Robata: Grilling Trend
"Robata is the Cadillac of grilling," says Jack Lamb, owner of Manhattan's six-month-old Jewel Bako Robata. Popular in Japan for hundreds of years, robata has finally caught on in the U.S. Here, chefs are cooking luxurious ingredients like foie gras and live lobster, often over Japanese binchotan charcoal, at a sushi-style bar while customers watch. Restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow has installed a robata grill at his new New York place, Ono, for dishes like Kobe beef and king crab. Robata Grill & Sushi in Mill Valley, California, is more traditional; cooks pass food to diners on the end of boat oars, the serving method used by the fishermen who originated robata.