50 Humphreys Center Suite 16
Whenever we start discussing going out to eat, Satchel (age 4) infallibly asks to go to “the Chinese restaurant.” By this he means, the A-Tan hibachi. Don’t get me wrong, I love the A-Tan hibachi, but it is a little expensive. Unlike Nagasaki and Shogun, it doesn’t offer “buy one get one free” coupons. For months, we’ve been wanting to try the Sekisui hibachi at the Humphreys location, but haven’t, mostly due to the cost and the drive. And the way the Jiro (age 2) acted on our last visit.
Last October when Memphis for Less featured Sekisui East, I originally envisioned a monkey-less convergence replete with bottles and bottles of sake, a party (mini)van, and a designated driver. Due to dietary restrictions and scheduling conflicts, this fantasy never quite panned out. Instead, I decided that Warren and I should take the monkeys to the hibachi grill on our anniversary (March 14).
When I told Warren my plans, he said, “Hibachi is more fun with a big group.” In a last ditch effort to rally the troops, I sent out an email on the 13th asking the restricted and conflicted if they would like to join us, monkeys and all. Despite having only a matter of days (okay, weeks) to use their same coupons, only one other family unit, Team Chockley, decided to join us.
About an hour before we were set to go, all hell broke loose. Satchel was starving, Jiro was bouncing off the walls, and Warren was stressed about getting the house ready to sell. I took off my bra, put on my yoga pants and t-shirt, and declared that the anniversary dinner was off. Two minutes later when it became clear that Warren was going to go work on the house and the kids would still be starving and crazy, I made the decision to fly solo and try to enjoy our anniversary with the monkeys and Team Chockley.
I strapped the monkeys in the car and said in my scariest possible voice, “I want you two to be on your very best behavior. Stay in your chairs and eat your food. No running, no playing, and no fighting.” They looked at me wide-eyed and nodded.
Chip was nice enough to leave me a message warning about the nightmare traffic on Walnut Grove. In order to avoid it, I had to go all the way out to Humphreys and cut over. This was no problem as I like to avoid the expressway whenever possible, but by the time we arrived at the restaurant, Satchel was sound asleep.
The temperature had dropped about ten degrees since we left the house (and our jackets). Satchel started whining about how cold he was and I had nothing to offer him except a 2T long-sleeved shirt that was in the stash of (seriously outdated) extra clothes under the passenger’s seat. I summoned my scary voice again and told him to suck it up. Then I casually explained the absence of Warren (and my bra) to Team Chockley.
The restaurant was fairly full for 6:30pm on a Wednesday, but thankfully the hibachi bar was nearly empty, save for one other table sporting kids. The hibachi tables were the smaller variety, like at A-Tan, and we managed a fairly decent seating arrangement that seemed to suit all involved. Satchel desperately tried to sit in my lap and sap my body heat, but I refused, promising him some hot miso soup followed by hot meat and hot rice.
When asked what he wanted to eat, Jiro replied, “I want sushi.”
Our waitress came over, and quickly took our drink orders. I got a much needed beer. (That Jiro never once asked for a sip of! How’s that for good behavior?) When she returned, we were all ready to order. I opted for the steak and shrimp combo in the event that I felt like bringing Warren something to eat later, Satchel went for the steak, and Jiro only wanted a crunchy shrimp roll. With the exception of Connor, age 3, Team Chockley was much more adventurous. Chip ordered the scallops and Stephanie ordered the oh so yummy Mimi Roll and the Surf and Turf (at my request). I believe Chloe, age 1, got sweet potato tempura.
The miso soup and salads came out almost immediately and Satchel and Jiro slurped theirs happily. I love taking them out when they are hungry! Team Chockley had hoped that their gusto with the soup might rub off on Connor, but he held fast to his belief that the soup was yucky. He finagled some cheese crackers out of Steph’s purse and happily ate them instead. Satchel asked for one and Connor obliged quite graciously. He munched away happily and said, “I love you, mom.”
“Aw, that’s so sweet,” I said. “Satchel never tells me he loves me.”
Satchel looked at me and shyly smiled. “I love you, mom.”
Soon Satchel asked Connor for a second cracker and I lovingly said, “DO NOT FILL UP ON CRACKERS WHEN I JUST ORDERED YOU A DELICIOUS STEAK HIBACHI MEAL.”
Once he was done with his soup, Jiro was naturally ready for a bathroom run. In addition to their penchant for lively conversation, I was most please by Team Chockley’s willingness to watch Satchel while I escorted Jiro. It made things so much simpler.
By the time we got back, our chef had arrived and was setting up the onion volcano. Satchel was super excited and watched eagerly as he did his schtick. Jiro, still very happily sitting still in his seat, watched too. It was almost too good to be true. I sat and enjoyed my beer and thanked my lucky stars. Our chef didn’t put on as much of a show as the chef at A-Tan, but it was okay. He did enough to entertain the kids while Team Chockley and I engaged in some adult conversation.
Soon we all had bowls of rice (white and shrimp fried), vegetables, meat, and seafood to devour. Jiro ate almost a whole bowl of rice before his sushi arrived, but it didn’t stop him from eating all six pieces. I had a little sushi in addition to my hibachi meal and was in heaven. Satchel ate half a bowl of white rice, half a bowl of fried rice, most of his vegetables, and every single piece of his steak.
Chip offered me one of his scallops, which was actually quite delicious. I normally do not like the texture of scallops, but grilled on the hibachi they were firm and crispy and just plain yummy. I decided to be more adventurous on my next visit.
When I was done eating, Jiro and I went on our second bathroom run. We came back to find Satchel still eating. Despite his huge appetite, between the two of us, we had plenty leftover for Warren. I was finally able to get him to stop eating and pack up the leftovers with promises of a trip to the ice cream store.
The waitress brought our checks and happily accepted our coupons. In the time it took her to sort everything out, the monkeys got a little restless. Steph took them to look at the fish tanks for a bit and by the time we were out the front door, the monkeys were frantically running up and down the sidewalk and into the parking lot.
Team Chockley and I were jolted out of the parental haze afforded us in the magic hibachi room, and set about gathering up our offspring as quickly as possible.