Dinner takes us to Teppan Edo, the hibachi-grill-arm of the Japan Pavilion. Yes the diagram says “Tokto Dining,” but the website does not have the resources to print another thousand copies with the correct spelling. You get what you pay for.
The restaurant is located up the stairs. A check-in podium is located outside on the ground level. Earlier in the day, you can pop over and inquire about reservations like it’s 1999.
The waiting area is shared with Tokyo Dining, which is the more modern looking restaurant that focuses on sushi and tempura. The website has a full review that begins about a quarter of the way down this post. Unlike Tokyo Dining, Teppan Edo does not accept the Tables in Wonderland discount and does not offer lunch specials at a reduced price. Teppan Edo does currently offer 10% off lunch to Annual Passholders from Monday – Friday with additional exclusions like no discount on Christmas Day. You may want to take that into consideration if you’re looking for a discount.
The restaurant consists of a single hallway with multiple rooms to the right, each with four hibachi grill stations.
Each station sits eight people and your party will most likely be seated with others if it doesn’t fill a full grill.
Fortunately for the anti-social among us, nobody sits face to face in close proximity, so things can be a bit less awkward than Biergarten. Of course, Biergarten also serves beer by the liter and things tend to be a little friendlier there. Your tablemates are a big YMMV. Personally, I really enjoy harassing/”getting to know” people, so it’s not a big deal. The unfortunate couple seated next to us were big Miami football fans and were just coming off a big loss to Florida State. My gf is a big Florida State fan, and I am thus, also a big Florida State fan. They were looking forward to a rematch in the ACC Championship, laughing heartily about the lack of competition from the likes of Duke and Georgia Tech. I am not a football expert, but I don’t think that worked out for them.
Teppan Edo is on the expensive side, but this is also about as much as you can expect to pay for an entree at most Epcot restaurants, so it’s sort of a wash. Popular sentiment here is that most cities have a hibachi grill restaurant and eating at Edo is expensive and redundant. That may be true, but that doesn’t seem to affect people headed to Tutto Italia for a $27 plate of lasagna, San Angel for $32 enchiladas, Nine Dragons for $22 Orange Chicken, etc. These same cities would certainly have Chinese restaurants, Italian restaurants, etc. Although you could certainly argue that eating those enchiladas under perpetual twilight at the base of a pyramid, while Gran Fiesta boats gently meander by, is more novel than Teppan Edo’s sleek/sterile environment. To compare prices to the Orlando Benihana, their Filet Mignon is $25 ($32 here), Steak and Chicken is $26.25 ($29.95), and Children’s Meals are about $10 ($13). So we are not necessarily talking about an astronomical upcharge.
The rest of the menu:
I have never met anybody that enjoyed the Frozen Beer and $8.50 for a bottle of Sapporo is literally insane.
My preference is the shochu cocktails, which are a little different than your typical mixed vodka drink. From my experience, nothing here is particularly strong.
Chris/DoctorK from the forums/Twitter was nice enough to invite me out to dinner. He ordered the Mandarin Orange Martini – Mandarin Orange Vodka, Orange Juice, Sour Mix – $9. Tasty, but pretty weak.
I ordered the Chu Hi – A common Japanese way to enjoy. Shochu, Soda, choice of fresh squeezed orange or lemon juice – $8. Orange juice was my selection and it tasted mostly like orange juice. Refreshing and light or weak and a waste of money – it’s your call.
A (usually if not always) female server will take your drink, appetizer, entree, etc. order at the start of the meal. She’ll return throughout to refill beverages and make sure you’re taken care of.
Everyone’s entrees are cooked table-side at the grill by a usually older, male chef.
There are some fun elements here, including the onion volcano.
And the shrimp toss.
You can run into the occasional serious, “grumpy,” all-business chef, but the majority are charming and happy to answer whatever questions you might have about the food, Japan, or the meaning of life.
A flavorful, tender sukiyaki beef rice is served first. Vegetarians (or anyone else) should be able to switch out white rice.
Chow mein, consisting of udon noodles, zucchini, and onions follows next.
Then comes the meat, cooked to your specifications. It can take a few extra minutes for your meat to arrive after your noodles are plated. The smart money is on eating some of the noodles and rice prior to the meat or you risk half your meal being cold by the time you take your first bite. Think of the chow mein and rice as “free appetizers.”
I ordered the Asakua – Steak and Shrimp – $30.95. The steak here is perhaps under-seasoned by itself, but all entrees are served with three sauces – ginger, mustard, and “yum yum.” Dipping the steak and other meat into the sauce (yum yum in particular) provides that extra zip of flavor.
Chris ordered the Kajiki Maguro – Swordfish Steak – $27.95.
Tilted for your pleasure. This is potentially a little different than your standard steak/shrimp/chicken found at your local Benihana. It was tender, lean, and flavorful without being particularly fishy.
I asked our Miami friend to snap a pic of his Nihonboshi – Steak and Chicken Breast – $29.95.
He also ordered the Nigori Genshu – Nigori or “cloudy sake,” very sweet and flavorable [sic], hints of cream and vanilla – $11.
Service was friendly and efficient. It is occasionally difficult to understand what they’re saying, but it’s part of the charm of eating at an authentically Japanese restaurant in the middle of one of the most visited theme parks in the world that happens to be situated in the United States. I think it helps that the servers are concerned with your beverages and other needs while the chef takes care of the food.
Teppan Edo costs about the same as dinner at any other Epcot restaurant. While there are Japanese steakhouse/hibachi restaurants strewn throughout the United States and elsewhere, Teppan Edo is unique in its atmosphere, menu, and presentation, much like the other restaurants around World Showcase. The menu is also more accessible than you might expect to the steak and potato crowd. With one sit-down meal in Epcot, it isn’t necessarily the restaurant I would pick first, but it remains high on my list and I think most people will thoroughly enjoy it.
Thanks again to Chris for inviting me out. Next time we’ll do V&A’s.