Hanabi €" Fire of Flower

Larry Saxton | 4/23/2009, 1:41 a.m.

An impressive fireball rises above the grill table and the surrounding diners €ooh€ and €aah€. The chef wields his utensils as he chops, stirs, and skewers an assortment of meats and vegetables amidst a smattering of applause. However, these entertaining theatrics are not the only reason to dine at the newly opened Hanabi Japanese Steak and Seafood Restaurant in Forestville, Md.

Sophia Larkin, marketing director for Hanabi, said, €The owners, who are Korean, appreciates the African American Community and wanted to bring a nice sit-down, medium priced establishment to the area.€ The nicely decorated interior has a separate dining area for patrons ordering only sushi, a cocktail bar with seating, and a second dining room with hibachi grill tables

€What separates Hanabi from other Japanese steak houses is our food,€ Larkin said. €We traveled around the country visiting numerous Japanese steak house restaurants before opening ours. We serve only the best quality beef, chicken, and seafood. Our fish is delivered daily. Even the rice served at Hanabi is special. We serve Nishiki rice, which is a very high quality rice known for its taste and crispness.€

Hanabi offers an extensive menu. Their €lunch box€ specials of either Yummy Yummy beef, chicken or shrimp B.B.Q. have become a noontime favorite.

This is a family-friendly restaurant where the seating arrangement encourages conversation with others, even if they are not in your party. Eric Brown, who lives in the neighborhood and was dining with his family, said, €I like the closeness of it. I€ve come here and sat at the bar for a drink and I can bring my family here. The neighborhood needed this. The food was excellent, the steak was delicious. I love the way it was prepared in front of us. This was the first time I brought my family here, and the service was on point. I like good service. I love a nice family restaurant, and the kids loved the show. We will have a lot to talk about when we get home.

Several of Hanabi€s employees live in the community. Mya Prince, who is a waitress, said, €It€s a different environment working at Hanabi. I am learning how to work around hibachi grills and I am learning about sushi. Everyone is very nice, we work together as a team, and everybody helps each other out. I live in the neighborhood and I meet a lot of people who also live in this neighborhood. The owners are Koreans, and I am learning a lot about their culture.€

Staff development and training are of the utmost importance at Hanabi. They believe good service in addition to great tasting food will keep customers coming back. At Hanabi they believe working in a restaurant gives a person the best training for whatever they want to become. Their employees are encouraged to consider their employment goals beyond their tenure there.

€You learn how to deal with all kinds of people. It is the best place to practice self-control.€ Larkin said. €We live in a multicultural world. In a restaurant you will come in contact with all kinds of people. You have to learn how to deal with the customer and the other staff. The staff came to us and said that we were the first to inspire them to set up their goals.€

Hanabi Japanese Steak & Seafood, 3392 Donnell Drive, Forestville, MD 20747, 301-669-1999 or visit on line at www.hanabisteak.com.