Restaurant Review: Sozo Grill
Sozo Grill is a new counter service restaurant in Briarwood Mall offering hibachi-style food. Sky Chen owns and operates Sozo Grill. Chen also owns and operates Ann Arbor’s Ichiban restaurant. They opened at the end of February 2017.
Sozo Grill Food
Sozo Grill offers Hibachi style food made to order. They have small plates, salads, entrees, and a kids menu.
The small plate menu offers appetizer type options. Since we were having a late lunch, my daughter asked for the Edamame small plate to start our meal. I asked to have the small plates brought out early. The edamame pods are boiled, coated in sea salt, and served cold. The portion was large enough that we brought some home.
My husband also suggested adding the gyoza small plate. They were lightly fried and served with a sweet chili sauce. A vegetarian version is also available.
Both single entrees and combo meals area available. All of the entrees include your choice of rice – white, brown, or fried. My husband and I both opted for combos…Steak and Shrimp and Chicken and Shrimp Combos. We both selected fried rice.
When we dine out for hibachi, usually the rice, vegetables, and meat are cooked at separate times. Either I eat them in phases or the first items are cold by the time the last item is cooked. At Sozo Grill, all of our food came out hot at the same time.
Our dishes were delicious and large. I had some rice left with my meal, which I combined with my daughter’s leftovers to make her a school lunch. I would order any of the 3 meats again, either individually or in combination. They also offer salmon, scallops, and filet mignon.
My daughter ordered the Kids Chicken Hibachi. Even at 11 the portion was large enough for her to have extra fried rice and some extra vegetables. She took the leftovers to school on Monday for lunch (with some added chicken strips from home).
Kids can also choose Shrimp Hibachi or Steak Hibachi. My daughter tried a shrimp from my husband’s combo. She declared it the best shrimp she has ever had. Next time, she may order the Kids Shrimp Hibachi.
My daughter was happy to see the container of Yum Yum sauce. She loves the Yum Yum Sauce when we dine out for hibachi. They also have soy sauce packets available. Chop Sticks are available as well as utensils depending on your preference. My daughter did say that it would be nice if the ginger sesame sauce served at Ichiban was also available.
Our Thoughts on Sozo Grill
We all loved our meal at Sozo Grill. My daughter’s quote “If you like Asian food, you’ll love Sozo Grill”. It has replaced Panda Express as her go-to suggestion for a quick meal at Briarwood Mall.
Sozo Grill has a bright, modern atmosphere. For families, the biggest downside is their seating. Most of the seating is tables for 2. There is also a larger table at bar height which can be difficult with young kids. The restaurant was empty when we arrived (1:30p). We pushed two individual tables together to seat the 3 of us.
While I love Hibachi meals, part of the draw is watching the show. So, I was disappointed that Sozo Grill does not have an open kitchen concept.
Our meal was $40 for the 3 of us which is a little expensive for counter service. However, we ordered 2 small plates (appetizers) and both my husband and I ordered combo meals. Without the appetizers and ordering single meat entrees, our meal would have been considerably less expensive. The individual entrees were reasonably priced for counter service restaurant.
Our service was excellent. The staff at the counter was friendly and helpful. At our request, they even brought our small plates out to us as soon as they were ready. My only complaint is that all of the food is served on disposable plastic. I wish they used reusable plates for in restaurant dining. Alternatively, it would be nice if they offered recycling for the plastic containers.
I also discovered that the plastic containers are not microwave safe. Fortunately I used a bowl to heat my daughter’s leftovers to take to school in a Thermos. But,there was a small extra portion that did not fit. I tried to reheat the remainders for myself in the takeout container. The container softened and collapsed in the microwave.
Sozo Grill Location
Sozo Grill is located in Briarwood Mall. They are located in the JC Penney wing next to Tricho Salon near MC Sports and Olga’s Kitchen.