Over the years, the Japanese-style restaurant—known for knife-twirling chefs and teppanyaki-style grilling—slid from genre-busting show-stopper to merely tired to kitschy fun, becoming so played out that it wrapped back around to being cool again.
This re-emergence could be detected by careful monitoring of pop culture: Benihana has been celebrated in everything from a Harold Ramis–directed Christmas episode of The Office to a Hilton sisters double date to Beastie Boys lyrics:
Well I’m the Benihana chef on the SP12
I chop the fuck out the beats left on the shelf
Rest in peace, sweet prince.