Look, few people engender quite so much food goodwill in OKC as Chef Kurt Fleischfresser, so when he’s attached to a restaurant of any kind, you know it’s something special. 

click to enlarge Filet and savory shrimp with vegetables at Musashi's. (Shannon Cornman)
  • Shannon Cornman
  • Filet and savory shrimp with vegetables at Musashi's.

Here’s the dirty secret about food-cooked-at-your-table teppanyaki places, from Benihana down the line: They’re all pretty much the same.

The chefs do the same tricks and tell the same jokes. Butter? Fly. Steaming onion volcano. Maybe flip a shrimp here or there. Big burst of flames. Then you eat.

If you want steak and chicken cooked on a griddle in front of you with some mixed veggies and fried rice, just about any of them will do.

And then there’s Musashi’s, 4315 N. Western Ave. Look, few people engender quite so much food goodwill in OKC as Chef Kurt Fleischfresser, so when he’s attached to a restaurant of any kind, you know it’s something special.

So, yes, there are lots of teppanyaki restaurants around, but few that I would trust to do anything else. And at Musashi’s, I trust they can do everything else.

Before we get to the food, let me say that it’s also a feast for the eyes. This place is clean, well-lit and beautiful. I wish I could say that was par for the course in teppanyaki restaurants, but this is one of the first ways Musashi’s stands out.

Another is with the menu. The robata appetizer menu is full of grilled treats you won’t find anywhere else.

I tried the duck and scallion robata ($9) and was delighted. The duck was tender with a nice little char around the edges, and the scallion was cooked and crunchy. There was a slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce brushed over the skewer that really elevated the flavor.

Smoked 3 way roll at Musashi's. (Shannon Cornman)
  • Shannon Cornman
  • Smoked 3 way roll at Musashi's.

Of course you like sushi. You’re a human being living in 2014. Everybody likes sushi. And, again, this is where Musashi’s goes above and beyond most teppanyaki joints. There, sushi is so good, you might not even get anything off the grill.

I tried the Smoked 3 Way roll ($8) and was quite taken with its unique flavor. In the center: tempura bacon, jalapeño and red pepper. Outside, smoked salmon and eel laid next to each other like a delicious fishy candy cane. This had texture, flavor and heat — truly a formidable roll.

The Philadelphia roll ($5), too, was simple but perfect. The salmon was fresh, the asparagus was crisp and the cream cheese was ... creamy.

(Deal hunters take note: Musashi’s has a Wednesday special from 2 p.m. to close. Buy a sushi roll, get a free robata of equal or lesser value. That’s a nice little meal for cheap.)

That said, we came for a show, and they do the old routine well at Musashi’s. Even for a table of four, our chef didn’t skimp on the acrobatics.

If you get a teppanyaki meal, it comes with a choice of soup or salad. The clear soup was my favorite, with a flavorful broth that is light on the palate. The salad was notable for what it wasn’t.

Teppanyaki places serve iceberg lettuce salads covered in a cloying, noxious orange ginger dressing. It is terrible. Musashi’s serves a greener salad with a ginger dressing that is both edible and pleasant. This, truly, is high praise.

We got the filet ($26) and the savory shrimp ($21.50), and I’m happy to say our chef knew what he was doing. A filet is a tricky steak, but seasoned right and cooked carefully, it is meltingly tender and achingly delicious. With everything else going on in front of him, it would have been easy to overcook, but each bite was a perfect medium rare.

A word about sauces: They put them in front of you. Try one if you like, but your filet will not need the help.

Shrimp is another easy-to-love and hard-to-master protein on the grill. But, again, amid the chopped vegetables and fried rice ($1 extra) with a pleasing hint of curry, our chef cooked each shrimp to a perfect sear without stumbling into the no man’s land where chewy shrimp go to die.

Service was excellent throughout, as a man I believe to be a literal ninja kept refilling my water glass without me ever knowing he was there.

For dinner and a show, it’s hard to beat Musashi’s. But — and this is important — the same is true without the show.

Print headline: Master Musashi’s: This Japanese steakhouse delights and satisfies with everything from shrimp to soup.

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