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Niwa Japanese BBQ is the brightest, tastiest, most elegant spot to open in Deep Ellum maybe ever


It’s probably safe to say that “yakiniku” is not what came to mind when you thought about lunch yesterday. Or maybe even today. But it probably should be on your mind tomorrow.

“Yakiniku is the Japanese word for grilled meat,” says owner and restaurateur Jimmy Niwa, who is leading the Hatch crew through the menu at his Niwa Japanese BBQ restaurant in Deep Ellum, where we were invited guests. We place strips of thinly sliced beef, pork ribs, cubed Japanese wagyu steak and thick cut vegetables over an intensely hot grill centered in the middle of our dinner table, but thanks to a unique drown-draft system installed in these roasters, we barely break a sweat as the meats and veggies pop and hiss. Even better: there’s no smoke wafting through the air.

“No one else is offering this in Dallas, so we brought it here. It’s a style of cooking that’s very popular in Japan,” says Niwa. It’s equally well-suited for casual meals, big parties and business meetings because it’s interactive and guests can order only as many small courses as they want to eat.

I loved everything about Niwa, from its carefully seasoned ingredients and shareable menu to its stylish, wood-hewn industrial accents and the frosted glass windows that add light to the dining room while offering privacy from the grit of the street. And you don’t have to do all the cooking; about half the menu is composed dishes cooked and plated in the kitchen.

Go check out Niwa. I think you’ll like it a lot. The restaurant has staying power because all the details here seem to matter.

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