Aoki in Dadeland Continues Benihana Legacy

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Photos by Carla Torres
Steak or lobster sauce? The lifelong teppanyaki battle.
Chances are you've heard of Benihana, the teppanyaki chain founded by Rocky Aoki that spread like wildfire across America. But did you know that his son Kevin Aoki is the owner of Doraku, that Kevin's brother is superstar DJ Steve Aoki, and that the new teppanyaki joint at Dadeland Mall is the latest addition to the restaurant family? True story.

Aoki opened its doors at the end of April. Short Order was invited to check it out. Photos after the jump.

See also: Ten Best Happy Hours in Miami

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Courtesy of Andrea Hyatt
Adjacent to Bobby's Burger Palace and Earl's inside Dadeland Mall's new wing that's quickly filling up with eateries, Aoki prides itself on being health-conscious and obsessed with details. Take, for instance, the hostess stand, which is a giant tree, if a tree grew sideways. The decor transports you to an ancient Japanese-style village.

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Seared hamachi with crisp chilies and yuzu ($14.50)
Aoki is a tribute to Kevin's father and a way to continue the legacy Rocky Aoki began with Benihana in 1964 when the first one opened in New York City. But it all began with Kevin's grandfather, who had a little café in Tokyo by the name of Benihana. During World War II, he'd ride his bicycle into Tokyo to get his rations of sugar and tote them back to his customers. After Rocky visited the States for the first time, he was convinced he wanted to take hibachi-style cooking and a bit of Japanese culture to America. He named his establishment Benihana. It was an immediate success and one that spawned many imitators.

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A popular dish from Doraku, the surf 'n' turf rolls up shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and asparagus and tops it with seared steak, spicy aioli, and eel sauce ($13).
Rocky Aoki passed away in 2008, but Kevin has kept the restaurant empire going with Doraku, which he purchased on Lincoln Road in 2006 after he left Benihana. Though Doraku thrives today, that wasn't always the case. "It was kind of rough for a while at first," says Aaron Hyatt, vice president of operations, who opened Doraku with Kevin. "We started doing happy hour and giving really good value for under $6, and things really started taking off. Today we're the busiest location on our end of Lincoln Road."

Location Info

Aoki Teppanyaki

7535 N Kendall Dr., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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23 comments
Adeline Bourdin
Adeline Bourdin

Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon. His family owns it I believe! :)

Michael Lazo
Michael Lazo

This place is fantastic. Classy, simple, fresh...Samurai is overpriced, ghetto, too much of a wait, and not a single cool is Japanese...

Samantha  Dellilo
Samantha Dellilo

Edward Price Shelby Christine Jamie Meyer. Uhh can we ditch samurai and try here!

Jenny Lopez
Jenny Lopez

Mirelys we went to this place the other day but didn't do the tepenyaki sit down. The fried rice is so yummy!! The teriyaki chicken is too :)

Jessie Hernandez King
Jessie Hernandez King

Went with the kids this weekend, we loved it! Much better than Samurai or Benihana!

Will Iam
Will Iam

With the benihana high prices! Yay!

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