Benihana’s Sushi and Sake 101 Class, Atlanta, GA

This is an old post – nearly two years old, in fact. I thoroughly enjoyed this evening. The sushi making class was fun, but it is a great memory I have with my friend, Kim. Kim died one year ago today. I miss her dearly, but I have many, many wonderful memories with her. So important to make time for our friends. Just wanted to share…

Benihana had their first ever Sushi and Sake class in Atlanta this July. The class size which consisted of about 24 attendees took place at Benihana’s Alpharetta location. So pleased that I was invited to attend.

First things first, we ordered a drink. Our choices were the Blue moon Saketini, Mojito, Pomegranate Shochu or the Mango Saketini. My friend, Kim, had he Mojito and I chose the Pomegranate Shochu. Shochu is a liquor that seems to be gaining popularity in Japanese restaurants of late. It is a barley based liquor, often thought of as an alternative to Vodka.

We met our table mates and chatted for a while and then were brought a tray of sushi samplers. I had totally assumed we would be making the sushi and then feasting on what we had made. So, this was an unexpected pleasure to be treated to these sushi favorites before hand. The platter consisted of:

  • Alaska Roll
  • California Roll
  • Caterpillar Roll
  • Crunch Roll
  • Philly Roll
  • Rainbow Roll
  • and Shrimp Lovers

After we were finished eating our Sushi, we were introduced to the chef at Benihana who would be instructing us, a couple managers who would be working their way around the tables to make sure we were on the the right track with our sushi-making abilities as well as the Beverage manager who gave us a brief introduction to sushi. We were also each given a tray with all the necessary food items to make our sushi rolls, a sushi mat and cutting board.

Some tidbits about sushi:

  • Most common form is Nigiri (pressed sushi rice and topped with sliced fish or seafood)
  • It is completely ok to use your hands when eating sushi
  • Rice for sushi must me made each day or it doesn’t hold up well
  • When making sushi you should always use short grain rice
  • It is the vinegar in sushi that helps it stick to the nori

Next we watched the chef as he constructed the California roll and rolled it in the mat. Getting the roll just right is slightly tricky. The most common problem was not rolling it enough to make sure each side was completely covered in rice. Otherwise when you lift it onto the cutting board the insides will fall out. And the trick to cutting the sushi is dipping your knife in water before you make each slice.

Lucky for us, that was the hardest roll to make of the evening. Next up was the Nigiri, which is just a piece of fish laid over rice. My “syllabus” for the “course” says “If sushi is art, then nigiri is finger painting.” Lastly, we created a spicy tuna hand roll, which is simply like a bouquet.

Here’s what I created during the class. How’d I do?

It was a fun night had by all. I learned some new things about sushi, got to meet some cool people and most importantly, I ate well! The class is only $35 (full disclosure – I attended for free to review) but well worth the money for what you get. The platter of food is a great start which is accompanied by a complimentary cocktail. Then you get to taste 4 different types of sake AND all the sushi you make yourself is yours to take home as well. Benihana even gave us all lunch certificates for two to come back.

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Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!