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Jon Knutson, Published May 15 2009

Sushi and a show

Last fall, a group of Japanese restaurateurs on the East Coast came to Fargo because they saw opportunity here.

Now, after months of snowstorms, flood and renovation, they’ve opened Kobe’s in the former Mandarin Chinese location near West Acres.

“This is a sophisticated, special restaurant. We think people will be impressed,” said Michael Cjem, manager of Kobe’s.

The restaurant specializes in teppanyaki and sushi. Its menu includes steak, chicken, seafood and vegetable items.

Teppanyaki refers to the practice of grilling at the diners’ table.

The chef who prepares the food at the table also puts on a show that includes juggling and jokes.

“They are trained to be both chef and entertainer,” Cjem said.

Lunch generally costs about $7 to $9 per person and dinner about $10 to $20 per person, he said.

The menu includes seafood salad for $3.95, the Godzilla Roll (“spicy tuna inside with avocado and tobiko on top”) for $10.95 and lobster tail and shrimp for $27.95.

Jacky Lin and Kobe Lin, after whom the restaurant is named, own the restaurant and work at it.

They said they were involved with Japanese restaurants on the East Coast but moved to Fargo to fill what they felt was unmet demand for their style of food.

“The owners came here with a great vision, and they’ve worked hard to make this happen,” said Dan Clark, project manager for Fargo’s Robert Gibb & Sons, a mechanical contractor that helped the restaurant get up and running.

Clark said he eats regularly at the restaurant and encourages other people to patronize it.

Kobe’s has 15 employees, all of whom are trained in preparing and serving Japanese food, Cjem said.

He encouraged potential patrons, especially ones unfamiliar with teppanyaki and sushi, to check out the restaurant’s Web site, www.kobes


“We are finding that many people here already know and enjoy our style of food,” he said.

Business profile: Kobe’s

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530