That can happen at Fuji hana Japanese Steakhouse. But before we get ahead of ourselves and discuss assault by broccoli, let's talk about the basics.
You've got two options when you enter Fuji hana. You can sit in the regular seating, which is a wise choice if you're rushed - or a lunch break from work. Better yet, you can find a place at one of the 11 hibachi tables. Pull up your chair, unfold your napkin and get ready. Dinner's about to get bold.
After some salad and soup, a hibachi chef will arrive. He'll spin eggs with his spatula, he'll dice with his knife and dash steaks, vegetables and chicken around the grill with his fork. All the while he'll chat with the customers. He's part cook, part magician, part comedian.
Manager John Zhang said he looks for hibachi chefs with five years of experience. That's why making the onion volcano seems so easy for them.
If you haven't seen the onion volcano, here's how it works. The chef slices up an onion, putting the largest ring on the grill. He piles on each smaller ring until he has a little volcano-shaped mound of onion slices. A mix of oil and alcohol are squirted in and around the volcano. When a match is added - you shouldn't try this at home, remember these cooks have years of practice - you get a brief volcano that's pretty cool to watch.
Each chef brings his own routine to the table, but another crowd favorite is catching vegetables. Well, attempting to catch the vegetables. At Fuji hana, the cook sets some of the cooked broccoli and zucchini aside while he the meal is being prepared.
"That way, when people catch it in their mouth, it won't be hot," Zhang explained.
Some people, like yours truly, have a hard time catching veggies. I've been hit in the cheek, nose, eye and chin.
Zhang said I'm in the minority.
"A lot of people catch it, actually," he said. This knowledge made me feel so much more confident.
He did say the responsibility for catching the food doesn't rest solely at the capable hands of the hibachi chef, who tosses the veggies from his spatula.
"It's not like playing basketball," Zhang said. So the customer is an outfielder in this analogy, not the stationary basketball hoop.
This is a good lesson for the next time I visit the restaurant.
Whether you or your date catch the food doesn't matter. You'll be all smiles either way.
Now that we've talked about the entertainment aspect of the hibachi grill, let's talk about the fruits of our talented chef's labors.
The food at Fuji hana is sure to fill you up. You can order steak, chicken, shrimp, pork, scallops and lobster or combination platters. You can get steamed rice or fried rice with your meal. And, of course, there will be vegetables that haven't landed in your lap. If hibachi isn't your thing, there are other meals - as well as sushi - available.
Fuji hana is also very family friendly. My wife and I have brought our infant there several times. The staff always gushes over him, even when he cried momentarily after he saw the onion volcano the first time. When another onion volcano erupted at the table across from ours soon after, he was mesmerized.
Don't worry, no hibachi chefs tried to fling a zucchini at him.
If you go
WHAT: Fuji hana Japanese
WHERE: 935 Loucks Road
(Northwest Plaza) in York
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday
PRICE RANGE: $7.95 to $59.95
ACCEPTS: Cash and credit cards
KIDS MENU: Yes
DETAILS: Call 845-8988
Keep it going
Looking to extend your night out? Consider these:
Grab a cart
WHAT TO DO: Now that you're full from your Fuji Hana meal, walk off some of it at one of the many retail outlets along Route 30. That's right, go shopping with your date. Whether you head to one of the office supply stores, the West Manchester Mall, or a clothing store, walk around with your date.
INSIDER TIP: Don't go nuts and put yourself in debt just to impress your date.
Cool off with frozen custard
THE SPOT: The Meadows Original Frozen Custard
WHAT IS IT: Originating in Blair County, The Meadows provides frozen custard in several forms: arctic swirls, cones, cakes, Sundays, gelati and other goodies.
WHERE: 1193A Loucks Road, York
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
INSIDER TIP: A seasonal treat is the pumpkin pie-flavored custard
GET IN ON THE ACTION: If the weather is warm enough, enjoy the outdoor seating. If not, hang out inside.