Hibachi Boy didn’t quite make its goal for a March opening, but it did open quietly this past week at 530 E. Mason St. in the former home of Fajita Grill. And the restaurant is actively serving up both lunch and dinner offerings, including Japanese style grilled fare, noodle and rice dishes and sushi.
Modern Asian-inspired decor augments clean, comfortable seating in the new space, which has been refreshed noticeably to include a warm, welcoming bar and table seating for around 50 guests.
Beverage service includes non-alcoholic options – including Japanese green tea, Thai tea, and soft drinks – along with a small wine list, bottled sake and beer options including a few Japanese options along with mostly domestic brews. A lengthier cocktail menu includes options like the "sakura" with gin, melon and grapefruit ($7); Mt. Fuji featuring peach brandy, rum and orange ($8); a kamikaze with sake, gin, vodka, rum and citrus liqueur with a splash of cola ($9); and six specialty martinis for $9 each.
On the appetizer side of things, Hibachi boy offers fresh, simple options like edamame ($3) along with crispy spring rolls (two for $1.50), pot stickers (four for $3), shrimp and vegetable tempura ($7.95) and calamari ($8.95).
We opted with the "Big Boy Platter" ($6.95) which includes three crab rangoon, three spring rolls and three pot stickers. Although they were out of spring rolls on our visit, our server was more than willing to swap out the missing rolls for tempura shrimp.
The remainder of the sushi menu features a variety of rolls, including traditional ($5.50-$6.50) and specialty rolls ($8.50-12.50), battered and fried rolls ($6.95-8.95) sushi and sashimi (two pieces for $3.50-4.25) and sides including miso soup, steamed rice and hibachi mixed vegetables.
Their dragon roll ($9.50) is a California roll topped with BBQ eel, avocado and eel sauce.
Among rice and noodle dishes, you’ll find fried rice ($5.95-12.95), pad Thai ($7.95-12.95), yakisoba ($7.95-12.95). Teriyaki bowls are served with noodles or your choice of rice, along with teriyaki sauce and chicken, beef, shrimp or salmon ($7.95-10.95). You’ll also find traditional drunken noodles, which are served generously topped with vegetables and your choice of protein (in this case, a combination of chicken, beef and shrimp for $12.95).
The noodles, which are purchased fresh and cooked to order, were pleasantly toothy, and both the vegetables and meats were well cooked and seasoned. The dish was also notably spicy – a fact we were pleased about, since traditional drunken noodles are notoriously heavy on the chiles.
In fact, when we asked about the "spiciness scale" listed at the bottom of our menu, our server noted that spice levels were based on a more traditional Asian palate, so the extreme hot is "very very very hot." We ordered our drunken noodles "hot" (which is middle of the road) and they came out packing a fairly high level of heat that was too much for the more moderate spice lovers at the table.
When it comes to hibachi, you won't get a table-side show at Hibachi Boy, but you will get heaping portions of fresh meats and vegetables, served up in flavorful sauces with plentiful sides.
Among hibachi offerings, you’ll find a long list of options, including vegetables, vegetables and tofu, five chicken variations, three beef, four steak and six seafood, including shrimp, salmon, scallops and lobster tail ($9.95-25.95).
We opted for the spicy basil New York Strip steak, which was served up medium rare (as ordered) with a slightly spicy sauce (we toned down our option on this one); plenty of mushrooms; a generous serving of hibachi-grilled vegetables; a heaping bowl of fried rice with peas, carrots, onions, egg and green onions; and miso soup ($14.95). Accompanying dipping sauces included ginger, mustard and yum yum sauces.
Pay a visit to Hibachi Boy for lunch or dinner. Their hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to close.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.