food is worth applause, too, which is probably why the restaurant is full of regulars. Owner, Hero Young, Yu chuckles and gives a big smile as he says, “Once they come here they never go anyplace else.” Some frequently drive from places as far away as Montezuma.
When I asked Yu how he came to be so lucky as to have so many regulars he stated, “I have a great staff, most of which have at least 15 years of experience. They know how important it is to consistently provide quality service to our customers. All of us treat each other and our customers like family.”
Yu, has 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry and has worked in restaurants located in Alabama, Ohio, Kansas, and California. Yu decided to open Shogun when a friend from Macon mentioned that Macon’s oldest and smaller Japanese restaurant, Yamato, had been sold.
Yu believed that he could successfully open a larger Japanese restaurant in Macon due to the fact that he posses a knack for business and has a highly trained staff who are adept at customer satisfaction. Yu did some remodeling and opened his doors to the public on December 7, 1998.
Sushi chef, James Kim is a fine example of Yu’s great staff. Kim is well-liked by the customers who he provides with quality sushi and conversation. With 25 years of sushi training, Kim is both highly skilled and conscientious. “I would never serve customers food that I wouldn’t enjoy eating myself, stated Kim.” He sees food as an extension of himself stating, “I put all of my mind… my soul into the food I prepare.” The end result of Kim’s labors of love is sushi that is as creative and beautiful as it is delicious.
It would seem that the culmination of all of the efforts of Yu and his staff have indeed paid off. The Saturday night that Ken and I dined at Shogun we found a long waiting list, as the restaurant was packed to the brim.
As I surveyed the scene, I saw customers of all ages, including a young child who seemed to be enthralled by hibachi gymnastics.
Customers eagerly awaited the attentions of the kimono-clad hostess. There were so many people in fact, that it was difficult to gage whether the hibachi, sushi, or kitchen-prepared food was the most popular. Either way, it was abundantly clear that Shogun had found its niche as Macon’s premiere Japanese restaurant!
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Price Range: Hibachi entrées range from $9.95 to $27.95 per person;sushi & sashimi range from $3-$100, with quantities varying; kitchen entrées range from $9.95 to $27.95.
- Reservations: Suggested for large parties
- Alcohol: A full bar, sake, and a large selection of domestic and imported wines and beers.
- Child Provisions: Booster Seats, high chairs, and a kid’s menu for children under 10 years of age. Children may choose Teriyaki chicken for $5.95 or Hibachi shrimp or steak for $6.95.
- Smoking: Smoking sections available.
- Seating: Choose between 9 Hibachi tables, the sushi bar, or the main dining rooms.
- Extras: Off-site and on-site catering and a special private party room seating 25.
- Hours: Lunch Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. | Dinner Sun.-Thur., 4:30–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 4:30–10:30 p.m.
Shogun Japanese Bar & Grill
900 Burrus Rd., Macon, Georgia 31204