Kampai, Lawrenceville, Snellville, Gwinnett
We were running slightly behind schedule but well ahead of the crowd when we arrived for our Valentine’s Day dinner at Kampai. Melanie had made 6pm reservations but when I had a meeting go a little over there was no problem when I called to let them know we would be arriving closer to 6:15.
Kampai offer a dining room in addition to the Hibachi grill but we chose Hibachi for tonight. We were seated right away and soon other diners joined us and we had beverages and they began serving the soup.
Fresh from our review of Nagoya in Loganville, I wasn’t expecting much but I was delighted when what appeared to be a very watered down soup was found to be full of a nice chicken broth flavor. The salad, which was equally lackluster at Nagoya, was really quite good at Kampai.
As we looked around our table, it was just couples. Our cook was not oblivious to this and even made a little heart while cooking the fried rice. Yes, looking back, it’s kind of cheesy but at the time… it went over well.
The entertainment value was comparatively low but the food was very, very good and I think we all had a good time up to a certain post. (more on that later.)
A real Hibachi cook is a prize and ours was wonderful!
Vegetables at the top of the picture, (clockwise) shrimp, chicken, lobster, scallops.
The food was excellent and by the end of the meal everyone was quite full and, by the looks of those waiting, we were certainly glad we had gotten an early start. This where everything went south. The table next to us had been waiting for sometime – they had gotten stalled just after their soup was served. We were merely waiting on checks but it seemed we waited for 15-20 minutes before someone returned who apologized and said they would be “right back” with our checks. 10 minutes later they came “right back”.
I am sure this was a glitch caused by an overwhelmed crew who was under-staffed. It seemed there were only two hibachi cooks working when they needed at least one or two more to handle what seemed to be a very profitable night.
I am not going to hold this against Kampai and I urge you to follow my lead because I really feel that what we experienced was the exception rather than the rule.
Overall, we thought Kampai was very, very good and would recommend it on the very short list of worthy restaurants in this area. Guten appetit!
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