Jinbeh Japanese Restaurant

Sushi chefs use fresh fish every day to make sushi.

Sushi chefs use fresh fish every day to make sushi.

When Aya Matsuda took over Jinbeh Japanese Restaurant in 2003, she said she had no idea what she was getting herself into. But she said she knew she wanted to be part of a business that has brought honor to her family, and she wanted to make her father proud.

“My father is from Japan, and he wanted to bring a traditional Japanese-style restaurant to the Dallas area,” Aya said.

Ben Matsuda, Aya’s father, opened Jinbeh in Las Colinas in 1988. Jinbeh offers traditional Japanese dishes, such as shabu shabu—or thinly cut boiled beef—and Sukiyaki—a soup or stew-type dish.

Aya said the name Jinbeh was once a common surname among Japanese farmers and peasants during the feudal medieval ages of Japan. She said her father chose the name for the restaurant to symbolize the core values of what the name represented: humility, honesty and hard work.

“He came from a poor family, and he created all of this and was successful; the name for him is a daily reminder of where he came from,” Aya said.

Given the success of the Las Colinas restaurant, Ben opened a second location in Lewisville in 1999 and a third location in Frisco in 2003. That year Aya took over the entire business right after graduating college.

[g-slider gid="97490" width="100%" height="55%"]

Years later Aya is still running Jinbeh’s three locations, and there are future plans to open a fourth, just as her father wanted, she said. Ben is retired now, but Aya still consults with him about operations.

Aya said the Frisco location is by far the most successful restaurant.

Aya said what sets Jinbeh apart from similar restaurants is its creative approach. Sushi chefs and staff are encouraged to think of new sushi creations. The same goes for the customers.

“If [customers can] create their own rolls, and if we like it we put it up on the board. And if enough people order it we then transfer it to our permanent menu,” Aya said.

A customer created one of the restaurant’s most popular rolls, the Dallas Back 9 ($16). The roll includes shrimp tempura, crab, cream cheese and jalapeno topped with salmon, guacamole, spicy mayo and eel sauce.

Jinbeh’s Sunshine Roll ($14) speaks to the restaurant’s creative approach because of its presentation. Rolls are stacked in a pyramid and sauces are used to design a sun around the rolls. The rolls consist of shrimp tempura topped with crab, spicy mayo and sriracha sauce.

Every chef is encouraged to design every plate to the finest quality, Aya said.

The hibachi grill is also a customer favorite, in part because of the chefs’ personalities and the experiences they offer customers.

“Every chef has his own show, and they practice new [tricks],” she said. “I think that’s why we’re very popular for birthdays and special occasions.”

Jinbeh also features specialty drinks. The Thin Mint Cookie-tini ($10) is Jinbeh’s version of a holiday martini. The drink consists of Godiva Liqueur, Kahlua, Baileys butterscotch, peppermint schnapps and whip cream.

It was only supposed to be a holiday drink, but so many customers ordered the drink year-round that Aya said she decided to add it to the permanent menu.

Another customer favorite is the Yuzu-Citrini ($10). Aya calls it Jinbeh’s best martini. It consists of Japanese citrus with fresh mint leaves, lemons and oranges topped with lemonade.

Aya said every customer who walks through the door can expect a family-oriented and passionate atmosphere.

“What keeps me going every day is meeting new people and seeing the people I’ve met that continuously come to visit us,” Aya said. “To feed them and put smiles on their faces is such an honor.”

By Nicole Luna
Nicole Luna is the Senior Reporter for Frisco. She covers development, transportation, education, business and city government. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Spanish from The University of Texas at Arlington and has been with Community Impact Newspaper since June 2015.