Everyone knows that Las Vegas has virtually every type of cuisine imaginable, but there are some styles that the city does really well. And some of the target’s strengths are a little under the radar.
Japanese food is a great example. Over the past decade, Las Vegas has arguably become one of the best places in the world outside of Japan to experience the various dishes and time-tested techniques that make up this sophisticated genre of food and dining, and this exciting development has spawned just as many entries in local neighborhoods like the Las Vegas Strip.
Iron cooking legend Masaharu Morimoto raised the kitchen on the boulevard when he opened Morimoto Las Vegas (702.891.3001) at the MGM Grand in 2016. The elegant space is known for its brilliant selection of sushi and sashimi, but also offers an extensive menu of fresh oysters, fried pork gyoza dumplings, Japanese A5 Wagyu beef and Hot stone bowl rice dishes prepared at your table.
If Morimoto is one of the newer Japanese institutions on the strip, Yellowtail (702.693.8865) at the Bellagio is one of the restaurants that has defined the category over the years. Chef Akira Back’s legendary amalgamation of his native Korean influences with traditional Japanese flavors remains one of Bellagio’s boldest moves. This can be seen in offerings like salmon tiradito, crispy stone prawns with chilli aioli, tuna tataki, and miso-glazed grilled black cod.
In the Cosmopolitan, the modern restaurant brand Zuma (877.893.2001) is inspired by the traditional izakaya, a tavern-style establishment where it is best to enjoy a variety of dishes. Sea bass sashimi and fat toro tuna with garlic chips and Fresno peppers bring familiar bites up to date. Fried lobster with shiso ponzu butter or smoky scallop skewers cooked on a robata grill are great for sharing. Fresh flavors await you too Mizumi in Wynn (702.770.3320) where Chef Min Kim arrived last year for a restaurant refreshment. Don’t miss out on Wild Snapper Tempura, Wagyu Beef Fried Rice, and an extensive Robatayaki menu with options for beef, chicken, lamb, seafood, and vegetables.
Las Vegas locals have a variety of more casual Japanese restaurants that they can enjoy on a regular basis, depending on what we fancy. The Red Rock Resort Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill (702.797.7444) is a happy hour / post-work favorite for fried oxtail rice, creative sushi rolls, and the legendary blue ribbon fried chicken served with wasabi honey. Try a soothing bowl of ramen Jinya Ramen Bar (702.868.8877) which has two locations in the southwest quadrant of the valley and serves some of the most flavorful and inventive noodle soups in the world.
For a truly unique sushi experience, seek the serene and hidden Yui Edomae Sushi (702.202.2408), where renowned chef Gen Mizoguchi prepares a brilliant omakase piece by piece right before your eyes, which is regularly flown in by small fisheries in Japan. Even the chicest strip eateries cannot replicate Yui’s unique sensation.
Locals also love the flawless sushi and sashimi from Chef John Chien Lee at Soho Japanese restaurant (702.776.7778), but these seafood delights are just the beginning. Try Kumamoto oysters with ikura and uni, hardened Atlantic salmon with poached quail egg and salmon roe, or the decadent combination of bluefin tuna and foie gras. Or ask about the omakase and leave the decision to the chef.
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