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Magic & Flying Knives at Musashi

Teppanyaki master. Magician. All-around great guy. All those descriptions pretty much describe Chef Kevin Matsuda of Musashi Japanese restaurant at the Hyatt Regency and Spa Hotel in Waikiki.

Kevin was one of four chefs featured on the Food Network’s Flying Knives Teppanyaki competition which aired last July.

On our visit at Musashi, he was much more relaxed than he appeared to be on the show, and spent as much time with his magic tricks and joking around as he did cooking for us, making the experience that much more interactive, fun and exciting.

Musashi is one of four featured restaurants at the Hyatt Waikiki, along with Colony (steaks), Ciao Mein (Chinese-Italian fusion) and Terrace Grill (continental).

While there are private table also available for dining at Musashi, the highlight of the experience is at the Teppanyaki station; the price for the latter about $50 to $75 per person, depending which meal set you choose.

Here, your meal begins with a sushi set served by the wait staff…

When this arrives, the Teppanyaki chef – in the case Kevin – arrives and begins his preparation, including introductions to everyone on the table surrounding the grill. By this time, you get to know all the parties you’re dining with, as there are seating for 12 at each station, and you’ll likely be sharing the experience with folks you may not formerly know. Good fun!

I might add, that sushi was absolutely perfect.

Then as the chef begins cooking, you’re brought accompaniments for the meal, which includes rice, Tsukemono (picked vegetables) and Miso soup.

Chef Kevin likes to make things personal, and since he knows my girlfriend and her friends who we dined together with, Kevin carved our names into cucumbers and set them on the grill in front of our seat…

How cool is that?! He also uses it as a barricade for the onslaught of mushrooms that start the grilling session. Yum.

Here you can see how he carefully organizes his arrangement, with the lobster and scallops sitting off on the cool spot on the side awaiting their turn…

A pinch of salt is all that’s needed!

As you’ve seen in the first photo, here it is again in proper sequence as he builds the “Volcano”…

Oh, don’t mind, just a couple pieces of lobster wanted to get acquainted..

As the scallops cook, he take time out to bust out another magic trick…

Kevin, the show’s name is “Flying Knives”, not “Flying Lemons”…


Yeah, yeah, O.K., wait, another magic trick!…

1-2-3… voila!…

Grilled cucumbers, mushrooms, scallops shrimp and lobster? Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this! While this doesn’t have any presentation factor, keep in mind that this is a dynamic cooking environment, and the chef doesn’t have time or space to “plate” each dish. Everything on the grill is distributed in bite-size portions to each diner’s plate as the show goes on.

This is as much a show as it is a dining experience.

Since these are simply seasoned with salt and pepper, you’re given a misoyaki and sesame-shoyu dipping sauce…

And just when you thought that was great, now comes the prime – not choice – New York Strip Steaks!…

The magic continues, the food excellent and everything was perfect. Mahalo Kevin!…

Teppanyaki Chef Kevin Matsuda

Food Network Challenge: Flying Knives
Kitchen Magician
Hyatt Regency & Spa Hotel Waikiki

7 thoughts on “Magic & Flying Knives at Musashi

  • February 10, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Looks terriffic!

    I’m back in Hawai’i nei!

  • February 10, 2008 at 4:27 am

    niffty name tags on those cucmbers. Great pics. Btw, did you use a flash for that “flying lemon” photo?

  • February 10, 2008 at 4:41 am

    I remember watching that show! that was a lot of mushrooms!

  • February 10, 2008 at 8:29 am

    I’ll admit – i’ve only had Teppanyaki once (at a Benihana in Los Angeles) and found the experience pretty tacky and the food mediocre – but after reading this entry along with the terrific photos gotta say that your meal at Musashi looked awesome! I’ll have to give this place a try next time i’m back on the islands.

  • February 10, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Garrett, I can understand how your experience may have been “tacky”, as the chef at the helm truly is crucial with Teppanyaki. More so than just about any other dining situation I can think of.

    The key in the food here was the quality and freshness of the meat, seafood and vegetables, which was top-notch. Teppanyaki is basically griddled food, using just oil, salt and pepper, so it relies heavily on the quality of the ingredients in order to taste good. Our experience at Musashi was in favor of that.

    If you ever visit Musashi in Waikiki, by all means, request Kevin to be your chef, and you’ll certainly have a wonderful experience.

    Ron, I used full auto mode in all those photos, as I didn’t have time to mess with manual adjustments. With that, every shot fired the flash.

    Nate, glad to hear you’re back home! Surely you’ll be posting new entries on your local grinds visits. Will check it out.

    Hi Kat!

  • February 11, 2008 at 5:05 am

    pomai – made big mistake, forgot to bring the donload cable. gotta find a replacement to use here or the pixs gotta wait until I get back. shucks!

  • February 13, 2008 at 2:17 am

    I recently found your blog and have been enjoying all that you have shared. Wow, this Teppanyaki looks great – I must try the next time I’m home.

    Looking forward to more of your entries.


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