Our latest issue out now!Fall 2016
SIGNATURE COCKTAILS, FRESH SUSHI, & A MODERN VIBE
Having spent many a frenetic evening in this location for past team parties and other kid-oriented get-togethers, I am amazed at how the space has been changed to accommodate Mizu, RSM’s latest addition to their restaurant lineup.
The designers did a great job of opening up what was once a very crowded space. Modern flair mixed with traditional seating elements and a cool, blue lighting effect, make Mizu inviting, while still maintaining a hip edginess. The restaurant has a dedicated bar area with a TV and a few tall tables that are available on a first-come basis. The main dining area has a substantial number of tables, and the back of the space is anchored by one of the larger sushi bars I have seen in the OC. A couple more flat-screens round out the appropriately minimized sports coverage. An outdoor area has some comfortable couch seating, as well as a few tables and the now-mandatory “vortex” fire towers.
The house music featured a wide range of styles, leaning more toward ambient, ultra lounge, and trance as the evening went on. Not too loud to inhibit conversation, and definitely complementing the overall look and feel. A DJ picks the mix Thursday through Saturday and I look forward to seeing how that influences the music selection and the energy of the place.
The modern take on the interior design extends to the mixology at Mizu and our table dove right into the fray with some of the signature cocktails. Many of the drinks on the list are traditional, but with an Asian twist, or at the very least, a name more suited to the style of the place. We tried the Mizu Delight, the OC Sake Tini, the Tokyo Ricky and the Kochino Shima. All very good, with the latter being an organic ginger cane version of a Moscow Mule that is delicious. Bonus points for having the drink recommended by local celebrity Nick Roux, who you might have seen in the movie Lemonade Mouth or more recently, an episode of Pretty Little Liars. As far as other adult beverages, there is a decent wine list and a dozen or so sakes to choose from, many of them by the glass. The beer selection is standard and includes the usual suspects, such as Sapporo and Asahi.
The appetizers offered some interesting choices not generally seen at other sushi restaurants. The crispy rice with spicy tuna was delicious, with a combination of textures and flavors to set it apart. The mixed tempura was also quite good, with a crispiness that seems elusive for many other restaurants. Lastly, the popcorn shrimp were hot and crispy, and provided plenty for sharing with a group. We didn’t get to the fusion-style appetizers like the sashimi and mango, nor the salads, but interesting choices abound.
Now to the main event! The menu featured colorful photos of many of the specialty rolls, causing us to order a few of those, as well as some slightly more traditional rolls, and a couple of hand rolls. In fairly quick succession we enjoyed the Butterfly, Yami Yami, and Rainbow Blossom rolls, the latter winning for best presentation, though there was competition! In the increasingly popular realm of the “off the menu” menu, we also enjoyed yellowtail sashimi with truffle oil. An interesting combination, to be sure, but one that I would seek out again for its combination of clean flavors combined with the richness of the oil. One area of the menu that remained undiscovered was the Korean BBQ and I look forward to exploring that on a future visit.
In order to cap off this experience appropriately, we decided to share a tempura ice cream – green tea ice cream covered with tempura batter and fried. As an Asian twist on a classic Baked Alaska, it worked brilliantly to complete a dinner that felt decidedly indulgent.
We found the service at Mizu to be friendly and more than competent, a welcome departure from what many fledgling restaurants suffer. But, to be fair, this is no fledgling. As part of a larger restaurant group with several California locations, Mizu comes out of the gate looking polished and ready for prime time. An interesting space, excellent sushi, unique cocktails, and great service all make Mizu deserving of a spot in your sushi restaurant rotation, as well as your “cool place to hang out” rotation.
Mizu Sushi Bar & Grill is located at 22431 Antonio Parkway, Suite B-110, in RSM. You can reach them at 949-297-6498