Japanese food goes modern at the Wynn’s Mizumi
Wed, Aug 1, 2012 (4:06 p.m.)
Photo: Christopher DeVargas
- Wynn, 248-3463.
- Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5:30-10:30 p.m.
So I just had dinner at Mizumi, and I’m thinking about two things. First, this restaurant is striking, so red and ornate. Before it closed in February and reopened in May, it was Okada, a beautiful space layered with wood, stone, natural tones. Now, bright with gold trim, decorative masks and tapestries, and cool white chairs and booths with red flower emblems, it feels huge, energetic and open. On a cooler night, an almost-alfresco table near the stunning waterfall is a peerless supper setting.
And that’s just one of the restaurant’s varied spaces. Follow a honey-colored stone path past the winding black bar-top and explore the sushi bar, robatayaki grill, and speckled marble teppanyaki tables. It seems to me this redesign, from the masterful Roger Thomas, might fit better in vibrant Encore than at Wynn, which makes me wonder if these bold strokes are a statement. The dining experience at these two resorts has been besmirched, gossiped about and criticized since before Alex Stratta’s great eponymous restaurant closed in early 2011. Mizumi, thrilling to see and eat, feels like a big, red rebuttal.
Second, it’s a mistake to characterize Stratta’s protégés as just Stratta’s protégés. Chef Dave Middleton is one, but he’s out of the shadow as the force behind a wondrous renaissance at Marche Bacchus. Likewise for Mizumi chef Devin Hashimoto, who deftly balances the fine-dining technique he developed under the master with his own style, a refined yet comfort-oriented approach to modern Japanese.
Witness the deliciously playful “tacos”—crisp taro shells rolled around king crab, crème fraiche and cucumber-melon relish. The modern standard of yellowtail sashimi with sliced jalapeño is rewritten with jalapeño gelée, ginger, soy salt and cilantro oil. Sushi will always be a big part of this menu, but there are surprises: Wagyu tartare with chili and black garlic on brioche croutons, the Japanese seafood-vegetable pancake okonomiyaki and a fusion-y version of Korean bi bim bap—finely chopped tuna, yellowtail and salmon with chili paste and a poached egg over rice, which is mixed together in a hot stone pot that crisps and crusts the rice while you eat. The food is as fun and relaxing as the refreshed look of this stellar new restaurant.