In the world of fast food restaurants, it can be incredibly difficult and frustrating to find suitable options if you have special dietary concerns. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or allergies can all mean that most fast food choices are unsuitable. Hibachi Express is a fast food chain that makes Japanese food. They have a selection of vegetarian and vegan options, plus they make all of their dishes fresh when they are ordered, so they can accommodate certain special diet requests. With several locations in Alabama and Georgia, this small chain offers diners with dietary restrictions in that region a different option for quick, cheap food.
The Hibachi Express Menu: First, let’s take a look at the menu and see what the options are. They have a pretty extensive menu for a fast food restaurant, this is useful for anybody with a dietary restriction, because the more menu categories there are, the more likely you are to find a suitable option for your needs.
Unfortunately, all of the appetizers contain meat, and would be unsuitable for vegetarian or vegan customers. Hopefully that is an oversight that they will notice and correct in the future. But in the mean time, if you do not want meat, you’ll have to skip to the next part of the menu. However, the appetizers provide gluten-free options, including spicy chicken wings, teriyaki chicken skewers and teriyaki beef skewers. These range in price from $2.99 to $5.99, reasonable prices for the size of the portions.
Soup or Salad
This section is a bit friendlier to all dietary requirements. They offer a soup of the day for $1.99, though in my experience, the soup of the day at fast food establishments like Hibachi Express is almost never meat-free. If you are really in the mood for soup, it could be worth asking, however. They offer a selection of salads, one of which is a plain house salad that would be suitable for veggies and vegans with options for salad dressings that would also fit the bill. The salad is only $3.99, making it a great, light lunch option. The other salads would not work for meat-free customers, but would be great for a gluten-free option. These include chicken salad, steak salad and shrimp salad, with prices ranging from $4.99 to $6.99 depending on which meat you chose. Again, these would make a great lunch option, with the addition of the meat, they might even work for a light dinner option, depending on the size of your appetite.
For the main course
There are two types of main dishes at Hibachi Express, the hibachi dishes and the teriyaki rice bowls. Sadly, there is only one vegetarian or vegan option in each category. The vegetable hibachi comes with an assortment of vegetables and fried rice and is served with zucchini, onions and their special sauce. You can get either a half order at $3.50 or a full order at $3.99. For only $0.49 more, I would definitely recommend getting the full order and taking the leftovers home to eat later. Only $0.49 for an entire second meal? Yes, please. The meat-free teriyaki bowl comes with fried rice and an assortment of vegetables prepared in a teriyaki sauce and costs $3.99. Since the portions are generous, this teriyaki bowl is a great deal and could possibly provide you with enough leftovers for a second meal, depending on the size of your appetite. If these two main dish options are not quite enough for you, you can also order extra rice, mushrooms or broccoli on the side for an additional $1.99. For gluten-free customers, luckily every main dish is served with rice, which is naturally gluten-free. On the hibachi menu, gluten-free diners can choose between chicken, steak, shrimp, grouper or scallops. Each hibachi, regardless of which meat you choose, comes served with rice, zucchini, onions and special sauce. The half orders range in price from $4.50 to $7.99 and the full orders range in price from $4.99 to $9.99. Some of the meats have a larger price difference between sizes, so the full orders are still a good deal, but if you are a thrifty customer, you may want to check and see which gives you the best bargain. The teriyaki rice bowls are also naturally gluten-free. Each selection comes with fried rice, teriyaki sauce and your choice of chicken, steak, or shrimp. The price range for these teriyaki rice bowls is from $3.99 to $5.99. With the size of the portions, these are some of the best deals on the menu. If you are gluten-free and have a large appetite, they offer three combo platters: the Land Lover Combo, the Seafood Combo, and the Surf and Turf combo. These are much bigger main dishes and range in price from $8.99 to $10.99.
Something for the kids?
If your child is meat-free, skip Hibachi Express unless they are ready to order something off of the regular menu, the kid’s menu all meat dishes served with french fries. For gluten-free kids, they do offer fried shrimp for $3.99.
Ordering for a large group
Hibachi Express offers a good range of party platters if you are eating with a large group or looking to self-cater an event. The vegetarian and vegan options are limited to fried rice or hibachi mixed vegetables, for $10.99 and $14.99 respectively. So if you are having a gathering of all meat-free diners, this might not be the best choice. However, if you are only expecting one or two meat-free guests, this would be just fine. Gluten-free customers will have a much easier time. The rest of the menu includes chicken wings in sets of 50 or 100 for $19.99 or $39.99. They also offer several hibachi dishes: chicken and broccoli, beef and mushroom, shrimp and broccoli, or scallop and broccoli. These range in price from $24.99 to $39.99.
Give Hibachi Express a try
Even though Hibachi Express has a limited number of vegetarian or vegan dishes, they have enough options for meat-free diners to choose something delicious. They have many options for gluten-free diners, making this an excellent choice for them for a fast food option. The food is reasonably priced, uses strong, Japanese flavors and comes in generous portion sizes. For a fast food restaurant, Hibachi Express does a great job. Stop on by for your next lunch and try a taste of Japanese cuisine. To find out more about their menu and locations, visit www.thehibachiexpress.com.