Monday, 14 February 2011

Sidenote You can't run away from a bad review

A few days back I posted about Benihana opening up at the Avenues and yesterday night I decided to pass by with Nat and try it out. The service wasn’t too bad for a restaurant that’s just been open for a few days and the staff were really friendly. The restaurant itself is made up of islands and bars with a grill in the middle of each one. You sit around the grill and the chef will come to your table and prepare the food right in front of you which makes things entertaining. It’s actually why I prefer sitting at the bar in Japanese restaurants in general, since you can talk to the chef and watch them put your dish together. The problem with my experience last night though was with the food, it was disappointing to say the least.

We ordered beef negimayaki for starters followed by an Orange Blossom maki and a Hibachi Chicken. The negimaki arrived looking good and was probably the best thing we had there even though I prefer Maki’s negimaki which has a richer teriyaki sauce. The Orange Blossom was very ordinary, wouldn’t order it again. Now the Hibachi chicken which is basically grilled chicken, that was the worst. The chicken was very chewy (I could swear it was undercooked if not raw) and tasted terrible. Even after I had the chef add some more teriyaki sauce in hopes of improving the taste it didn’t work. I tried to dip it into the sauces that came with the chicken but it was hard to figure out if they were actually making things worse or not. Nat only ate one piece of chicken and left the rest while I needed my protein since I’m on a strict diet and forced myself to eat my whole plate (I can do that) but the after taste was really bad. Even the rice and the veggies that came with it tasted bad AND were under cooked. Once we left I considered picking up a frozen yogurt from Pinkberry even though I hate frozen yogurts but I just needed something to get rid of the aftertaste. A few moments later we ended up at Chocolate Bar ordering the gooey chocolate cake (bye bye diet).

I shot the two videos [video one and video two] above of the chef preparing our meal. Benihana are known for the live shows they perform when preparing your dish so I was expecting to see [This] but ended up with the above. Would I go back to Benihana? No I wouldn’t. Their sashimi and maki’s are pretty cheap (KD1.5 for 5 pieces of Salmon sashimi for example) but there are two other Japanese restaurants at the Avenues, Wasabi and Maki, and I would prefer either one of those to Benihana.


This was written by a blogger in Kuwait after visiting Benihana. The result was a $18,000 lawsuit filed by the Kuwaiti franchisee.

A lawsuit for voicing his opinion. Not even an excessively harsh opinion. A lawsuit for writing what he probably told his friends anyway.

As a gesture of solidarity this blog post is being reproduced by bloggers around the world.

Just as importantly - as a reminder to companies, corporations and organisations that blogs never were, nor will we ever allow them to be subject to lawsuits and accusations.

They have always been an area of free speech and should remain so.

Benihana Kuwait tried to silence one voice. Now they are being bombarded with hundreds.

If you are a service provider then you have to be prepared to listen, accommodate for and be attentive to what your customers are saying. Cause you just can't run away from a bad review.

Join us by reproducing this on your blog or follow the hashtag #BenihanaKUW on Twitter and Like the Boycott Benihana Kuwait page on Facebook,

Mark Makhoul's blog.

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