Hibachi, sushi — Japanese restaurant opens in Lewiston

LEWISTON — Watch a chef dice, chop and roll raw fish or watch a chef play with fire.

Sea 40

40 East Ave. (Lewiston Mall, next to ACS)

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday noon to 11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

FMI: 795-6888

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Ming Huang cooks on the hibachi while giving his lunch customers a show at Sea 40 in Lewiston on Friday.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

A spicy tuna roll is one of the dishes made at the Sea 40 sushi bar on East Avenue in Lewiston.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The interior of Sea 40 restaurant at 40 East Ave. in Lewiston features a large, four-sided marble-topped bar with a TV view from every seat, beaded curtains and hanging lanterns. Renovations inside the former Ames department store space took six months.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Ming Huang entertains lunchtime patrons while cooking on the hibachi at Sea 40 restaurant in Lewiston on Friday.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Black and orange roll is one of the offerings made at the Sea 40 sushi bar in Lewiston.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

A "volcano" erupts on the hibachi grill at Sea 40 restaurant on East Avenue in Lewiston.

At Sea 40, it's your pick.

The city's new Japanese restaurant opened Thursday, part sushi bar, part hibachi grill, in former Ames department store space on East Avenue. The tall ceiling has been painted black with exposed ductwork, a wall has been added with thousands of pebbles laid by hand and multicolored lights ease on and off for a big-city vibe.

There's table space for diners seeking privacy or a quick bite, manager Franki Tam said, a half-dozen seats in front of a sushi chef and a room of hibachi out back: Six tables, 20 seats and two grills each.

"You have the food, you have the entertainment also," Tam said. "The chefs will cook but they don't just cook.

"They flip the knife, they flip the eggs." Take a zucchini, dice it up. "They tell the customer, 'Open your mouth.' The ocean park, like the dolphin? Just like that."

The restaurant serves lunch and dinner seven days a week, and offers takeout and lunch specials. The sushi bar has offerings like sunburn tuna sashimi, sea cevichi and chirashi. Entrees range from $13 to $22, with soup and salad. Hibachi entrees range from $13 to $28, from vegetables to twin lobster tail, with salad, soup, rice and appetizer.

Hibachi dining is family-style with parties seated together around the big tables.

"You can make a new friend," Tam said.

Between entertainment and eating, a meal in the hibachi room takes about an hour, he said. Diners pressed for time can order off the hibachi menu in the main dining room.

Extensive renovations took six months, Tam said. A large, four-sided, marble-topped bar sits just inside the entryway, with a TV view from every seat. Around Sea 40, there are beaded curtains, hanging lanterns and a man-sized Buddha, bathed in light.

Tam said the name is a nod to the address, 40 East Ave., to the menu — much of it comes from the sea — and to the future.

"In the Asian culture, water, the meaning is money," he said.

He's hoping for a successful go.

"People are coming, looking around, it's W-O-W, wow," Tam said. "They see all the decorations. A few people have asked, 'Do I think it's too high class for Lewiston?' Even in this economy, there's still a lot of people working around here."

Tam said he did plenty of research. He liked the size of the population and that there wasn't another hibachi restaurant for miles. He moved from Brooklyn, N.Y., to be manager and he's hired a staff of 15. Tam said Sea 40 is owned by a New York woman. This is her first restaurant.

"I'm very confident," Tam said. "(Maine) is beautiful, all the people are nice. Honestly, there's not too much competition."

kskelton@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Mike Lachance's picture

QUOTE: "I'm very confident,"

QUOTE:
"I'm very confident," Tam said. "(Maine) is beautiful, all the people are nice. Honestly, there's not too much competition."

Besides my price-point comments below... i do agree with the manager. And that might just be enough for the place to survive...

But i still say the prices are a tad too high for L.A....

We'll see.

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

Not for everyone

A lot of our neighbors have become Walmart-ized. They want an unrealistically low price no matter who has to be exploited to get it. For those of us who are willing to trade off by going out a little less but having better food when we do go out, and be able to have a clear conscience, and still under $20.00 a plate, is a great deal.

Mike Lachance's picture

As opposed to wanting an

As opposed to wanting an unrealistically high price no matter who has to be exploited to get it?
Prices stated in article range up to $28 a plate. when you budget in a drink (even just one) on top of that, plus tip... well...

ya...

Better food? No, "better food" isn't worth THAT. Perhaps some of us know better?

Quite simply, i'm tired of the canned corporate chain joints, Ruby Tues., TGIF, Longhorn, 99, Applebees... In that regard, '40 Sea' is a great thing, but we shouldn't be collectively raped for it because "frankly there is no competition"... which is exactly WHY the prices are so high.

My 2, 4 and 6 cents.

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

Now this is a good argument

Thank you Mike, for being willing to disagree and discuss without making personal slams. Refreshing! Anyway, I disagree that the high prices are unrealistic. It's expensive to serve good food that's fresh, as opposed to slabs of frozen things that were prepped ahead of time in a factory situation. And people need to get paid for their work. We ate a belated Valentine dinner at Niky's last week. It was $18.00 a plate and well worth it. But on a Wednesday night the customers were not beating down the door, so I guess a lot of people must agree with you. More's the pity.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Grrrrrrr....

I meant, do they serve people of all ages, not do they serve old people. Might be kinds tough.

JOHN PAINTER's picture

My wife, son and I went to

My wife, son and I went to Sea 40 tonight. My son is 9 and he loved the Chefs and the food, he now wants to go back for his birthday, We ate hibachi (my wife and i will go out for sushi alone sometime) and I had the chicken, my wife had the salmon and my son had the kids steak hibachi and everything cost $47.10 not including the tip, we had a great time! I don't think this was expensive and way more fun than the run of the mill Applebies or TGI's. I don't know if little kids would like it, there are flames shooting up, smoke Chefs chopping fresh food and tossing bits of food to customers across the grill, it's hibiachi as I remembered it. Like I said, this helps make Lewiston more vibrant and a place to go. Yes it's in he old Ames store, but until you go inside you really can't imagine what they've done.

Mike Lachance's picture

Great review. Thanks for

Great review. Thanks for that... Sounds like theyre doing it thr right way.

But by your tab for (3), it works out to about $65 before the tip for a family of (4). Ehhh....
I'll pass. I know what I'll be missing, and thats too bad, but the price point is just a bit beyond "reasonable".

 's picture

lol

lol

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Raw fish is great!

As long as you know where it comes from. I might give this a try. Do they serve old people?

JOHN PAINTER's picture

Welcome to town Sea 40! This

Welcome to town Sea 40! This is exactly the type of thing which attracts and keeps young people in Lewiston, and Maine. We need more variety around here. Hibachi style eating is not about gulping down deep fried calories. It's been awhile since I've ate hibachi style, but the prices listed are anything but expensive - good hibachi is both entertaining and healthy. Can't wait to get over there.

Mike Lachance's picture

The Prices listed ARE

The Prices listed ARE expensive. I love sushi and I love Japanese Hibachi with talented chefs. It is entertainment, for sure (if they are good) but the price point listed here is too high for L.A. This isn't Portland, and certainly not Boston.

The location, at the Lewiston Mall does not generally attract the high dollar shoppers... (Sears is about as high class as that corner gets)... I would go dine at Sea 40 tommorrow if not for the price. As it is, my family and I are in economy mode these days. It's unfortunate we will not be going to this establishment, because, as I ve stated Japanese Hibachi is wonderful.

Lower the prices and this restauarant will be a success.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Brilliance of Capitalism

That is the brilliance of capitalism. If they are too expensive, they’ll be out of business. Let time decide.

 's picture

Price

Kinda expensive for today's economy...

Mike Lachance's picture

Our family of 4 ate at

Our family of 4 ate at Governor's tonite. Not an expensive restaurant by any measure. just basic food. But even with no beer or wine ordered, the bill was $47.00 That's too much money for my comfort zone, and at a restaurant that ISNT expensive. I would venture to guess that most folks would agree... unless they were very well off.

We try to eat at home more these days because the prices even at the affordable places (Governor's etc) are just too high...

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