Hokkaido Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar in Madison demonstrates an understanding of a key component of dining: You feast with your eyes first. The Japanese restaurant chain Benihana introduced hibachi-grill cooking into the mainstream in the early 1960s. The cooking style combines exotic Japanese dishes with a dazzling performance by the chefs.
Madison’s Japanese restaurant has taken the best of its native customs and combined them with fresh ingredients and seafood to create a true dining experience. Hokkaido employs chefs who have worked in Japanese restaurants for years and know a thing or two about sushi, hibachi-grill cooking, and how to entertain guests.
The dining room at Hokkaido is nicely appointed with Japanese decor that includes black lacquer tables and cozy leather booths. A large, open sushi bar covers the back of the room, offering close-up views of the chefs as they custom-make a variety of rolls and specialty dishes.
The adjacent room is more of a dinner theater, with several cooking stations surrounded by seating areas that allow diners to watch their dinner being cooked and served by talented hibachi cooks.
Hokkaido is open for both lunch and dinner and has attracted a loyal following for both meals since it’s opening almost 10 years ago.
Both Asian and American items are available on Hokkaido's lengthy menu.
On the menu are a full list of Hokkaido’s lunch entrees, all of which can be eaten in or are available to go for busy professionals. “Lunch box specials” include tofu, chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon , or salmon teriyaki ($9.95-$11.95), chicken or shrimp vegetable tempura ($9.95-$11.95), chicken katsu ($9.95), and sashimi ($11.95) Each comes with soup, salad, vegetable, California roll, and fried rice.
Other lunch specials include a variety of rolls like spicy tuna, salmon, shrimp tempura, and dynamite, to name a few. Rolls are priced from $4.50 - $12.50, depending on ingredients.
Hibachi lunch entrees consisting of vegetables, chicken, steak, fish, shrimp, scallops, or a combo meal come with fried rice, vegetable, and soup or salad. Prices start at $9.95 and go up to $16.95.
And, sushi is also “in the house” to satisfy lunchtime cravings. Also served with miso soup and salad, diners can choose from a sushi, salmon, Maguro, Chiashi, or white tuna platter for $11.75-$12.75).
At dinner, entrees come with soup, salad, and steamed or fried rice. Prices start at $11.95 for the sesame chicken dinner and range as high as $19.95 for a grilled steak with truffle sauce, mushrooms, and asparagus.
Another of the house favorites, teriyaki dinner, comes with chicken, shrimp, salmon, or beef and is in the $15-$17 range.
The restaurant also offers an impressive variety of sushi, regular and specialty rolls, cold and hot appetizers, soups and noodles, salads, and sides.
One of Hokkaido’s specialties is its combination sushi and sashimi plates. The combo plate ($23.95) is a 15-piece wonderland of six sushi pieces, eight sashimi, and a California roll.
Another favorite is the Las Vegas Roll ($12.95). It’s a meal unto itself due to a filling of shrimp tempura and cream cheese topped with crunchy, jalapeño and special sauce.
Other rolls named in honor of famous places and filled with the ingredients indigenous to their locale include the California, Alaska, Boston, Philly, Hawaiian, and fittingly enough, the Madison, a tasty concoction made of shrimp tempura, crabmeat, cucumber, and snow crab with a sesame seed wrap.
Rolls start at $4.50 for the California and go up to $12-$14 for the specialty rolls, including its namesake Hokkaido Roll. Filled with chopped blue fin toro caviar, tempura flakes, scallion, and asparagus and topped with tuna served with truffle soy sauce, it’s a meal fit for the popular restaurant.
Hokkaido’s entertaining Hibachi dinners prepared by each diner’s personal chef come with soup, salad, vegetable, and steamed rice. Dinners start at $11.85 for a vegetable entrée; $20.95 for steak, shrimp, or fish; $24.95 for filet mignon; and $30.95 for steak, chicken, and shrimp.
Hokkaido is located at 1029 Highway 51 N., Suites D & E. The restaurant is open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for lunch and until 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Dinner is served Sunday -Thursday from 4:30-10 p.m. and until 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. To make arrangements for special parties in the Hibachi dining room, call 601-856-1777.