The teppanyaki steakhouse format, where your meal is cooked in front of you on a sizzling, flat-surface grill, might seem like a gimmicky restaurant experience, one that waned after the Benihana boom of the ’70s and early ’80s. But this Americanized take on a Japanese style of cooking has thrived in Las Vegas through the years, and not just in the tourist corridor. There’s something about the special-occasion feel at these restaurants that keeps us coming back, especially if it’s a consistent experience in our own neighborhoods.
Since opening in 2010, Ohjah Steakhouse has established local dominance in this restaurant category with six locations, including one in Pahrump. The newest arrived in December on West Sahara in a building that sat empty for too long, now reset as a cozy, almost tropical escape with friendly service and excellent food.
Since this restaurant skips the sushi menu available at other Ohjah locations, there’s more focus on tasty appetizers like spicy garlic edamame ($5), crispy pork gyoza dumplings ($6) and vegetable tempura ($7). Sautéed shrimp and vegetables ($8) satisfies like an entrée, while tender takoyaki ($7)—fried fritters with diced octopus—are a must order. Ohjah’s version of karaage ($6)—boneless fried chicken—is equally tasty, but you have to stop snacking at some point and get to the main event.
No matter how fun the teppan experience might be, locals wouldn’t go if the quality wasn’t there, and Ohjah’s proteins make the difference. The filet mignon selection is a steal: It’s under 20 bucks for soup, salad, vegetables, rice or noodles and tender, fresh-grilled beef. Add another $9 to upgrade to ribeye steak or splurge on (market-price) Wagyu beef. Other options include chicken, shrimp, salmon, scallops, calamari and lobster, with seafood options topping out at $34 for flaky and rich sea bass. If you can’t decide, go for the combo ($32) and choose three items (with some exclusions).
A talented squad of teppan chefs maintains the familiar and fun experience, but if you don’t care for theatrics, you can sit away from the grill and work from the same menu. That kind of hospitality has enhanced Ohjah’s development.
OHJAH STEAKHOUSE 8991 W. Sahara Blvd., 702-642-8888. Daily, 3-11 p.m.