Quickway, a Japanese hibachi restaurant chain, recently set up shop in the Willston Centre II shopping plaza on Arlington Blvd. in Seven Corners. Despite several locations in Maryland and Northern Virginia, the glossy flyer left at the News-Press offices earlier this month was my first introduction to the local chain.
First things first – this isn’t a modern, Americanized “hibachi” steakhouse where diners sit around a grill ogling onion volcanoes, trying to catch spatula-flipped shrimp in their mouths. Rather, Quickway is a fast food establishment that’s designed for quick (duh), grab-and-go service. It’s akin to a food court option you’d find at the mall. In fact, the hibachi grill isn’t even visible to customers – it’s hidden away behind the counter at the front of the restaurant.
The menu is small, divided between hibachi and sushi dishes with bento boxes available combining the two hot and cold options with some sides. Hibachi dishes include chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon and tofu with the option to pick one, two or three per order. On the sushi front, rolls include the ubiquitous California, shrimp tempura, salmon avocado, tuna (regular or spicy), hibachi chicken, spicy crab and shrimp, avocado cucumber, salmon (regular or spicy) and salmon cream cheese. There’s also a selection of fancier, specialty rolls like the Dancing Shrimp and Green Dragon.
One of the first things I noticed at Quickway (aside from the invisible hibachi) was that the food presentation was nothing like what was represented on their website or the promo menus they’ve been handing out around town. Instead of fancy plates and bento boxes, everything was served in throwaway takeout containers with plastic utensils. It was a bit of a letdown but, hey, it’s all about the food, right?
If you’re looking for a variety, the bento is the way to go – plus it’s a hefty amount of food. For about ten bucks, the box comes with your choice of hibachi over rice or noodles (side note: they didn’t offer noodles during our visits, but they are available; just ask), a side of mixed vegetables plus four pieces of a California roll, two chicken dumplings and two spring rolls. And it’s all served alongside a big vat of “yum yum” sauce, a mayo-based dipping sauce popular at Japanese steakhouses like Benihana and Sakura. At the price, it really is a steal.
Unfortunately, it turns out the disposable flatware wasn’t the low point of the meal. While the chicken and shrimp were adequately tasty and served piping hot fresh off the grill, the spring rolls and dumplings were decidedly more tepid, even bordering on cold. The sushi was also forgettable, chock full of imitation crab along with a tiny sliver of avocado. But it was cold, so it had that going for it, which was nice.
Maybe they were out or maybe I overlooked them, but another disappointing aspect of Quickway was the lack of chopsticks. Now, it took me a full 30 years to master – ok, functionally use – chopsticks, so when dining at a sushi or hibachi establishment, I fully expect to be afforded the opportunity to struggle and incur multiple hand cramps as I wrestle with the utensils throughout my meal. At Quickway, I never had that chance. Boo.
In the end, it’s best to stick to the hot options (when you can get them) here. Despite my disappointment with the sushi and side items, Quickway’s specialty – the hibachi dishes – are really quite tasty and good. The sauce on the meats is flavorful without being cloying or too salty and the portions are substantial, especially given the price. Just don’t expect any flying shrimp.
Bonus: A grand opening special cuts the price of Quickway’s hibachi chicken to $3.95, down from $5.95, until January 31.
Quickway Japanese Hibachi | 6136-F Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church | quickwayhibachi.com