Cafe Reviewed: Wednesday, March 31, 2005
Sushi, like this combo sushi plate, is also available at The Green Pepper.(Photo by Vishal Malhotra)
The Green Pepper Japanese Steakhouse
Hibachi chicken
Green Pepper Special
Sinking Sun

The Green Pepper hibachi experience could use a little less showmanship and a little more flavor.


At first, it’s hard to put your finger on what’s so out of place at The Green Pepper Japanese Steakhouse. The restaurant’s interior is pleasant enough: Opulent-looking dark wood moldings with fancy trim neatly frame off-white walls. There’s a nice-looking bar on one side of the room, and the rest of the medium-sized area is occupied by six hibachi grills around each of which about a dozen guests may comfortably gather, family-style. In fact, once inside, you might forget that The Green Pepper is in a strip center next to an Albertson’s — almost.
The “almost” is due to what’s on the walls: a series of those infamous — and dare we say cheesy — moving waterfall pictures. And it’s in this telling detail that the true nature of The Green Pepper is revealed: one-half the real thing, one-half poseur.
Before the show got going, an order was placed for some sushi, of which the Pepper offers a rather modest menu. The combo sushi (including crab, tuna, and shrimp) and the California rolls were both disappointing — you’d probably score fresher-tasting fish at Central Market. The combo’s tuna was excessively chewy, and the California rolls were simply generic, as forgettable as high-school algebra to a 60-year-old English teacher.
Things were looking grim until the cook arrived and dropped that first pat of butter on the hot grill. The Green Pepper Special (cold-water lobster tail, ocean scallops, chicken, and steak) was hit and miss. The lobster — removed from the shell, mixed with butter and seasonings, then grilled back in the shell — had a succulent finish. The scallops were tender and buttery, with plenty of kick from the special seasonings. And the chicken was moist and flavorful. Ironically, the special’s one dish that went horribly wrong for The Green Pepper Japanese Steakhouse was the steak — tough, bland, and flavorless.
But what a show. The cook at our table performed expertly, tossing glinting knives, spatulas, and long forks every which way in the air and catching them, seemingly without effort. The climax at our table came with the flaming onion volcano. The cook filled a stack of onion rings with a flammable liquid and then set the whole thing ablaze. As the flames spewed skyward, casting a frightening orange glow on all of us, the cook cocked his head back and began making the sounds of a fire engine siren. He then made some “choo-choo” noises as he slid his spatula into the inferno to end the event. Blockbuster, eat your heart out.
The restaurant also offers various combination dishes of meat, ranging from filet mignon and scallops ($23.75) to hibachi shrimp ($15.75). A good idea in any event is to upgrade with a side of chicken-fried rice with garlic butter. The Green Pepper’s doesn’t skimp on the ingredients. Each spoonful is delightfully loaded with bits of fresh green onions, carrots, fried egg, and bits of bird. And, yes, vegetarians have dishes to choose from, too.
For dessert, skip the courtesy bowl of ice cream. The myriad flavors at our table, from vanilla to green tea, were uniformly below store-bought quality. Opt instead for the banana tempura. The marriage of molten-hot melted bananas and crunchy tempura exterior made for a sweet, decadent ending.

The Green Pepper Japanese Steakhouse
4843 Colleyville Blvd, Colleyville. 817-577-7119. Sun-Fri 5pm-9pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-2:30pm. All major credit cards accepted.

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