Domo Arigato

Theatrics and Grilled Meats in the East Village

None 4 Photos Robataya
Labor Day has come and gone, a fading memory at this point.

Fall is here, the air is getting crisp, and the great American barbecue season is over.

Not to worry: the great Japanese barbecue season is officially upon us.

Introducing Robataya, a brand-new Japanese robatayaki grill and pagoda of goodness, brought to you by the Sakagura folks, opening up Monday in the East Village.

If you're not familiar with Broadway-meets-Iron Chef theatrics of a robatayaki, you'll be in for a boisterous awakening when you step through the unassuming dark wood door—we're talking samurais tending grill, shouting about Wagyu beef and serving you flaming hot delicacies on wooden paddles.

In other words, it's the kind of place to bring a date that you need to test under fire (and by fire, we mean screaming samurais and flying Kobe beef). Designed to resemble a rustic Japanese sake brewery, Robataya is divided into the slate and dark wood front grill-room and the quieter indoor garden in the back, complete with plenty of bamboo, running water and a skylight.

But the front room is where all the action's at—pick out a spot on the corner of the 26-seat grill bar, select the meats, fish (flown in from Japan daily) and vegetables from the selection laid out in front of you at the bar, and let the grill samurais do the rest.

Eventually there will be plenty of sake flights, shochu and other boozy delicacies to wash everything down, but for now it's strictly BYOB.

Which is the sort of strict policy you can stand behind.

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