The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday September 23rd

Review: Hibachi and Company is an affordable and filling option for students

<p>A plate of rice, steak and grilled vegetables from Hibachi &amp; Company is $6.51 between 11am an 3pm on weekdays.</p>
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A plate of rice, steak and grilled vegetables from Hibachi & Company is $6.51 between 11am an 3pm on weekdays.

Hibachi & Company opened on Franklin Street on Feb. 26, offering Japanese-style cuisine. Staff writer Cole Kordus spent an afternoon taste-testing the new restaurant's menu.  

Atmosphere: 

Brightly lit, warm and filled with the smells of cooking food, Hibachi & Company is immediately welcoming. Wire-framed lightbulbs, mirrors and faux-wood floors give the place a nice style, which is complemented by a large screen-picture of Japanese cherry blossoms. Most of the furniture and decor is made up of browns, blacks and other earthy colors — but with a spot of Carolina Pride hanging on the back walls. 

The chatter inside is a pleasant background — although a bit loud at times — and the food line snakes around tables as people wait for their orders. The interior is quite packed but it doesn’t really feel cramped. Somewhat amusingly, when I entered the restaurant, they were playing country music, so I decided to pop in my headphones. But all in all, Hibachi & Company is welcoming and warm. 

Taste: 

I ordered the rib-eye steak for about $8.50, but there are cheaper options on the menu. After a 10-minute wait, I got a platter filled with fried white rice, steak, corn, mushrooms, carrots, chopped onion and other veggies. The rice is honestly some of the best I’ve had on Franklin Street, and the steak was cooked well. The plate had a very nice mixture of savory and sweet going on, and I quickly inhaled the steak and rice. 

While the carrots weren’t my pace (too sweet), the rest of the veggies in the meal were perfectly fine and cooked well. If you’re looking for spicy, Hibachi & Company might lose out to Ms. Mong’s, but Hibachi gives a decent amount of good-tasting food. As a carnivore, my only critique is that there wasn’t enough meat — but for about $1.50 more, that problem can be solved. 

Variety of Menu: 

Which brings us to the overall variety offered by the restaurant. While obviously not as customizable as the ‘build-it-your-way’ places on Franklin Street, the restaurant still has a decent offering of foods. They have several different sauces available, and all entrees are served with an assortment of foods. You can choose if you want fried rice or noodles, there's a choice of chicken, shrimp, steak, grilled salmon, filet mignon or extra saucy chicken (and double or mix and match the meats for a little extra).

Or you can just go for the vegetables if consuming animals isn’t your style! You can get plates that are vegetarian, gluten-free or focus on low-carb counts. They offer numerous sides, ranging from more fried rice to a nice house salad, and every day of the week they have lunch specials for a deal. 

Cost: 

Hibachi & Company isn’t too expensive. The cheapest meal on the menu is $5.99 (vegetables and tofu), while the most expensive meal is $15.50 (steak, chicken and shrimp). Lunch specials are always an inexpensive $6.51 and come with a free drink — but are only available from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and change every day. 

Conclusion: 

All in all, I would say that Hibachi & Company is a decent place to stop by if you are in the mood for some quality fried rice and fast Japanese food. For the price, you get a decent meal with a good variety of food. While not as spicy or customizable as other places, the flavors that Hibachi & Company offers aren’t bad by any means. The less meat you want, the cheaper the food is — but I’ll happily shell out the extra couple bucks for some delicious steak, chicken, shrimp and rice combos. 

@ColeKordus

city@dailytarheel.com

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