Seven hundred golden maneki-neko, or Japanese beckoning cats, overlook a restaurant filled with infinity mirrors, butterflies, and booths. Tables are filled with shabu-shabu — Japanese hot pots — alongside seiro-mushi, meats, and vegetables cooked in bamboo steamers. Harpsichord strings extend along the ceiling, allowing a harpist in one corner to serenade the room. This is Lucky Mizu, a bold new Downtown LA dining option and one of the first spaces to open up at the massive new Level 8 restaurant and nightlife development on August 24.
Located on the eighth floor of the Moxy and AC hotels, Level 8 is the latest space (or more accurately, series of spaces) from the Houston brothers, Mark and Jonnie Houston (No Vacancy, Davey Waynes, La Descarga), and Lightstone. Spanning 30,000 square feet, Level 8 encompasses eight different bars and eateries in total. In addition to bars Mr. Wanderlust and Golden Hour, and shabu-shabu restaurant Lucky Mizu, Level 8 will include teppanyaki restaurant Maison Kasai and al fresco oyster and champagne bar Mother of Pearl from chef Josh Gil (Mirate); live-fire cooking eater Qué Bárbaro and food truck-esque late-night spot Brown Sheep Taqueria from chef Ray Garcia (Asterid, Broken Spanish); and holy/unholy bar Sinners y Santos from the Houston brothers. It’s one giant food and beverage undertaking — perhaps the most complex and colorful option to hit Downtown LA in years — and it all comes together under Richard Archuleta (Openaire), who is the executive chef for all eight concepts.
At Lucky Mizu, which translates to water in Japanese, diners can enjoy various snacks and appetizers plus steamed or boiled dishes from chef Hisae Stuck (Joël Robuchon). There are meats from Japan, Australia, and the U.S., including Japanese A5 wagyu and Kurobuta pork, plus locally-caught seafood for dipping, swirling, and enjoying. Diners can try dishes like beef or vegetable shabu-shabu, hot stone wagyu, seafood or beef seiro-mushi, hamachi shots, and wagyu nigiri with uni and caviar.
Kobe, Japan native Stuck has worked with wagyu her whole life and believes shabu-shabu and seiro-mushi to be some of the best ways to cook with Japanese beef. Growing up close to the ocean, Stuck is also excited about the seafood at Lucky Mizu. “My dad is a fisherman and my mom had a restaurant,” says Stuck. “I picked the best seafood for seiro-mushi, a steaming and aromatic way of cooking.”
“Lucky Mizu’s atmosphere is great,” she adds. “I’ve never seen this [kind of] restaurant.” A horseshoe-shaped bar of swirling stone grounds the space, while dark booths under wooden archways line the sides. The 40-feet-long harpsichord — created by musician and artist William Close, whose Earth Harp was named as the world’s longest playable stringed musical instrument by The Guinness Book of World Records — spans the dining room. Other visual touches like infinity mirrors with butterfly accents and trellises covered in cherry blossoms catch the eye. Stuck also mentions her excitement about the 700 maneki-neko, which Stuck says will bring good luck to those who snap a picture.
Archuleta, for his part, says that he’s most excited to gather and work with so many chefs and cuisines in one space, particularly at Lucky Mizu. “It’s a really strong learning experience, and finding inspiration off of everyone’s different cuisines, building off of each other’s influence — it’s a really quick way to learn,” he says.
The full arrival of Level 8 is only weeks away, as each of the independent spaces begins to activate. Perhaps most importantly to the chefs, bar directors, and other workers at the various projects, Level 8 sits within 500 feet of L.A. Live and Crypto.com arena, giving the hotels and restaurants access to millions of tourists as well as thousands of Downtown locals. For now, there’s Lucky Mizu, the area’s new upscale shabu-shabu option that’s built with plenty of wow factor in mind.
Lucky Mizu and Level 8 are located at 1260 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015. The restaurant is open from Wednesday through Sunday, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations can be made via OpenTable.