Nearest the garden entrance and opposite the bar is Mizumi’s gleaming robatayaki counter, where refined simplicity is on display. Here fresh ingredients are grilled over a Binchotan charcoal grill and served exactly at the moment they are ready. Barbecue aficionados know that the fuel of the fire imparts something to the food. “The Binchotan charcoal makes a huge difference,” explains Hashimoto. Imported from Japan, it is made of oak without any chemical additives and it has a long burn, making it well suited for use in a restaurant. Robatayaki relies heavily on the quality of the ingredients and Hashimoto has sourced exceptional product like organic Jidori chicken from California, and Alaskan king crab. Here the seasonal vegetables are farm- (or ocean-) to-grill. Most robatayaki offerings employ skewers, for ease of cooking, serving, and eating, with some exceptions. The one-and-a-half-pound Maine lobster is grilled in the shell and served simply with grilled eryngii mushrooms accompanied by sesame goma sauce and a French-style Japanese yuzu butter sauce. Pairing libations at Mizumi is as personal as choosing the experience you will have within the restaurant. Hashimoto likes to drink cold sake with his robata. “I like the contrast of hot and cold,” he explains. Wine manager Louis Hamilton takes the contrast one step further to France with a cold Chablis from Domaine Laroche in Burgundy.
Lobster prepared on Mizumi’s robatayaki grill.