The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

When it comes to Japanese cuisine, the sizzling sounds and wafting aromas of grilled meat and vegetables quickly come to mind. This is teppanyaki, and it’s one of those culinary crafts that must be at the top of any diner’s list while in Japan. With its newest restaurant, Teppanyaki Grill, the Hyatt Regency Tokyo is making the experience more immersive than ever—and the driving force is one of the hotel’s top cooks.

A Saitama native, Chef Isamu Ohtani joined Century Hyatt Tokyo—the former name of Hyatt Regency Tokyo—as a restaurant cuisinier in 1990, became the chef of the Italian-inspired Caffè restaurant and of room service in 2012, and rose to the position of Chef de Cuisine–Western in 2016.

What drives Ohtani is a passion for connecting people with food, and teppanyaki is a favorite of his because of the personal connection. “When I’m in the kitchen, I cannot see the customers’ faces, so I cannot tell how they react,” he said. “But at the teppan­yaki counter, I can prepare and serve right in front of them and sense how they feel about the food. I can better understand what the diner wants, how they would like their food cooked. That’s very interesting to me.”

Ohtani has been shaping this passion into Teppanyaki Grill. Opening October 1, the restaurant will feature the latest equipment for grilling that allows temperatures to be more finely controlled. The result is meat that is juicy and cooked exactly to each customer’s preference.

But tools are not enough. The finest ingredients must be placed on that surface.

“We want to use the best meat, so we choose top-quality Kobe beef. We also use Bushu beef from Saitama, raised by a longtime friend of mine—an elementary school classmate—whom I trust.”

For seafood lovers, the menu will feature lobster, shrimp, and abalone, a shellfish considered a delicacy in Japan. There will also be plenty of vegetables, selected from around the country, including famously sweet onions from Awajishima.

A selection of the best sake, wines from around the globe, and increasingly popular Japanese wines will be available to pair perfectly with the food.

Capturing the natural tastes of the ingredients is important to Ohtani. He doesn’t want to add too many flavors to what nature has provided, so he uses only the best seasonings and staples from the Kansai region, including soy sauce, salt, rice, and eggs. The unifying factor among these is that they all arise from the same water source, creating a harmony that brings out the best of the flavors.

The right surroundings can heighten the senses, and the design of Teppanyaki Grill will put diners in touch with the core elements. The interior color scheme is based on red, representing fire, heat, and energy. Hammered copper hangs above the dark black stone counter, which sits atop a roaring mix of deep earth-toned tiles. Red leather chairs surround this altar to flavor, which seats 16, creating an immersive atmosphere that connects the diner with the natural elements from which the food is born. “We want guests to feel the power of the ingredients,” explained Ohta.

Adjacent to this are two dining rooms, each seating six, that echo rich earth tones to provide an equally inspiring—though more private—environment. And, throughout, lively jazz fills the air with energy.

There’s little doubt that this kinetic environment is the perfect setting for Ohtani’s teppanyaki passion. For those seeking the height of Japanese flavors and an experience that will stay with you for years to come, the sizzle of Teppanyaki Grill awaits.

For reservations:
+81 3 3348 1234

For reservations:
+81 3 3348 1234
What drives Ohtani is a passion for connecting people with food, and teppanyaki is a favorite of his because of the personal connection.