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Mr. Robata brings Sophisticated Japanese to the Theater District » the strong buzz, by andrea strong
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“Mr. Robata brings Sophisticated Japanese to the Theater District”

Though it’s hard to say the restaurant name without getting Styx stuck in your head (Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto!), chef Masaki Nakayama (formerly of Flatiron’s Komegashi) gives theater district diners plenty to sing about. His newly opened Mr. Robata brings haute French-influenced Japanese cuisine to the heart of Broadway. After training with Naomichi Yasuda (Sushi Yasuda) and learning French technique from Paul Liebrandt (Corton), Nakayama developed a unique signature style that’s reflected in contemporary fusion dishes.

The menu begins with assorted skewers, made using a rustic Japanese charcoal grilling technique called “robata.” The delicately flavored organic vegetables ($5-$8), prime meats ($8-$24) and fresh seafood ($8-$14/MP for lobster) can be amplified with sauces like passion fruit ponzu and creamy remoulade. Appetizers include Japanese-style tapas, such as spicy tuna escargot with candied orange and homemade choux pastry ($16), “WAYGU” beef sliders ($16) and Asian-style roasted duck breast with sautéed foie gras ($22).

Sushi chef Kenichi Ogawa offers new interpretations of traditional rolls and inspired creations like the Dreams Come True, a lobster tempura, caviar, coconut, mango and avocado roll, wrapped in orange soy-paper and touched with yuzu miso and spicy sriracha ($34). Entrées of Tasmanian Salmon ($28), Miso Fondue ($32) and Baby Lamb Chops ($34) best reflect the restaurant’s French influence, while beverage consultant Sara Ikegami pairs sakes, cocktails and wines with equal panache. For dessert, inventive house specialties include Eggplant Compote, Lychee Zenzai and Orange Scented Chocolate Mousse (all $7). 

Mr. Robata is located at 1674 Broadway, between 52nd and 53rd Streets, 212.757.1030 

—Megan Murphy

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