New restaurant combines buffet and hibachi grill

4:13 pm | February 22, 2013

I enjoyed a family meal with my parents and a friend on a recent evening that saw us make our first visit to a newly opened restaurant in Johnson City.

We had heard some good reports about Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet, which opened recently in the building that formerly housed Ryan’s.

The entrance foyer into the restaurant offers a tranquil water feature complete with faux palm trees and other vegetation. A host greeted us and arranged for a server to escort us to a table.

Seating at Hibachi is available at both tables and booths arranged around a large, central location that houses the restaurant’s eight large hot and cold food bars, as well as a sushi station, the hibachi grill and an ice cream bar. Recessed lighting around the bar shines with a rainbow of colors reflected in the distinctive crystal chandeliers over the bars. The rest of the interior design is completed with painted murals on glass panels, as well as jade sculptures and other decorative items on shelves behind the cashier’s station at the front of the eatery.

After our server took our drink orders, my dining party’s members made their way to the various bars. My friend and I decided to pay our first stop to the hibachi grill station. We loaded a couple of plates with raw ingredients, including cabbage, carrots, noodles, onions, mushrooms and snow peas. I paired my vegetables with an ample amount of shrimp. My friend did the same, but added some thinly sliced frozen raw chicken to his plate.

Diners present their plate to the hibachi grill cook, who arranges the selected ingredients on the grill and asks about sauce preferences. These options include Teriyaki, Hibachi, Garlic and Spicy. I asked for a spicy sauce while my friend chose the Teriyaki. The hibachi grill is also a fun option since you can watch as the cook prepares the food in front of you. The ingredients cooked quickly, and he expertly transferred them from the grill to a clean plate.

Back at the table, we joined my parents, who had managed to visit the food bars and return with such morsels as miniature deviled crabs, chicken kebabs, spring rolls and chicken with garlic sauce.

I liked the fresh-tasting ingredients, which were made quite zesty by the spicy sauce tossed with them on the hibachi grill. My friend also liked the sweet taste of his teriyaki-flavored hibachi stir-fry.

After finishing off this plate of food, my friend and I made a trip to the buffet. Again, I focused mostly on seafood selections, adding such tempting items as Deviled Scallops, Grilled Salmon, Black Pepper Shrimp and Coconut Shrimp to my plate on this occasion. I also added a modest helping of Sauteed String Beans.

My dining companion tried some Coconut Chicken, Stuffed Shrimp and General Tso Chicken.

The buffet also offers a selection of soups, including Won Ton, Egg Drop and Hot and Sour. My father sampled a bowl of the Hot and Sour Soup, which met with his approval.

In addition to the staple of many a Chinese buffet, the restaurant also offers a selection of sushi items.

The cuisine is not limited to Chinese fare. During our visit, the bar also offered a well-seasoned and succulent Roast Pork Tenderloin, as well as Prime Rib, Pizza and Fried Chicken Wings.

There’s also a well-stocked cold bar offering all the ingredients necessary for a refreshing, green salad, complete with assorted dressings and toppings.

Once the main meal’s over, diners can also select from an assortment of desserts and sweets, including hard-packed ice cream, various gelatins and puddings, as well as Fried Donuts, Cupcakes and other pastries. The dessert bar also offered a selection of fresh fruit, including pineapple, melons and oranges. The server also delivered, with the bill, the traditional fortune cookies.

Throughout the meal and with the bars being raided continually by hungry diners, the staff did an excellent job of replenishing items. In fact, I never noticed any empty food trays on any of the food bars.

Overall, I was more impressed with the hibachi grill than the various buffet bars. I even made a second trip back for another serving of grilled fresh vegetables and shrimp in a zesty sauce.

It’s so easy at a buffet to overindulge. Quantity, in the final analysis, is not always the best thing. By being selective, a diner can enjoy a satisfactory and tasty meal at Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet. There’s definitely plenty of food, and probably something to suit almost every taste. Just don’t go too wild. Save something for future visits.

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AT A GLANCE: Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet, 205 E. Mountcastle Drive, Johnson City. 283-8888. Open daily from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Lunch is $6.59 Monday-Friday and $7.25 on Saturday. Dinner is $9.29. Credit cards accepted. Carryout available. Catering available.

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