Japanese steakhouses like Izumi Steakhouse in Meridian, serving Japanese teppanyaki style meals, are literally dinner and a show. Izumi Steakhouse is a great place to go with a group since it’s a fun, interactive restaurants. Guests walk in to the restaurant and can choose the large sushi bar to the right or the teppanyaki room to the left. As showy as most sushi bars are, the real action is in the teppanyaki room.
Virtually everyone has been to a teppanyaki restaurant these days, and Izumi does not disappoint. Everyone sits around a teppan grill, with about 10 seats for each grill. It’s perfect for large parties, but if you’re only a couple, it can be nice to sit there too, often with another small group. There is a nice list of appetizers. There are a few pages of sushi rolls, expertly made at Izumi’s sushi bar. One of the outstanding sushi items is the Firecracker Roll, with spicy tuna and yellowtail, salmon, a Chef’s Special Sauce, mango, avocado and jalapeño. The Lollipop Roll is also very nice, with white tuna, yellowtail, crabmeat, flying fish roe and avocado all wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber and then served with a yuzu chili sauce.
Izumi has a very nice selection of beer and sake to start the evening off. The cocktail list is quite nice too, with many drinks available including tropical and sake based cocktails. Vodka, rum and whisky drinks are plentiful and very nicely done. A Pineapple Passion, a new drink at Izumi, was extremely flavorful and refreshing, while the Gentleman was Izumi’s take on a Manhattan, recalling Japan’s fascination and popularity with whisky drinks.
It’s hard to sit still at Izumi Steakhouse. Your eyes and ears constantly draw to to an explosion of flames at another table, cheers for the many fancy moves by the teppan chefs, laughs as the chefs shoot a stream of sake into the mouths of delighted adult diners and water into their children’s mouths. Of course, it’s hard not to look when the drum and gong group comes into the teppanyaki room to sing happy birthday to someone. The beating and clanging start at the entrance to the room and it’s hard not to smile when the gong is hit.
After appetizers, a clear Japanese soup and a green salad with a ginger dressing, the teppan chef comes to the table to create the dinner. Rice is put on the grill and the show starts, with the tossing of eggs and spatula tricks never failing to elicit smiles from the diners. Some times there is even the tossing of a shrimp or a vegetable piece to a delighted diner, who may or may not catch the tasty moresel in their mouth.
The first course, fried rice, is completed and moved to the side to stay warm while the show goes on with the teppanyaki vegetables. This, of course, contains the most popular of the chef’s tricks—the onion volcano. The flames shooting up always trigger oohs and aahs from the guests. Following this, the rice is served while the vegetables sizzle away. In the meantime, shrimp are put on the grill. The vegetables are served, the tender fresh vegetables lightly seasoned and tasty. A few shrimp are served to each guest as an appetizer and the main course is prepared.
Izumi has a nice selection of proteins for the teppanyaki meal. Chicken, steak and filet mignon are meat options, with the beef grilled to order. Shrimp, scallops and calamari are seafood options while swordfish and salmon round out the menu. Twin lobster tails are also on the menu for those who enjoy the king of shellfish. All the items are also available in various combinations such as Chicken and Scallop, Filet Mignon and Lobster, Shrimp and Scallop and many more choices. Vegetables on the grill are an option for vegetarians.
The cooked proteins were very nice, with the scallops cooked perfectly, seared and glazed and served nice and hot. The filet mignon was a nice cut of beef, served to a nice medium rare for some at the table and medium well for others. The meat was cut into chunks so it seared quickly. The chef cooks all the proteins at the table, serves them and the meal is over. Two nice dipping sauces are given to each diner to dip the tasty morsels into for added flavor.
Izumi also has a kid’s menu with many of the teppanyaki choices on it for those 12 and under. For those who do not wish to partake in the teppanyaki experience, there are tempura and teriyaki entrees available.
Izumi Steakhouse is a great place to go with friends for a special occasion, but it is also fine when you want a change form the same old type of food. Pricing is reasonable and service attentive. The only nitpicking is with their use of the word Hibachi to describe the teppanyaki dinner. Hibachi is actually a small BBQ type grill that uses wood and charcoal. Food cooked that way is yakitori style, skewered and grilled over the open flame. A small detail, perhaps, but a confusing one. Overall, Izumi Steakhouse is a nice change when you want a delicious, fun night out.
3560 N Eagle Rd, Meridian
Phone: (208) 898-2552
Photo Gallery Follows. All Photos by Ed Simon for The Boise Beat.