For anyone not in the know, Teppanyaki is a kind of steak house, where you sit at tables with built in grills, and a personal chef cooks all of your food in front of you! It’s a great experience, especially as the chef does tricks with the seasonings and cooking utensils throughout the experience. So, why Sam’s Anchor Inn, of all the Teppanyaki places on island? That’s an easy to answer question.
Sam’s Anchor Inn is conveniently located in Ginowan along Highway 58. The large, illuminated anchor sign is a dead giveaway! Park up right outside (or in a car park just across the street, not even a minutes walk), and take a trip into another world. As soon as you walk into the door, the nautical theme almost smacks you in the face. There’s a small entryway leading up a flight of stairs. To your right you can admire a guest book and reservation book from the early days of Sam’s opening (1970’s). It’s pretty interesting. There is eerie music playing as you make your way up a staircase enclosed on all sides by a smattering of business cards and notes. They cover every inch of every wall and ceiling leading up. The slim hallway leading down to the bar and dining area is also decorated in a similar fashion, and there’s a cork board on the left with some pushpins in it, should you wish to add your own memo. At the end of this, prior to entering the bar, is a lobster tank. The bar area is quite generous, with a well stocked bar, some quirky decorations, and a member of staff decked out in nautical garb to greet you. My favourite feature of the bar area is the Hong Kong rickshaw casually dangling from the ceiling. Follow your sailor/wait staff into the large dining area, past the huge crock pot containing Sam’s famous Navy bean soup (more on this later), and past banks of bustling tables, cheerful staff, and nimble-handed chefs. It’s dimly lit and loud, quite an assault on the senses. The atmosphere is great though. Lively, cheerful, and with the ocean theme carried through every little thing. The sea shanties playing in the background serve to enhance this. It’s like dining in the bowels of a ship!
The menu isn’t vast, but there’s still a good selection. They have starters (I went with the cheese tempura, easily the best tempura I’ve ever had!), steak courses, steak and seafood courses, and seafood courses. I settled on the medium tenderloin steak set, which includes the Navy bean soup I mentioned earlier (a special recipe unique to Sam’s, and cooked daily in their huge crock pot), salad, vegetables, potatoes, and a choice of steamed rice, volcano rice (cooked on the grill in front of you in a plume of fire, it’s amazing!), or garlic bread. I opted for the garlic bread, though I saw the volcano rice being cooked on a different table and wished I’d got it just for the spectacle. The food is all ultra fresh, cooked right in front of you by your own personal chef. Marvel not only at the effortless way your chef chops and sautés everything, but also at how they flip and twist seasoning bottles and the large butter bowl. This latter in particular is ridiculously impressive, given that it’s a large, heavy ceramic filled with thick, creamy butter. They make it look feather-light. This is all well and good, but what does it taste like? You won’t leave disappointed or hungry. The flavour is divine. Steak is cooked in butter, special steak sauce, and garlic if you so desire, giving it a twist that delights the palette. This topped with the generous helping of vegetables, potatoes, salad and rice/bread, ensures a full stomach! I wasn’t hungry at all for hours afterwards.
Drinks? Sam’s has you covered. There’s a great array of soft and hot drinks, as well as alcoholic. They have a cocktail menu too, and everything can be ordered with or without alcohol, so you can still enjoy if you aren’t a drinker. I opted for a cocktail, a Sam’s special that is served in a shark shaped receptacle. The best part? You get to keep it! They give you a fresh one all boxed up when you pay. They have several such cocktails on offer, with shisa dogs and other funky shapes. A great take home gift to remember your experience!
Price wise, it isn’t a cheap eats place. Expect to pay a little more than you would at a normal restaurant. That being said, you do get what you pay for. It’s a high quality dining experience. My meal was a little over 7,000 yen, this is for two people with a shared appetiser, a cocktail each, and a medium tenderloin cut set each. However, it was a fabulous experience, the food was delicious, and I got a cute ceramic shark to take home and admire!
Accepts: Yen, credit card
by Louse Dupuy
Mon – Sun:17:00 to 00:00
Sam's Anchor Inn
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Sam's Anchor Inn