If you are hungry for Japanese cuisine, Plum Garden is a fun, tasty, and accessible option, located in Pittsford Plaza. With a sushi bar, dining room, and hibachi grill area, Plum Garden offers a variety of dining experiences for its guests.

The décor emulates traditional Japanese architecture but seems to be showing its age. The atmosphere at first glance is nothing spectacular, but the food and the vibe soon made up for a lackluster first impression.

The restaurant has been a popular spot for students in the Rochester area for years. In the window are numerous awards and accolades, including a 2011 Rochester’s Choice award from The Democrat and Chronicle for Rochester’s best Japanese food. Indeed, several parties were already waiting to be seated even before opening hours.

The restaurant has plenty of space and a casual atmosphere, so reservations are probably not necessary, especially during lunchtime. If you’re looking to go out on the weekend, be prepared to spend a little more money for a bigger meal.

Before my hibachi main course, I was curious to sample the sushi. I ordered the sushi appetizer, which includes three simple tuna rolls and three different sushi nigiri. The rolls were a bit heavy on the rice and skimpy on the fish, but the portions of whitefish, tuna, and salmon in the sushi nigiri were generous. The plate was simple yet satisfying, and the fish was of quite good quality.

Before the hibachi, I also enjoyed the onion broth soup and  a complimentary garden salad.

The hibachi chefs at Plum Garden serve up more than just tasty fried rice and vegetables. They also put on an impressive, interactive show, tableside, no less. The fun began when the chef ignited the grill, sending a fireball right before my eyes. Great showmanship is put into every detail as your meal is cooked right in front of you, from twirling spatulas to balancing eggs to creating explosive onion volcanoes. The chef shot rice balls into the air for patrons to catch with their mouths.

Aside from the great show, there is something incredibly appetizing about watching the fresh ingredients come together right in front of you. As the chef fluffed an enormous pile of steaming fried rice, sliced a variety steaks, chicken, and seafood with fragrant sauces and sesame seeds, poured a brimming bowl of vegetables and served up two savory dipping sauces, my senses were so engaged that I couldn’t help but become even hungrier.

The food lived up to the show. The hibachi meal comes with two succulent shrimp, and the chicken and steak I ordered were tender and well-seasoned. The vegetables were a mixture of broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots, and zucchini tossed with sesame.

In total, I spent about $45 for a hibachi dinner, which included two entrees and an appetizer. This may be a bit pricey for a student budget, but it is worth it for an out of the ordinary meal. Plus, you do get good value for your dollar — the hibachi dinner comes with soup, salad, shrimp, two tasty sauces, vegetables, fried rice, and meat (all in generous portions), not to mention a great show.

If you are looking for a dining experience that is unique from the one offered at your standard, sit-down restaurant, hibachi at Plum Garden is the perfect choice. What are you waiting for?

Tausanovitch is a member of

the class of 2016.

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