Thursday, May 10, 2012 | 3:30 p.m.
Just one week ago, Wynn re-opened its Japanese restaurant (formerly Okada) as Mizumi. Returning to lead the way is chef Devin Hashimoto, formerly of the fine dining paragon Alex. With the same chef in the same space, we have to wonder: is this change a real refreshing, or just a new name on an old package? We talked to Hashimoto to get to the bottom of this change-up, and it turns out there are three things you need to know about Mizumi.
1. It looks like a completely different restaurant, but it’s still fancy. “We had two private dining rooms toward the back and we opened those up. Now we have 40 more seats, a lot more energy, and some really nice views of the big waterfall,” Hashimoto said. “We’re not moving away from fine dining at all, it’s just that with the energy of the room and the openness, it’s a lot more alive.” The décor has been redone with bright red and gold accents, sparking the energy.
2. Hashimoto is keeping the menu fresh, literally. “There was no directive for me here, just to do the same food we did before and keep it exciting. We offer a six-course omakase menu, which allows us to offer a longer, refined experience, and we have a lot of flexibility to work with seasonal ingredients. If corn comes in next week, if we get some great king salmon from Washington, we can change it up and offer a nice variety.” Seasonal ingredients always were a big deal at Alex, and the chef will be carrying that over at Mizumi.
3. There’s a bit of island style. Hashimoto, a native Hawaiian, opened with a new sushi item: poke. “It’s bigeye tuna from Hawaii, inamona—which is the candlestick nut, a very traditional ingredient—and then some fresh ogo (seaweed), red salt, Maui onion, a little bit of soy sauce and sesame oil, all on sushi rice with these individually seasoned Korean nori sheets.” It’s no wonder this light, spring-to-summer dish is already one of Mizumi’s top sellers.