Shibuya Redefines the Japanese Dining Experience

July 12, 2004
Traditional Ingredients Enhanced by Modern Techniques and an Unrivaled Sake Cellar Deliver a Dining Sensation

Committed to bringing the most creative Japanese dining experience to Las Vegas, MGM Grand tapped into the finest culinary, beverage and design talent available to create Shibuya. Designed by superstar team Yabu Pushelberg, Shibuya, which opened in July, takes its name and inspiration from a neighborhood of Tokyo known for its bustling urbanism and modern lifestyle. The culinary creations of Chef Eiji Takase, formerly of the highly successful Sushi Samba Restaurant Group, share the limelight with a sake program slated to be one of the country's best.

Shibuya's full-spectrum Japanese menu is delivered via three distinct dining experiences including Sushi, Teppan and a la carte specialties -- each in separate, yet adjoining, dining areas.

Chef Takase focuses his talents on "traditional modern" cuisine, capturing distinct Japanese ingredients updated with the best of modern Japanese and American techniques. Chef Takase's menu features such creations as Shibaki Tuna Tartar with Mountain Caviar and Spicy Tobiko, Miso Wild Salmon in a sauce of Lotus Root and Ginger and Kobe Beef Tataki prepared with Shichimi Onions and Lemon Soy.

Renowned sake expert John Gauntner guided Sake Sommelier Eric Swanson through the complex world of sake. Gauntner, the only American recognized by the Japanese government as a verified sake authority, has been quoted in sake-related articles in countless publications including The New York Times, Newsweek, Forbes, Business Week and Rolling Stone and has spoken at Harvard, Yale and Columbia Universities, Wharton School of Business and countless other venues across the United States and Japan.

Shibuya is the beneficiary of Gauntner's unsurpassed knowledge and experience and delivers a sake program worthy of his seal of approval. Guests are offered tips on sake appreciation and selection, as well as tasting events and guidance on the best pairing for each dish. Sake Sommelier Eric Swanson is "thrilled" to have this sake legend on his team. "John [Gauntner] has been one of my inspirations since beginning my career with sake," said Swanson. "To have the opportunity to work with him one-on-one has been a true honor."

"We are now living in the golden age of sake," said Gauntner. "More fine sake is being produced today than ever before, and Shibuya is at the forefront of this burgeoning market."

Swanson used sake as a base ingredient to design a stunning selection of original cocktails, drawing from intriguing flavors characteristic of Japanese cuisine including yuzu-citrus granite and plum-infused Japanese vodka. As an enticing example, the Kah Pah, named for the Japanese god of sake, is cucumber sorbet shaken with sake and vodka, topped with a cucumber garnish.

"Shibuya is poised to be the most dynamic Japanese restaurant on the strip," said Gamal Aziz, president of MGM Grand. "With Chef Takase's classic training and passion for creative presentation and John Gauntner's brilliance with sake, Shibuya will most certainly shine."

Yabu Pushelberg's design scheme for Shibuya captures the essence of fast-paced, modern Tokyo, while retaining a distinct Japanese elegance. The restaurant's rose-tinted glass exterior emulates the multi-colored windows of Tokyo's sophisticated dining and shopping districts. Exaggerated bar codes etched into the glass inject playful postmodern references to technology and consumerism.

A 50-foot sushi bar greets guests as they enter, with an expanse of rocky mist marble in candied mauve, pink and gray. Video screens and mirrored plexi-glass behind the bar add a kaleidoscopic effect of constant movement and energy.

The main dining room or "Bento Box" resembles an illuminated glass cube. Erected of circular, pink glass screens that create semi-private dining spaces, this transparent maze is then interwoven with rich and natural textures which exemplify the kinetic nature of modern Japan. A screen of random-cut pine encases the perimeter of the room with its decorative, residual sap lending the space a warm, burnt-orange glow. Rough-carved wood lanterns disperse their soft light randomly amidst the criss-cross of dining tables.

Shibuya's third dining option, the Teppan Room, extends out from the main dining area. Guests sit alongside an impressive grill in a space dramatically set off by hot pink, stainless steel canopies suspended overhead.

Shibuya's design and menus encourage guests to select the ambience that best fulfills their needs, all within one establishment. Guests can grab a quick snack at the Sushi Bar, be stunned by the theatrics in the Teppan Room or settle in for a meticulous sampling of Chef Takase's genius in action with his menu rooted in the utmost freshness and delicacy.

Shibuya goes beyond sushi and teppan, proving that the unexpected can exist within tradition. With the restaurant's team of brilliant culinary and beverage innovators, the Japanese dining experience in Las Vegas will never be the same.


CONTACT: Stephanie Davis of MGM MIRAGE, +1-702-891-7517; or Jennifer
Baum of BULLFROG & BAUM, +1-212-255-6717, both for MGM Grand