(Note: According to Winny's Facebook page, Aug. 26 will be the restaurant's final day of business.)
You may not realize it, but if you regularly cruise down Delaware Avenue in Kenmore, you’ve probably passed a chance at great hibachi a dozen times.
Winny’s Seafood & Steakhouse is nestled into a plaza between Columbia and East Girard boulevards. Its nondescript sign forces the restaurant’s facade to conform to other businesses’ appearances in the strip, but once you scope it out, you will be a repeat customer.
What appears to be a storefront from the outside opens to a large eating area and counter. It’s surprising how roomy it is. Menu boards above the counter and bright pink paper menus at the cash register aid in the food selection, but the staff is happy to answer any questions, as well.
The 15 Japanese hibachi-style meals range from $6.25 to $9.95. Diners are certain to do a double-take upon reading prices such as $7.95 for shrimp-fried rice or a salmon dinner and $9.95 for a filet mignon dinner.
Once the order is placed, customers can fill their cups from the soda fountain or ice tea containers and take a seat. Tables are arranged in a long, straight line along the wall across from the counter. Over the hum of conversation, the sizzling of the food being cooked to order and the ensuing aromas fill the dining area.
Meals are served in Styrofoam containers with three compartments for fried rice, meat and veggies. Two sauces – a tangy seafood dip and a savory ginger drizzle – are on the side for extra flavor.
The chicken dinner ($6.95) was accompanied by a mix of broccoli, mushroom, zucchini and carrots. The chicken was plentiful and lightly seared, with a light taste rather than that heavy, greasy, deep-fried feel that often comes with Asian-American cuisine. The rice had a stick-to-your-fork texture and also was heaped in a generous portion.
The steak dinner ($8.50) shared the same sides as the chicken, and the steak was perfectly prepared. Ordered well-done, it was cooked thoroughly, but it still retained its tenderness, juiciness and flavor.
More than a dozen side orders range in price from $1.50 for white rice to $7.50 for 4 ounces of filet mignon. Seafood is also abundant on the menu, including tuna (5 ounces for $5.25), salmon (5 ounces for $4.95), scallops (4 ounces for $6.50) and calamari (5 ounces for $4.95).
With its quick prep times (we waited about 10 minutes), Winny’s is a great place to visit when heading home from work and suddenly deciding, “I really don’t want to cook tonight.” The restaurant also welcomes call-ahead takeout orders, so customers are encouraged to take a menu with them.
Those looking for a quick lunch may take advantage of Winny’s $3.99 lunch special from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The meal includes vegetable- or chicken-fried rice with a beverage.
If you’re searching for a new taste experience, Winny’s is well worth a slower drive down Delaware. Look for the sign in the plaza, don’t let “hibachi” or “steakhouse” intimidate you and you’ll discover a new favorite.
3189 Delaware Ave., Kenmore (464-3814)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes.