Joinus Teppanyaki - $9.99 Lunch Special Exceeds Expectations
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
Mostly everybody I know loves to eat Teppanyaki. There's something exciting about seeing your selection of foods cooked right in front of you on a hot griddle. The delicious aromas of grilled garlic, vegetables, chicken, shrimp, seafood, and steak, flavored with a splash of brandy, wine or sake, fill the air and capture your senses. It's intriguing to watch the teppan cooks deftly slice the meats and vegetables with razor-sharp knives...some chefs even make a spectacle of their chopping skills, adding an element of entertainment. The Joinus $9.99 Lunch Special is not about being entertained. It's about eating great food prepared by cooks following a tradition of excellence at this venerable Japanese restaurant known for its high service standards and food quality over the past two decades.
Located on the ground floor of the Tumon Sands Plaza, Joinus Teppanyaki shares a common entrance area with the Keyaki Japanese Restaurant (renowned for it's sushi bar, Shabu Shabu, Sukiyaki, and other popular Japanese dishes. When I first heard about the $9.99 lunch special, I assumed that I'd be getting a choice of either grilled steak, chicken, or seafood, with rice, salad and miso soup. I was astonished to discover that the Joinus lunch special features the following three combination menu options:
- A - Beef Top Sirloin, Spring Chicken, and Shrimp w/Bacon
- B - Beef Top Sirloin, Salmon, and Shrimp w/Bacon
- C - Spring Chicken, Salmon, and Shrimp w/Bacon
These are served with fresh garden vegetables, green salad, rice, and miso soup.
Joinus has a long teppan counter as well as several large teppan booths, capable of seating eight guests. I sat at the counter and ordered green tea and course A. A waitress asked what type of dressing I wanted on my salad (Japanese, of course!) and it was taken off of a cart that contained many pre-made salads. It was fresh, with crisp lettuce, garbonzo beans, a tomato wedge, and some shredded red cabbage.
I observed the plate containing the raw ingredients of my meal. There were two shrimp draped in bacon, a piece of chicken (boneless thigh), and a slice of steak. There was a slice each of tofu, onion, green bell pepper, and carrot. There was also a heap of bean sprouts. I watched Dave (the teppan cook) grill a pile of fresh garlic, as well as the other ingredients. He used olive oil and butter, and as he was finishing the ingredients, he'd put brandy on the sliced shrimp and steak, and he splashed sake on the chicken and vegetables. Some of the grilled garlic was mixed in with my steak (that's how I love it) and to my further surprise, he mixed an equally large amount of grilled garlic with the bean sprouts. This took these bean sprouts to a new level - they were awesome!
When he finished placing the last vegetables on my ceramic platter, I was quite pleased to note that the portions completely filled the platter. It was a sight to behold, everything cooked and cut to bite-size perfection, with fresh grilled garlic chips galore. I tasted each item, appreciating how the brandy and sake enhanced the flavor of the ingredients. The single bowl of dipping sauce had a taste I could not fully define, but I did detect vinegar and what I thought was a sweet wine. I later found out (after asking) that this sauce was made with vinegar, wine, fish powder, and soy sauce. The shrimp was really tasty, flavored by the bacon that cooked around it. The tofu was a nice addition, too. For the price, this is an extraordinary value. Although the beef was Top Sirloin, its preparation upgraded its quality. The regular menu at Joinus has other premium steak choices, such as New York and Tenderloin (the Tenderloin & Shrimp w/bacon combo costs $16.95). I was more than satisfied with my lunch special.
One of the senior teppan cooks, Ed, explained that there was no MSG in the food, even though a sign on the wall in the lobby stated that MSG was used in the food. It is used in the miso soup.
The Joinus Lunch Special does not have a service charge, so it's $9.99 price keeps it competitive. It is served Monday through Friday, with lunch service starting at 11:30 am and ending at 1:45 pm. Dinner service is from 6:00 pm to 9:45 pm. It is suggested that you make reservations by calling 646-4807, since Joinus already enjoys a significant lunch crowd. I expect it will increase even more, since I plan on returning again! See you there!