Nakato Japanese Restaurant

A longtime Springfield favorite Japanese restaurant now offers hibachi and sushi during lunchtime.

Nakato Japanese Restaurant

2615 S. Glenstone Ave.,
Springfield, 417-881-7171
Open for lunch Sun., 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; Mon.–Fri, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Open for dinner Sun., 4:30–9 p.m.; Mon.–Fri., 4:30–10 p.m.; Sat., 4–
10 p.m.
$–$$

The first place I ever ate in Springfield was Nakato Japanese Restaurant. I was in the process of moving here—van full of furniture in tow—and my parents and sisters had come along for the ride from St. Louis. Somehow we found our way to Nakato, and we were so glad we did. The performance-style hibachi dinner really hit the spot that day. I was a newbie to town, but it wasn’t long before I learned that Nakato had been a longtime favorite among Springfieldians.

It still is, of course. It has great hibachi with skilled chefs who can put on a show, top-notch sushi and even a sushi boat presentation (the only one in town).
Until recently, though, you could only get those delicious goodies at dinnertime. Now, Nakato is open for lunch Sunday through Friday. So I paid a midday visit for a review update.
I stopped in on a Friday around noon. The restaurant wasn’t packed, but it had a decent crowd of diners with chopsticks in hand, looking satisfied.
I usually order sushi, but today I opted for some tasty hibachi from the teppan yaki table. I picked the chicken and steak combination, which came with stir-fried noodles, fried rice, grilled vegetables, a side salad and (of course) chicken and steak.

Everything was delicious. Both the chicken and the steak (but especially the steak) were cooked perfectly and came to me juicy and tender. Surprisingly, the veggies might have been my favorite part, as they were perfectly grilled. For a veggie combo that’s just zucchini, carrots and onions, it packed a lot of flavor.
I ate my salad, meat, veggies and noodles, but I was too stuffed to even touch the fried rice. I took it home for later.

As far as toppings go, I was given a thin, brown, soy sauce–based dipping sauce and seafood sauce (also known as orange sauce, Nakato’s sauce or perhaps just “sauce,” as it’s ubiquitous enough—like Cher—to go by just one name around here). People love that stuff. It tastes good on the meat, veggies, noodles and rice. A true all-purpose condiment that’s pretty irresistible. If I didn’t already love the delightful ginger salad dressing so much, I might even be tempted to drizzle a little seafood sauce on my salad. But, the ginger dressing over a bed of crisp lettuce is just too tasty to skip.

My combination rang in at $15.50. There’s an additional charge to upgrade your steak to filet mignon. That $15.50 price tag might seem a little steep for lunchtime, but not everything on the menu is like that. If you don’t get a combination, the teppan yaki meals cost as little as $8.50 for veggies and $9.50 for chicken. Plus, you don’t just get food with your hibachi order at Nakato. You get a show.

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