I wanted to love these. I really did.
I love Benihana without a shred of irony or sarcasm. I love Benihana with the enthusiasm of a Disney adult.
From the progressive ritual of the salty, onion broth soup with the thinnest slivers of mushrooms imaginable to the crisp iceberg lettuce salad with carrot-ginger dressing to the sautéed zucchini planks, flaming onion volcano, and great pouring of the dipping sauces.
The Yum Yum sauce is aptly named because it’s, well, yummy. I’m not sure what kind of magical mayo concoction it is, but even the most chain-adverse food snob will want to pour it on everything.
By far my favorite part of the Benihana dining experience is reaching the little bowl that the chef packs with chicken fried rice. It’s the best chicken fried rice, I shit you not, and you can only get it here.
We order chicken fried rice at every opportunity, and the most Benihana-like version we’ve found so far is from Zen Asia in White Bear Lake.
If you were to order a Benihana entree to-go, it would be a sad little sight. A smattering of chopped up vegetables and meat pieces floating in a take-out container. For full price, dining-in is the way to go, although I’d consider ordering the fried rice to-go.
When I saw these frozen Benihana entrees on a BOGO sale at my local grocery store, I had to try them. A taste of Benihana, in my own home, fresh from the microwave for a fraction of the price?
Sure, I’ll bite.
Pricing: $5.69 at Target, $8.29 at Lunds
Basic Benihana bitches will instantly recognize the name Rocky’s Choice. It’s the chicken and steak entree.
After following the heating instructions, this is what I pulled out of my microwave:
I stirred it up and took a bite.
The rice has the taste and texture of par-cooked rice someone might cook in a corporate cafeteria. The sauce is nondescript and tastes neither like Yum Yum or Ginger Sauce. I found it almost inedibly salty – and this is coming from someone who likes salty food so much that I wear a rose gold Salty necklace. The chicken and beef actually tasted fine. I stopped trying to eat the zucchini after two gritty bites.
This entree looks very sad and I would never buy it again. Mindy St. Claire’s would probably find her freezer stocked full of these in The Medium Place.
I’m not sure what all the things are in this entree and I don’t care.
I took one bite and physically recoiled.
This entree’s sauce also tasted so salty that I immediately tossed it aside and reheated leftover spaghetti for my child instead.
I can not even begin to describe the flavor of the sauce, except that it didn’t taste like any yakisoba I know. Maybe an essence of A1 Steak Sauce, but the kind they might serve in Bizarro world.
Would a good dousing of Yum Yum sauce improve these entrees? Obviously. But why would you do that?
According to some guy on Reddit, Yum Yum sauce is made from mayo, ketchup, butter, cream, sugar, salt, garlic powder, paprika and black pepper.
In summary, I did not enjoy these frozen entrees. I would not recommend buying them even on a BOGO sale. Some things are too good to be true.