Sizzling or cool Japanese, Thai, and other Asian culinary creations can now be ordered — and enjoyed — every day from a newly opened East End eatery.
Hibachi Express fired up its grills and got cooking two weeks ago. Owner Jie Jiang said he has worked as a chef and in other capacities in the Asian restaurant industry for nearly 15 years and decided to bring his know-how to the East End.
“A few friends and I came up with an investment. I’ve been in Charleston for about seven or eight years and was familiar with the area, so I decided to open a business here. Japanese hibachi and Japanese sushi and this type of fast-food Chinese food is pretty popular in the area,” Jiang said.
“It’s not really that complex,” he added. “It’s a fast-food style. It’s very efficient. It’s not like the traditional Chinese food. I’ve been involved with traditional Chinese food. It takes a little more time and it’s more complicated because a lot more ingredients go into the food. It’s built on the tradition of traditional Asian food.”
Jiang and his colleagues began renovations on the restaurant property in January.
“We hoped to open around April,” he said, “but then the virus hit, so we kind of delayed our opening.
“We’re strictly takeout and delivery currently,” Jiang said. “We allow maybe three or four customers to come in sit down occasionally, depending on how busy we are inside.
“In the first week, business has been OK. There’s a lot of takeout and delivery now, with everyone staying at home. There’s lots of demand.”
As well as offering hibachi-prepared entrees, Hibachi Express has a variety of Thai, teriyaki, sushi and other lunch and dinner choices.
Appetizers, for instance, include spring rolls; cheese wonton; fried calamari; vegetable, chicken, and shrimp tempura; edamame; gyoza; and seafood shu mai.
Lighter fare includes meso, clear or Tom Yum soup and salad varieties such as seaweed, avocado, chicken, Kimchi and garden.
The sushi roll selection prepared on site includes the Sweet Potato Roll, California Roll, Salmon Avocado Roll, Tuna Avocado Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll, Philly Roll, Spicy Crab Meat Roll (regular or crispy), Eel Roll (with avocado or cucumber), the Spicy Tuna Roll; and the Spicy Salmon Roll. Each costs $4.25 or less.
Upgrade to the Special Roll selection ($9.25 each) and choose from the American Dream Roll (a deep-friend delicacy filled with tuna, salmon, crab, cheese, avocado, cucumber and special sauce); the Yum Yum Roll, appointed with deep-fried crab, cream cheese, avocado, and cucumber, further complemented by a crunchy, spicy crab topping); the West Virginia Roll (shrimp tempura and avocado filled, with a topping of crab, tobiko, eel and spicy mayo sauce); the Charleston Roll, with crab, cucumber and avocado topped with tuna, salmon, and more avocado) and the Casino Roll, shrimp tempura surrounded by cucumber and a topping composed of salmon, mayo, eel, and wasabi sauce.
For bigger functions and appetites, Hibachi Express also offers a selection of sushi roll party trays.
You can also bowl over your appetite with a Hibachi Express rice bowl, in shrimp, steak, hibachi chicken and teriyaki varieties. Rice and noodle courses are also available, such as pineapple fried rice, Udon noodle or ginger fried rice, as a bed to the bowl selection.
Thai meals include a choice of one protein (steak, shrimp, chicken or vegetable) paired with basil- or Thai-fried rice or yellow, red or green curry. Pad Tai Noodle and Drunken Noodle Thai dishes are also on the menu.
Hibachi and teriyaki entrees all come with soup or salad, white or fried rice or a noodle and a vegetable (broccoli, carrots, onions or zucchini). Smaller sizes are available sans the soup or salad, and side orders are available to add to each order.
Along with a seafood combo of shrimp, salmon, and scallops and a House Special blending chicken, steak and shrimp, the hibachi/teriyaki entrees include vegetable, chicken, steak, shrimp, salmon, scallops and combinations thereof, such as steak and shrimp, chicken and salmons, and so forth. (Download a menu from the Hibachi Express Facebook page.)
Jiang said the menu is also something of a work-in-progress during the early stages of operations, with customer feedback appreciated.
“As things move forward, we want to hear about something we might able to improve or change. It’s kind of like a testing period for us, we’re testing the waters now. If we need to make changes, we’ll tweak our style,” he said.
Hibachi Express is located at 1401 Washington St., E., Charleston. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon until 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Deliveries are available for $15-minimum orders, with GrubHub and DoorDash also as delivery options.
To place orders or receive more information, call the restaurant at 304-343-8338 or 304-343-8969.