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Sam's Anchor Inn is teppanyaki experience to enjoy

By: David Knickerbocker

Date Posted: 2003-04-05

There are very few kinds of restaurants that come close to being as enjoyable as dining at a teppanyaki restaurant. This week, I headed to Sam's Anchor Inn in Ginowan City for an excellent teppanyaki dinner. If you're unsure of what teppanyaki is, it's a style of restaurant where each table has a chef that cooks your food right in front of you on your table, often putting on a humorous yet skillful performance. This style of cuisine includes a western-style dish of steak or seafood, bread or rice, soup, salad, and anything else you desire from the menu. The chef often puts on a humorous performance of slicing meat and vegetables, juggling salt and pepper shakers, and telling jokes. Eating at a teppanyaki restaurant is a very unique experience all will enjoy.

The Ginowan Sam's Anchor in was first opened in 1970. It was the first teppanyaki restaurant run by foreigners, but since its grand opening, they have opened other teppanyaki restaurants including Sam's Anchor Inn on Kokusai Street and their Maui Steakhouses. All of these restaurants are quite famous, but the Ginowan Sam's Anchor Inn is a bit less crowded than the others, providing more of a secluded atmosphere for you to relax or have a romantic evening. The tables are also spaced significantly farther apart than at the other restaurants giving this restaurant a more spread out feel.

From the minute you enter Sam's Anchor Inn, you'll feel as if you just came on board an old sailing vessel. Several nautical items decorate the wall, floor, and ceiling of the large dining room including oars, brass instruments, diving helmets, and prints of old sailing ships. The windows are port holes. All of this, plus the mellow tropical music and the dim lighting, gives this restaurant a bit of a fantasy feel that only a Sam's restaurant can give.

As you are seated, you will be given a "Exotic Cocktails" menu with more than twenty alcoholic and non-alcoholic tropical drinks for you to choose from. Currently, the restaurant has five seasonal specialty drinks available under the theme of "Strawberry Heaven"--Eden's Eve (rum, fruit, and berries) 650, Champagne Cooler (champagne, liqueur, fresh pineapples and berries) 700, Tropical Berry (coconut, vodka, and lots of fresh strawberries) 650, Strawberryrita (tequila margarita with fresh strawberries) 700, and Monkey Paradise (non-alcoholic blend of fresh bananas, pineapples, and strawberries) 500. The restaurant also has a variety of wines available, or you can order coffee, tea, or water.

The restaurant also has variety of excellent appetizers including shrimp cocktail supreme (750), escargots (850), and hot cheese tempura (500). The escargots is amazing! After ordering appetizers, you'll be given your dinner menu. The menu has a small variety of meals to choose from including a set dinner of shrimp cocktail supreme, tenderloin steak (250g), and the chef's special dessert of the day for 3,250. This set meal comes with ice or hot tea or coffee. If you just want a steak, there are three possible choices: small cut (200g, 1,950), medium cut (250g, 2,300), and large cut (300g, 2,650). Seafood dinners are also available, or you can order a mix dinner of seafood and steak. Island lobster and tenderloin steak goes for 3,600, and prawns and tenderloin steak costs 2,500. A children's steak or prawn dinner is also available for 1,200.

Being the steak fanatic that I am, I ordered the large cut tenderloin steak. The meal was delicious and came with bean soup, salad, potatoes and green peppers, chingensai, bean sprouts, and bread or rice. Everything was prepared to perfection by our private chef. Everything was excellent! Also, the meal includes just enough food to fill you up, but not too much so you go home feeling heavy.

After you order your meal, the chef will begin his performance of slicing, dicing, cutting, and cooking the beef, seafood, and vegetables to absolute perfection. Some of the chefs are quite humorous. One of them put the finishing touches on his performance by tossing his pepper shaker into the top of his chef's hat at the end of his juggling routine. Both kids and adults alike will get a kick out of this.

If you're still hungry after finishing off your meal, Sam's Anchor Inn has a few different desserts to choose from including shiquasa pie ala mode (550), chocolate mint cake (550), New York cheese cake (550), and premium ice creams and sherbets (350).

Without a doubt, Sam's Anchor Inn is one of Okinawa's best restaurants. The food is always delicious, the drinks are always just right, and the staff is always friendly and courteous. Dining at a teppanyaki restaurant is really an experience to enjoy, and Sam's Anchor in is a great place for your first introduction. Reservations are not required as the restaurant is usually not too crowded, but they are allowed if you are coming with a large group or just want to make sure you get a seat. On special days such as Valentine's Day and Christmas, reservations are not taken.

Driving to the Ginowan Sam's Anchor Inn is extremely easy. From Naha City, head north of highway 58 past Urasoe City. The next City is Ginowan City. Sam's Anchor in will be on your left side. You'll notice a set of flaming torches outside. The Kokusai Street Sam's Anchor in is close to the Palette Kumoji intersection. Free parking is available at the Ginowan Sam's, and Validated parking is available at all of the others. For more information, call the Ginowan restaurant at 098-897-5555 or the Kokusai branch at 098-862-9090. All Sam's restaurants are open from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. everyday.

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