Shibuya translates the contemporary chic and urban sophistication of its namesake Tokyo neighborhood to the MGM Grand. Under the expertise of Executive Chef Stephane Chevet, the distinctive cuisine showcases the diversity of Japanese cuisine, featuring an array of sushi, “traditional modern” a la carte options and classic Teppanyaki fare. With this diversity in mind, noted architectural team Yabu Pushelberg designed the restaurant with specialized dining areas for showcasing Shibuya’s distinctive culinary creations. A stunning collection of sake, overseen by sake expert John Gauntner, completes the authentic experience.
Shibuya’s décor blends the industrial with the natural for an ambiance that reflects both a timeless beauty and a marked contemporaneity. Large picture windows reference both the glass-fronted skyscrapers of the Tokyo skyline and massive display fish tanks, allowing passersby glimpses inside the restaurant’s bustling and enticing activity. Wooden pillars that resemble seaweed towers encourage the aquatic imagery and create intimate niches for diners in the main dining room. Farther back in the Sushi Bar, a vast marble counter stretches below an expansive “virtual aquarium” for a playfully stylish dining environment ripe for sushi sampling. In a separate area of the restaurant the dramatic Teppan Room’s red lantern lighting, rice paper and wood walls and black marble tables with built-in Teppan grills provide a stunning backdrop for Shibuya’s captivating Teppanyaki dinner spectacle.
On the evening of our visit, we opt for Shibuya’s Teppanyaki experience, which showcases Japan’s distinctive grilling artistry in a theatrical multi-course feast. Shochu cucumber cocktails soon arrive to make our wait even more pleasurable, their crisp, clean taste cleansing our palates in preparation for our amuse bouche of Deep Fried Prawns with Chili Sauce. Doused in bright red chili sauce, the pink curlicue of shrimp reveals a surprisingly crispy, fried texture and subtle sweetness that is well balanced with the sauce’s spiciness.
The Sashimi’s artful presentation encourages a sense of culinary wonder. Thin slices of toro and kanpachi are served on a large Himalayan salt block. An accompanying test tube of lemon oil and yuzu is uncorked tableside and drizzled over the fish. The mastery of this dish lies in the Himalayan salt, which absorbs the moisture from the fish and, over time, gradually increases its saltiness, transforming the flavors subtly and making for a dynamic and surprising dish.
Nestled in a glass cup decorated by colorful orchids and cloaked in a dry ice fog, the Japanese Tofu’s presentation continues the building dining drama. Like the Sashimi, the Tofu is treated to a test tube elixir of ginger infused broth, which coats the silky curd in a pungent, spicy fragrance. Creamy and milky, with a subtle gingery sharpness, the tofu is an unexpectedly flavorful surprise that confounds all preconceptions of this often overlooked and misunderstood food.
The Seaweed Tasting offers similar flavorful revelations, introducing unfamiliar palates to the intricacies of this aquatic green. Four different kinds of seaweed are laid out on the plate, displaying their colorful and textural differences. On the far left, the brown and green Chuka is reminiscent of spinach, with a silken texture and a slight fishy flavor. Accented by bright green edamame, the black Hijiki has an almost dessert-like sweetness, with slight coconut notes. The red and purple Tosaka, on the other hand, returns the palate to savory flavors, reflecting the briney saltiness of the ocean. The green and purple Mixed Shibazuke is mixture of all of the flavors experienced in the previous three seaweed salads: it is nutty and salty, with a miso-like sweetness and a hint of spiciness.
After completing our sampling of Executive Chef Stephane Chevet’s dinner menu, we begin our Teppanyaki experience in earnest. We are first brought an Organic Field Greens Salad and Lobster Miso Soup to tide us over while our Teppan chef fires up the grill. A classic mixed greens salad is given new life with the addition of pickled beets and an apple cider and yuzu dressing. Similarly, traditional miso is revamped by the addition of generous nuggets of lobster meat, imparting a sweetness that undercuts the deep, earthy flavors of the miso broth and shiitake mushrooms.
While snacking on our soup and salad, our attention is captivated by our charming and talented Teppan chef, who begins his intricate culinary ballet, furiously chopping and grilling the meat and seafood, while simultaneously juggling his spatula and the food, with ease. He brings the lobster tail to life, pushing it along the grill’s surface playfully as if it is inching away from the heat, then creates a dynamic onion volcano that spews fire and steam. As entertaining as any show in Vegas, Shibuya’s Teppanyaki experience is a lively display of culinary feats that reminds diners of the wonders and showmanship inherent in true epicurean expertise.
As entrancing as the Teppanyaki performance proves to be, the delicious grilled by-products are no less impressive. We are served a mountain of fresh seafood, Wagyu beef and vegetables, all accompanied by their own individual dipping sauces. Australian Lobster Tail, Scallops, Prawns and Sea Bass are paired with a zesty wasabi mayonnaise dipping sauce, which intensifies the sweet richness of the fish without obscuring their delicate nuances. The buttery, robust Australian Wagyu Skirt Steak is well matched with its pungent peanut sauce, which holds its own against the meat’s heartiness. The citrusy ponzu sauce is an excellent accent to the slight smoky freshness of the grilled broccolini, asparagus, baby zucchini and oyster mushrooms. It is an intensely satisfying assortment of savory treats, showcasing the extremely high quality ingredients used by the Shibuya kitchen.
To balance out the protein feast, our Teppan chef whips up a batch of Fried Rice, cooking each component freshly on the grill. Chicken, shrimp and vegetables are all seared quickly and deftly, followed by a compelling juggling act with an egg that is cracked expertly on the side of the spatula for a stunning finale. The sizzle and crackle of the fried rice mixing with these tasty additions builds the anticipation for the dish’s flavors, which prove to be as satisfying as the visual spectacle. Warm and slightly smoky, with pungent garlic accents, the rice and its generous embellishments show that this dish has the potential to surpass its reputation on the culinary side lines.
Matching the over-the-top decadence of our Teppanyaki experience, we are served a trio of desserts consisting of Blueberry Mochi, Lychee Chocolate Cake and a Yuzu Strawberry Parfait. Made in house, the Blueberry Mochi transform the traditional Japanese ice cream treat with the tart sweetness of blueberry, which blends pleasingly with the slightly floral sweetness of the mochi’s doughy exterior. Similarly, the Lychee Chocolate Cake gives new nuance to a dessert classic: the exotic fruitiness of the lychee lightens the rich creaminess of the chocolate and manages to imbue it with delicacy and freshness. The Yuzu Strawberry Parfait offers a similarly refreshing conclusion to the meal. The citrusy yuzu custard and bright red strawberry coulis are layered on top of one another in a small glass, creating a bright and invigorating bite of sweetness reminiscent of strawberry shortcake.
With fresh sushi creations, inventive re-imaginings of classic Japanese dishes and its startling Teppan dinner theatre, Shibuya offers tantalizing glimpses into the diversity of Japan’s culinary culture. Each area of the restaurant offers diners unique opportunities environments that promise a satisfying feast for all the senses. As sleek and stylish as its namesake, Shibuya provide an exquisitely exotic escape from the everyday.