An unpretentious eatery nestled in suburban Port Royal, South Carolina, Mizu Japanese Restaurant has been wowing the neighborhood with its extensive collection of delicious offerings since opening in 2009. Not a flash in the pan, it has accumulated a steady and loyal cadre of fans. The spacious 5,000-square-foot interior seats up to 140 people and is artfully decorated in a way that helps relax customers. There are two party rooms in the restaurant, one that holds 8 people and another that holds up to 20. Take-out service is also available at Mizu.
The interior of Mizu is decorated like a typical Japanese restaurant and embodies Oriental touches throughout every nook and cranny. The comfortable and homey ambiance is created through combining soft lighting and a neat arrangement of tables and chairs. Diners are invited to share a bounty of delectable sushi and sashimi which channel the chef’s passion and inspiration from the kitchen to each table.
Ken Chen, the owner and chef, finely demonstrates his understanding of his customers by offering a menu jam-packed with his own unique, yet grounded take on culinary trends. Featuring a large selection of sushi and sashimi creations, the restaurant also provides hibachi, and some Chinese and Thai dishes for good measure. Making full use of various ingredients, Mr. Chen has an almost endless amount of tricks up his sleeve which culminate in amazing creations, such as Lobster Cha Cha, Pink Panda, and Filet Mignon Teriyaki. Aside from those wonderful choices, a bevy of Japanese sake is provided to go with the delicate dishes.
Lobster Cha Cha Roll is a cooked roll incorporating lobster tempura, spicy crabmeat, mango slices, and avocado inside, with seaweed on top. Accompanied by special sauce, ginger, and wasabi, the roll has a rich layer of flavor and texture. Many diners trying this roll for the first time are blown away by the way in which the various flavors present are tied together in such a harmonious way.
It is common knowledge that the name of a dish can make a lot of difference in its sales. One of these dishes is Pink Panda, a dish with a name that allows it to stand out while also piquing customer curiosity. First-timers love guessing what Pink Panda looks like and are never disappointed when the dish behind the cute name comes into sight. Mizu’s version of the “Pink Panda” is a flavor-packed invention featuring seaweed, tuna, shrimp, crab leg, and avocado that is seasoned with lobster salad on top.
You should never miss the Filet Mignon Teriyaki, a highly recommended dish favored by regulars. What makes the Filet Mignon Teriyaki outstanding is the tender filet mignon which lies on a bed of green beans and is marinated with various tempting sauces. The dish is then topped off with green and red peppers and decorated with carrots and broccoli to make for a splendid finishing touch.
To better whet the customers’ appetites, some popular Chinese dishes are available for those who seek for something special. Pineapple Chicken is one of the examples. Most of the diners feel amazed that Mizu offers such an array of stunning Chinese dishes. The restaurant’s version of these dishes are a bit different than the versions served in most Chinese restaurants because they are cooked using traditional Japanese cooking methods and thus the flavor is slightly different yet still absolutely delicious.
The special rolls on the sushi bars are updated every other week. Mr. Chen’s creative ideas come from discussions with the other chefs at Mizu, and are bolstered by drawing on various external elements. “Customers get bored when you roll out the same dishes year after year. Restaurants have to change dishes in order to stay ahead of the curve and continue to truly cater to customer needs,” says Mr. Chen.
Customers can always expect to find a pleasant dining environment every time they stop by. The food is clean here and diners can focus on really enjoying their meals knowing that the whole restaurant is cleaned three times a day. Ingredients are picked carefully which count a lot towards making the most out of every dish. Mr. Chen knows that a restaurant never gets a second chance to make a first impression. The shiny tables and chairs make you feel eager to be seated and quickly have a taste of the dishes.
Always an advocate of catering to guests, Chen has hired an outstanding team of local employees who truly understand what area foodies are looking for. Service is as important as food quality at Mizu. Wait staff are familiar with the menu and enjoy recommending dishes to guests unsure of what to order.
Mr. Chen came to the US in 2002 and found work at a Chinese restaurant. In 2003, he began his foray into Japanese cuisine and by 2007 had accumulated enough knowledge and experience to partner with a friend and open up a Japanese restaurant. While business was good, he still longed to open his own restaurant and in 2009 did just that by opening Mizu Japanese Restaurant. Reopening in May, 2011 after a fire destroyed the restaurant’s roof in 2010, foodies flocked back to the restaurant looking for authentic Japanese dishes. In 2012, Chen plans to open another restaurant and will run it the same way he runs Mizu—with an emphasis on quality food and friendly service.
Mizu Japanese Restaurant
Location: 1370 Ribaut Rd. Port Royal, SC 29935
Offers: Dine-in, Take-out
Cuisine: Japanese cuisine, Chinese cuisine, Thai cuisine
Signature Dishes: Pineapple Chicken, Pepper & Salt Shrimp, Lobster Cha-Cha, Pink Panda, Filet Mignon Teriyaki
Year of Establishment: 2009