Flying shrimp at Kimball Junction
Sometimes nothing short of a flaming onion volcano will do.
Businessmen Craig and Lorne Berry saw an opportunity they couldn’t pass up when chef Eddie Le decided to open another hibachi (or teppanyaki) grill in Utah.
There being none in Park City, they secured the location of the former Wingers at Kimball Junction and opened The Last Samurai, a name in honor of Samurai 21, Le’s restaurant in St. George.
There are plenty of places to get Japanese food in Park City, but nowhere to get it thrown in your mouth by a chef who doubles as a juggler.
Hibachi grills, or teppan tables, lend themselves to a style of cooking that combines cuisine with entertainment.
"There’s nothing like this in Park City. We wanted to give something to Park City that was unique and of a different flavor," explained son Lorne Berry, a land developer.
Craig Berry, the dad, spent 25 years in corporate management. He and his son invested in the restaurant with partner Jonathan Bonnette. Their pride in the restaurant is evident by the way it looks.
No expense was spared in the interior design, and that includes a 500-gallon salt water "aquatice" with live coral and exotic sea creatures from Fiji and the Indian Ocean.
At night, the tank emits a blue glow than can be seen from the freeway.
Eddie Le has designed the menu for 8 of Utah’s 12 hibachi restaurants. Every recipe used at The Last Samurai down to the sauces and dressings is his, Lorne explained. But Le is not a consultant, he cooks.
"This is one of the only restaurants where you can have an executive chef cook in front of you," Craig said.
The restaurant has been open several weeks, and are already busy. Word of mouth has spread quickly and Lorne said they’re filled to capacity every weekend.
The Last Samurai is a bit of a trip from the ski slopes, but Craig sees that as a plus. Restaurants need to please locals in order to stay open year-round, and locals sometimes prefer to avoid Main Street traffic in the winter.
Just because it has gigantic teppan tables doesn’t mean they cook everything. The Last Samurai also boasts sushi chefs to rival any place in town and offers kid’s meals for under $15.
Chance Wilson ate there recently and said the prices were reasonable for how much food he got. He also said he preferred the ambiance to other hibachi grills he’d been to.
"The food was great, the service was great, everything was good," he said. "The cooks do a bunch of tricks that are fun to watch."
The Last Samurai
6520 North Highway 224
Open after 5:00
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.