We had the option of sitting at tables or at the bar. We chose the bar, which was super sugoi (awesome) because we had first row seats to watch the chefs cooking on a giant iron griddle that spanned the length of the bar. They were extremely fast and efficient with all their movements, turning even the tossing of an egg shell into an art.
photo provided by splendiferous Yuiko
For my meal, I chose a type of cabbage pancake slathered in a creamy avocado cheese shrimp sauce and crowned with tiny tomatoes. It came sizzling with green melted goodness on its own personal mini griddle! The dish was so scrumptious that I didn't even leave a single scrid behind.
The person who brought me my food also kindly cut it into four portions, which I was very grateful for as my chopstick skills are . . . let's go with "still evolving." The restaurant staff were extremely attentive to all their customers' needs and always had a jug of refreshingly chilled ice water ready to fill my glass before I even realized it had gotten low.
One cool feature of Tonbei are the bright copper kettles that line the walls: they show the restaurant's menu! (Notice the smiling piggy for pork)
This restaurant is located in Hakata Station in Fukuoka. If you ever get the chance, stop by Tonbei for a uniquely mouth-watering culinary experience!