Where: Shoppes at Village Pointe, 5970 SW 18th St., Boca Raton
Time to expand: The Boca market had been good to New York City transplants Jason Zheng and Tina Wang. The husband-and-wife restaurateurs found success with Yakitori Sake House, a mainstay in east Boca since 2010. But expansion hadn’t been in their plans—that is, until more and more guests began inquiring about hibachi dining, which Yakitori doesn’t have.
Change in the air: So, Zheng and Wang rolled the dice in 2018, renovating a sprawling space that once housed pool tables, big-screen TVs and cigar bars at Gatsby’s, and creating a two-in-one concept—Saiko-i Sushi Lounge & Hibachi. The 7,000-square-foot room features 11 hibachi tables up front and main dining in the back that includes a sushi bar and cocktail area.
Playing with fire: The hiring of seasoned hibachi chefs has distinguished Saiko-i as more than just novelty dining. Using high-quality ingredients (think Kobe A5 steak and top-shelf seafood), the chefs can create single-item meals or combo specials, served with steam/fried rice and vegetables—all while putting on one of the best culinary shows in town. “We don’t want people having this quiet experience,” Wang says of the hibachi tables. “We want them to have fun.”
Wait, there’s more: The foodie fun continues on the main dining side thanks to a never-ending menu of Asian favorites and specialties—including nearly 40 cooked and raw signature sushi rolls, as well as a full roster of sushi appetizers and sushi bar entrees. On the appetizer side, don’t miss the pan-seared beef gyoza with garlic dipping sauce, the lamb chops marinated in red wine, and the jumbo grilled sea scallops served with mango salsa.
Main dishes: The hibachi chefs aren’t the only cooks stealing the show at Saiko-i. Entree highlights include Peking duck; ginger seabass (grilled); whole (semiboneless) fried snapper; a seafood clay pot with jumbo shrimp, scallops, calamari, snow peas and mushrooms; and the popular lightly battered lobster pad Thai. On the noodle side, dishes include creations incorporating ramen, wok noodles, yaki udon, yakisoba and more.