After an exciting purchase at Best Buy, I wanted to celebrate with a restaurant outing and I offered all the local possibilities to my girlfriend, and she chose Mizu, which was right next to Best Buy and the new Plato's Closet (across from the loop on the Osceola Parkway side).
My two points of comparison for Japanese fare will be Sushi Katana at Millenia (no hibachi) and Benihana (hibachi) at International.
The restaurant's decor needs some work to make it more appealing and some of the booths need some upholstery done. That first impression coupled with an unexciting non-hibachi menu for people who don't eat seafood (my girlfriend) was making us nervous. My girlfriend would have settled for teriyaki something, which is not exactly her favorite. She was looking forward to some Sushi Katana-style beef strips over brown rice, but we didn't see anything in the menu that looked like it. So, I decided to switch to hibachi dining, show and all, and that was a great decision!
The show was frankly much better than Benihana's (and I've gone multiple times for work-sponsored lunches), with the usual repertoire of hibachi tricks plus a couple of new things. The knife/tools juggling was flawless and the chef was energetic and seemed to have a good time.
I ordered shrimp hibachi and my girlfriend went for chicken hibachi. The portions were very generous and the fried rice was very, very tasty. They also threw some noodles in the mix! There was more food than we could handle, but that's always good for tomorrow's lunch! Unfortunately, we forgot the leftovers, but oh well.
Now, the fried ice cream needs some improvement. Compared to Sushi Katana's, it was sub-par. The balance between the cold and the hot, the frozen and the melting was not achieved. The ice cream inside was very hard, to the point of making the dessert involve more effort than needed. It was also not beautifully presented with the swirls of chocolate or similar chef-inspired flair.
However, all considered, I was glad we went for hibachi and it was a fun and tasty experience. I still prefer Sushi Katana for couples and a more elegant and exotic trip to Japanese cuisine, but for a family or group outing, I will visit Mizu again.
With just a couple more touches (decor, furniture, fried ice cream, friendlier bento boxes for non-seafood lovers), this could be our favorite Japanese restaurant.
If you are by the Loop, and want to rest from all that shopping and get some hibachi, drop by!
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