I did not like hibachi until I went to Hana Tokyo. Yes, cool story, bro, but listen to me and listen carefully. This tiny, strip-mall, waterside restaurant in the middle of Fairfield contains some of the most delicious hibachi and most entertaining shrimp tosses in Connecticut. Also, sushi boats forever. Thanks to the awesome gang at MaxExposure, The Bedfellow and I had a sushi bacchanal and I tried to enjoy seltzer water while everyone did sake bombs. Boooo, personal training is a luxury that I subject myself to!
We started our evening at the bar, arriving a distinctly unfashionable hour early because sushi is that awesome. The Bedfellow tried a Mai Tai and, contrary to the six documented cocktails I typically own during these dinners, I had a water. With lemon. Hana Tokyo pours a fine water, but they pour an even better Mai Tai. It’s served in your choice of a Buddha or a geisha figurine. The Bedfellow noted that it was not light on the booze but packed a decently fruity punch as well. A well-balanced Buddha indeed.The rest of the party arrived and we got down to eating sushi. We started with an excellent rainbow roll, prepared freshly with more fish than most contain. Thick slices of salmon, tuna, whitefish, and more, in an expertly packed roll.Edamame also made an appearance, crisp and delightfully difficult to eat after a Mai Tai, as attested to by the Bedfellow. Followers on instagram (hint, hint) know that a sushi boat was immediately pillaged by the group, myself included, and that it included fatty tuna. Fatty tuna! And uni! Hot damn! And that was just the appetizer. While we noshed on fish, I showed the Bedfellow how to pop her first ramune. And no, it didn’t hurt. If you haven’t had ramune, it’s more fun than seltzer and less of a choking hazard than most toys on the market. There’s a marble inside! We mixed it with sake, because…well, sake. After another wonderful drink, this time a Pink Lady with vodka, strawberry liqueur, lime juice, and triple sec, we headed to the hibachi table for a protein extravaganza and I told my trainer that I was eating steak, lobster, chicken, shrimp, and salmon, all of which was entirely true. Just look at that gorgeous steak! And that pile of chicken. Hang on, I’m salivating. It was served with vegetables and noodles, both of which I declined but the Bedfellow proclaimed delicious, and two insanely good miso-based sauces with a creamy texture and sriracha and ginger spice. The hibachi chef was attentive despite the massive crowd of children running underfoot from another party, cooked all our steaks to order and flipped shrimp bites into our mouths. Some of our mouths. Some of us who did not drop the shrimp from their mouths. We’re not all perfect. It felt like we couldn’t take another bite until we were given fried green tea ice cream, and then suddenly life got a lot easier. Sprinkles have that effect on me, I don’t know about you. They’re like little rainbow benzos, but tastier and with no side effects. Studded throughout the ice cream were azuki beans, even more unusual, some of which were creamy and warm on the outside, some frozen and chewy more toward the center of the ice cream. The batter was light and fluffy and crispy even when surrounded by a puddle of melting ice cream.Hana Tokyo exceeded all expectations- the Bedfellow still refers to it as her ‘dream hibachi’ and has repeatedly asked me to stuff her Christmas stocking with grilled ribeye and miso sauce. I’m trying to make it happen, but for now, it’s awesome to know that a place like Hana is only a drive down the Merritt away from hibachi and sushi bliss.
Thanks to Hana and MaxExposure to hosting us for this awesome dinner! Dinner was comped by the restaurant as part of our group dinners, we provided the tip.