Who doesn’t love a classic Japanese steakhouse hibachi dinner experience? First you are fed hot soup and fresh salad as you get comfortable, and before you know it, an animated Japanese chef is expertly preparing your food right before your very eyes. The grill is set ablaze with fire and oil as an explosion of heat wafts towards you. Soon enough, fried rice, mixed vegetables and a protein of your choosing is grilled to perfection and portioned right onto your plate. Of course, there are a few knife tricks and onion volcanoes in between, but at the heart of hibachi is good food. And Kashi Hibachi, Bangor’s newest hibachi joint, does not disappoint.

Located on 469 Stillwater Avenue (neighboring Buffalo Wild Wings) the new restaurant opened this past August, and it’s receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews. It’s main competitor, Kobe Ninja House Japanese Grill, is just a few blocks away, and has the advantage of having a better location. There are many similarities between the two, from their menus to their sauces (fans of the infamous “yum-yum” sauce will be happy to hear that both establishments boast yummy versions of it).

Kashi tends to be a bit pricier than Kobe, but for a good reason. Their service is fast and friendly, and the ambiance of the restaurant is much calmer and more sophisticated than Kobe. Both places offer extensive drink menus however, and will serve saké in copious amounts to anyone over 21. So for college students looking to get tipsy at dinner with a bunch of friends, you can’t go wrong with either establishment.

Kashi boasts an extensive sushi menu, with special rolls of fancy names like Lollipop, Cowboy, Air Force 1, Paradise, Pine Tree and All Star. You can also get staple sushi rolls like California, Yellowtail and Tuna Avocado. Prices for classic rolls range from $4 to $10, while specialty rolls can get up to $15.

But hibachi is really where Kashi shines, and the menu reflects that. Each meal is served with clear soup, salad with ginger dressing, hibachi fried rice, mixed vegetables and two pieces of hibachi shrimp. Choices of proteins include chicken, calamari, salmon, steak, swordfish, shrimp, filet mignon, scallop and twin lobster tail. Either individually or in combination, each protein is grilled to perfection and served in hefty portions. There is also a kid’s hibachi meal for those under 12, and such meals come with smaller portions.

Any order of Hibachi is a substantial meal in itself, but for large parties appetizers are a good option, and Kashi offers an array of Japanese fusion options. The shrimp shumai and Gyoza (Japanese pan fried pork dumplings) are delightfully tasty and reasonably priced, displayed artfully on beautiful platters. They also offer staples like Crab Rangoon and vegetable spring rolls, and for the more adventurous there are choices like Blue Crab Fajitas and Duck Wraps.  

Dining at Kashi will not disappoint, but beware; a meal for two can quickly climb to $80 or more. For college students Kashi offers a dining experience sure to impress on a first date (if you’re willing to pay a pretty penny), but your best bet might be to suggest Kashi next time your parents are in town and looking to treat you to a hearty meal.