Tenji Hibachi Express & Sushi

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Tenji exterior

Japanese food has come to the Hoffner/Belle Isle neighborhood in the form of Tenji Hibachi Express & Sushi, The Express part should convey that this is not a full service restaurant but rather a fast-casual concept. You should also take it as an indicator that the food is modest.

Tenji occupies a sizable storefront facing Conway Road just a couple of doors down from the first Tacos el Rancho.

The menu is also ambitious, with numerous noodle and teriyaki options, nigirzushi and specialty sushi rolls, and of course hibachi entrees, though they're cooked for you in the back rather than you doing it at your table.

Tenji shumai

I started with the Shumai appetizer, which seemed to a dumpling stuffed with more dumpling. Dissecting one piece, I was able to spot tiny flecks of what appeared to be shrimp. One good-sized shrimp could last all day.

Tenji tuna roll

My Spicy Tuna Roll was OK, especially when considering the $4.95 cost. It featured a mushed tuna with crunchy tempura flakes and nori wrapped in sesame-dotted sushi rice. The eight pieces were cut into coins --

quarter size, not half dollar.

Tenji hibachi

The Chicken Hibachi was as plain as plain can be, nubs of breast meat on top of plain rice with steamed broccoli florets. Liberal squirts of mayonnaise-based white sauce from the plastic bottle helped a lot.

Tenji room

Once she looked up from her phone and noticed a customer was standing there, the young woman at the counter was friendly and efficient. There are many tables available for dining in; there is also a sushi bar that was unstaffed during my visit (sushi was rolled in the back).

Tenji -- the word means exhibition -- will appeal to Belle Islanders who want a taste of food with Japanese names without a long wait.

Tenji Hibachi Express & Sushi is at 4401 Hoffner Ave., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-826-1489.