The Skinny: I needed a nice little reality check from some good friends and they decided to go here. Apparently I’ve been here before, but it was so long ago when food was just something I ate to survive I couldn’t remember. It did feel familiar when I first walked in. I was a little excited because it is a Korean/Japanese restaurant.
The interior is this cute little homely place. I felt comfortable the minute I walked in. It was like you’re walking into your best friend’s Asian dining room. We sat down and first thing we ordered was alcohol. Soju (Korean alcohol), Hite (Korean beer) & fresh iced green tea. I’ve never been here and was open to try anything. My friend ordered a dish that was slow cooked pork belly with oysters, tofu steak & a spicy potato & beef rib soup. I loved that the owner’s daughter came to our table with fresh limes and made a special cocktail we named Achy hands drink because she squeezed fresh lime juice into a cup of ice and soju. Loved it better then drinking soju straight up. For our happy ending we had candied corn with cheese. OMG who thinks up these things? At first when it came out my friends and I looked at the dish and looked at Sarah (the owner’s daughter) and said that’s a huge dish of corn! Don’t know why we were so shocked by the plate, we actually finished majority of it. It is THAT good.
The Good: I didn’t have one bad dish here. The slow cooked pork belly with oysters was fantastic! I’m normally not a big fan of pork belly because of how fatty it is, but Sarah’s mom made it so good, I could’ve eaten the whole plate if it wasn’t so filling. The dish came with pickled napa cabbage leaves to wrap the pork belly, oyster & sides (raw garlic, raw jalapeno peppers, and this fermented soy bean paste). This dish is like an explosion of flavor in your mouth. It actually really messed me up the first bite. My brain couldn’t decide what I was eating. I had the flavorful pork belly, the oyster and all the other flavors from the sides. It was delicious.
The spicy potato & beef rib soup was a great choice too. It went well with the other dishes we ordered. A lot of places when I order this type of soup are too spicy. The spice level and flavor was perfect here.
Our last dish was the candied corn with cheese. My friend told me that this is the best dish when drinking. Boy is she right. This dish is no joke. Definitely a must try if you ever go.
The Bad: I don’t really have anything bad to say about this restaurant other than it’s kind of in a ghetto area. The best restaurants are the little hole in the walls right? It is a couple blocks from the University so it’s not that bad, but still quite a drive from where I live. Worth the drive though.
Would you come back again? Absolutely, we didn’t even begin to take a crack at the menu. There are so many choices to choose from. I will definitely be back again. It’s Korean home cooking and you can’t find such great Korean home cooking unless you’re Korean yourself and if you are, then I’m jealous you grew up with such great food. Next time I’ll try some of the Japanese items and report back.
More Info: 1801 E. Tropicana | Las Vegas, NV 89119 | (702) 262-5592 | Reasonable pricing
– Sniper Tam
The Skinny: So I learned about the Fat Spoon from another food blog called Weezermonkey. The blogger had an Uni (Seah Urchin) Croquette, loved it, and that’s what I wanted for lunch today. Unfortunately for me, when I went there with some coworkers, they did not have any in supply to fry up for me. So instead, the waiter recommended their Uni Pasta special, so I went with that.
The Fat Spoon is a new restaurant in Little Tokyo that serves Japanese style Curry, Croquette, and Pastas just like the Curry House chain. It’s right next door to the popular Daikokuya Ramen house and I’m pretty sure that Fat Spoon is owned by Aburiya Toranoko, which itself is somehow connected to the people at Lazy Ox. I could be wrong though.
The High: One of my coworkers ordered some Mini Corn Dogs as an appetizer. They were actually pretty good because the Hot Dog they used had a good meaty bite to them, while the Ketchup it came with had a bold Steak Sauce kick.
The Bad: When Uni is good, it’s really good, but when it’s bad, it’s really really bad. From what people tell me and what I’ve experienced, fresh Uni tastes sweet and like the ocean. Well, my Uni Pasta did taste like the ocean, but without the sweet and saltiness of the sea. There were slivers of Uni still in intact throughout the dish, but they were quite bitter and a bit off-putting. The Pasta sauce was creamy but bland, I literally had to drown my bowl with grated Parmesan just to add some salty depth. The only redeeming things about the Pasta dish was the mixed Mushrooms that serve as a meaty texture component, and the Spaghetti Noodles, which were cooked just right.
Would you come back again? In retrospect, I should have got the Curry since that’s what they are known for. So next time, I’ll order that….but I won’t be in any rush.
More Info: Yelp | Address: 329 E 1st St | Los Angeles, CA 90012 | They serve Beer and Shochu | The Uni Pasta cost me $14, but on average, every other dish costs around $10.
p.s. pics taken with my android smartphone….sooooo….yeahhh
The Skinny: The last and final restaurant I wanted to try inside the Cosmopolitan. When my friend from LA said he wanted Japanese food, I automatically thought of this restaurant. A bunch of my co-workers had been raving about this chicken dish so I had to try it. Blue Ribbon participated in Restaurant Week, so what a great time to try it! The pre-set menu was $50 and it consisted of:
- First Course:
Choice of: Miso Soup ~OR~ Hijiki Salad
- Second Course:
Chef’s Choice of Assorted Sushi
- Third Course:
Choice of: Braised Short Ribs with Celery Root Puree & Truffle Teriyaki ~OR~ Fried Chicken “Blue Ribbon Style” (which was fried chicken with a spicy seasoning accompanied with honey wasabi sauce)
- Fourth Course:
Choice of: Ginger Bread Pudding ~OR~ Green Tea Cream Brulee
My friend and I tried one of each of the first course, we both were not fans of either. Second course you can’t go wrong with. It was a spicy tuna roll, one piece of salmon nigiri & one piece of tuna nigiri. Third Course, my friend had the braised short ribs and I tried the fried chicken. Both were delicious.
The Good: Great atmosphere. Has a traditional yet trendy feel to it. Service was really good, food came out in a timely manner. I LOVED the honey wasabi sauce for the chicken. It was a sweet sauce with a kick. The wasabi wasn’t overpowering at all.
The Bad: A little too expensive for what it is, in my opinion at least. A bowl of shishito for $10 when I can buy it at the store for $2? Yea, kind of ruins it when you know exactly how much the dish really costs. The Ginger Bread Pudding was disgusting! I know it says it in the description GINGER bread pudding, but I thought it was ginger bread cookie type of pudding. Nope, had chunks of ginger root in it, almost made me throw up. My own personal experience, I just REALLY dislike ginger. So imagine the one thing you hate most, eating that dish with it in it not knowing it’s in there. Good thing that wasn’t the second course or it would’ve ruined my whole dinner.
Would you come back again? Probably not, unless they had something like the Restaurant week at that price, it’s a little to expensive for me for Japanese food. I’d rather spend my money at Yellowtail at the Bellagio
More Info: Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill Las Vegas | 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South | Las Vegas, NV 89109 | This is a splurge restaurant.
– Sniper Tam
The Skinny: Went to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles to play around with my digital cameras and came across a Nisei festival and a Takoyaki stand named Takoyaki Tanota. In general I love Octopus, which is also why I love Takoyaki and this find was a treat!
The Good: The painfully hot pancake balls with chunks of Octopus was just that. They burnt the insides of my mouth, but the portion size of the Octopus nuggets were good and made it worth while. 5 dollars bought me 8 pieces and they were all delicious. I got the regular Takoyaki sauce but they also have Ponzu and Jalapeno versions.
The Bad: It’s not the most filling meal in the world, but then again, it is just a snack really.
Would you come back again? Sure, if I’m lucky enough to come across it again.
More Info: Little Tokyo: www.takoyakitanota.com
Gaja is a Okonomiyaki restaurant that allows you to grill up Japanese style savory pancakes for Lunch or Dinner. It’s located in the City of Lomita and sits in a tiny plaza next to two popular Udon Noodle shops. Along with the Okonomiyaki and the vast variety of toppings, like Cheese, Seafood, and mystery Meats, you can also get Italian style Pastas, Soupy Noodles, and Beer. A good time to go to Gaja is during lunch because they have specials where you get 3 personal size Okonomiyaki with 1 topping each, a side salad, and a drink for just about 15 bucks.
Ryo is a Izakaya not too far from Gaja and serves Japanese style Tapas, Sushi items, Ramen, and Yakitori. It’s located in the Rolling Hills Shopping Plaza in Torrance and sits right in front of an AMC Movie Theater. The interior has trendy old style wooden furniture and uses empty alcohole bottles as decorations.
Gaja was an interesting experience and cooking your own savory pancakes with a few friends is always fun. We ordered their “Sparking Beer” which either has Blueberries or slices of Grapefruits. Both were good and refreshing. Since I was in a party of 3, two of us ordered the lunch special to share and topped them with Cheese, Mushrooms, Scallions, Octopus, Teriyaki Chicken, and Shrimp. I ordered some Takoyaki with a Spicy Sauce. Of the 6 toppings that were ordered and shared, the Cheese was the best one, that is after we finally mastered the grill and made some decent well-done pancakes. The way the Cheese crisped up on top of the stove was pretty awesome. It was also fun seeing all the shaved Bonito flakes come alive as you place them on top of each cooked Pancakes. The Takoyaki balls were decent and the spicy sauce needed more spice.
After Gaja, I went to Ryo Izakaya with a party of 4. We shared Ramen with Pork, Yakitori items, a whole grilled Quail, Takoyaki, fried Squid Legs, Shrimp in Chili Sauce, Lamp Chops, Unagi, Asparagus in something-something sauce, and stewed Tendon in a spicy broth. Of all the items that stood out, the stewed Tendon was my favorite. It was gelatinous, tasty, and left a lovely sticky film on my lips. The Ramen that one of us ordered had the thick porky broth and it was as good as those specialty places that only focuses on making really good Ramen. The grilled items we ordered were the Chicken Hearts, Breast, Wings, Liver, Cartilage, a whole Quail and Lamb Chops. The Chicken Hearts were pretty beefy in flavor while the Quail and Lamb Chops were both juicy, charred, and seasoned just right.
I have no real lows about Gaja, it’s a fun place to eat at and once you master the grill, eating rare Okonomiyakis and half cooked seafood won’t be a problem. You don’t even have to cook the stuff yourself, you can ask the waiter to have the in-house cook make it for you in the back kitchen. Actually, one complaint I do have is that the Octopus came out raw and after grilling it with the pancake mix, it was super rubbery. I think they should have precooked or prepped seafood items like that before hand so it’ll be easier to cook later.
At Ryo Izakaya, the tapped Kirin Beer during happy hour seemed to be really watered down. It also came in a pitcher that has a pint size indent from the bottom for regular water to freeze up and keep the beer cold. That’s just BS. I didn’t really like the Chicken Cartliage, but only because it just isn’t for me. Other than that, no real complaints about the environment or food. The female waitresses were all friendly and the cook came out once in a while to see if the customers were cared for.
Would you come back?
Gaja: Only if I’m with a group of people. They have a menu that has as many combo items as a karaoke book has songs.
Ryo: Yes! It’s a fun place to drink and eat among friends.
The Skinny: The popular and always busy, Shin-Sen-Gumi’s Yakitori is in Gardena. It’s one of those dining experience where everyone is shouting as you enter, have your first drink of beer, and after you paid your bill. The place is as Japanese as it gets and it would be my 3rd trip there. This time I ordered the Pork Belly, Pig Intestines and Knuckles, little sausages, Asparagus wrapped in Bacon and the Tail End, Wing, Heart and Breast of a Chicken. Since I went with mi Madre, she was craving Duck, so we got that as well.
The High: For some reason, I love the promo videos (watch it here) they have playing at every location and the enduring quality of them. The music playing let’s me know that I’m in for something good and it kind of makes me feel like I’m slightly buzzed on the strip of Las Vegas. I bet drinking games can be made with how often the staff members look off to the side to read their lines.
Anyways, my favorite item at Shin-Sen-Gumi is the Pig Intestine. It comes out crispy like Bacon, slightly fatty on the inside, and sweet because of the Teriyaki sauce used to coat it . Also, the tail end of the Chicken was succulent and the hearts were tenderly tasty.
The Low: The sliced Duck Breast was served cold and it was forgettable. Mi Madre was slightly disappointed because she wanted the rendered kind of fatty Duck you get at a Chinese restaurant.
The Pork Belly is usually good, but that time, it was thinly cut and it wasn’t as juicy as the other times I had it.
Would I come back again? Yes! I actually left my lucky hat there and they kept it safe for me.
More Info: Shin-Sen-Gum | 8517 S. Western Avenue. Gardena, CA 90248 | Phone: (310) 715-1588 | NOT CHEAP!
The Skinny: Orochon, the Ramen place that television host Adam Richman of “Man v. Food” visited and placed on the Travel Channel so viewers can see him drip away like the Wicked Witch of the West. The restaurant is known for a challenge that gives patrons 30 minutes to eat a spicy cesspool of molten hot broth full of Egg Noodles and more Jalapeno slices than a bowl of cheerios. The payoff, if someone finishes it, is a free t-shirt and a Polaroid picture of them placed next to Adam on their Bulletin Board of Fame. While I did try to take on the challenge and failed in front of Nom Nom Bobbie a year ago, I only went there today to eat lunch with Echo and Jazzy. Since every food blogger and their 2nd cousin on Yelp has already reviewed Orochon, I might as well too.
Orochon offers 3 styles of broth to choose from, Miso (which is a thicker kind), Soy, and Salt base. You get to choose levels of spiciness, 7 being free of it, 1 being face melting hot, and “Special 2” being the reason why you died on the toilet. Each order of Ramen automatically comes with slices of Pork, Green Bell Peppers, and Green Onions. You can also add extras like a Boiled Egg, Bean Sprouts, Char Siu Pork, Butter, Garlic, and more. While Ramen is their thing, you can get side dishes like sauteed Bamboo Shoots and Gyoza and then pair it with cold Japanese beer on tap.
The High: I do enjoy Orochon’s version of Ramen since I am a fan of clear based broths. I like how they use Green Bell Peppers to influence the scent and taste of the overall broth. It is simply tasty stuff and their noodles are decent. Jazzy ordered the Miso base version with a Boiled Egg, Bean Sprouts, and Hyper level 2 spiciness. I could tell he liked it because even after we paid the bill, he kept on sipping on the leftover soup. Echo got the Salt based Ramen at level 4 and even though his face was melting off from the heat, he was still enjoying the tastiness of it all. I got the Soy based broth with Char Siu Pork and Bamboo Shoots at the same heat level as Echo’s. Like I mentioned before, the stuff is just tasty and the fragrance from the Green Peppers really adds something different to their Ramen in comparison to other styles that prefer that thick broth. Also, that extra Char Siu Pork I ordered melted between my chopsticks…..not sure if that’s a good thing, but it tasted great!
With our orders of Ramen, Jazzy also got some Gyoza and while I didn’t have one, I do remember a few times that I did and they were delicious.
The Low: Orochon isn’t the best Ramen in the world, but that’s as low as it goes. People will either love it, hate it, or think it’s whatever.
Would you come back again? Yes and I have.
More Info: 123 S Onizuka St. Los Angeles, CA 90012 | If you pay by card, be sure to order more than 20 bucks. All 3 Ramen without any extras are under 7 bucks.
The Skinny: Fukada is a very popular, local, Japanese spot in BFE Irvine. They’re known for their healthy and fresh ingredients and greatly-priced combos. You can pair a hot/cold udon or soba noodle with a variety of different donburi bowls with brown/white rice, i.e. Oyako don, spicy tuna don (the most popular), curry don, etc. If you’re not in the mood for noodles, you can also get a seafood salad with a donburi bowl or sushi roll. Unlike other places, they are VERY generous with the amount of sashimi they give for the price. The salad comes with tuna, salmon and albacore but they’ll even let you substitute for one kind of fish without an extra charge. They also serve a plethora of izakaya items which are fairly priced and very delicious. Overall, the prices are great, the food is even better and the décor is peaceful and soothing to the eyes.
The High: One word…combos! For people who love variety but don’t want to order the whole menu and look like a piggy (like me), this is the perfect place. They give you just the right amount of food so you can finish both items in the combo, if you’re super hungry, or take one to-go for later. The seafood salad is definitely worth trying here. If you like sashimi salad, this place will definitely not disappoint. They give you huge chunks of tuna, salmon and albacore tuna on a bed of organic spring mix salad and topped with a pepper onion dressing. Their donburi bowls are also very tasty and you can get it with brown rice for no extra charge!! The first time I went, I tried the oyako don which is chicken pieces folded into an omelette and placed over brown or white rice. I loved it. The spicy tuna don is the the most popular bowl and they give you a good amount of tuna without all that mayo. The noodles that come with the combo are simple but still delicious. I’ve tried their hot udon and thought it was very tasty as well. Their fried squid legs are crispy and not covered in batter. Everything tastes fresh and you feel healthy even if you stuffed your face.
The Low: The only thing that was disappointing was the shrimp roll that comes with the combo. It’s tempura shrimp and asparagus wrapped in too much rice and not enough flavor and fillings.
Would I come back again? Hell yeah!! I’ve been here twice in the past month and I can’t wait to go back.
More Info: www.fukada2go.com 8683 Irvine Ctr Dr. Irvine, CA 92618 | (949)341-0111 | They also have Fukada2Go if you don’t want to wait. Fukada2Go also offers brown rice for their rolls which they don’t do at the restaurant.
– Nom Nom Bobbie
The Skinny: Shin-Sen-Gumi is a brand name associated with a chain of high quality Ramen, Shabu Shabu, Sushi, and Yakitori restaurants in both Japan and the USA. Hakata is a popular hot spot in Gardena that usually has a long waiting list. The Ramen shop allows customers to customize their order by letting them use a sushi-like check-list where they can dictate how al dente the noodles will be and the strength of the broth. You can also get combo meals by adding chicken fried rice, gyoza, and other stuff. And if you’re still hungry after killing a bowl, you can order more noodles and broth without having to wait
I’m not sure I should even bother reviewing the place because many people have already done so and we all pretty much like the place. Anyways….
The High: One of two things I enjoy doing while waiting at a Shin-Sen-Gumi spot, in this case Hakata Ramen, is to watch the awkward but endearing promo videos of the staff members acting out skits. When I’m with friends, I always play the “where’s the cue card the poor employee is reading from?” Since there’s always a wait, the 2nd thing I enjoy doing is putting a name on the sign-up sheet that doesn’t fit me at all. One time it was “Tyrone” and the last time it was “Jethro” to represent the redneck that is in me.
As for the Ramen itself, I’m personally a fan of the kind that has a clear broth, but the stuff at Hakata is solid regardless. If you like that thick porky broth with those melt-in-your-mouth char-siu cuts, you’ll love the stuff at Hakata. I can’t say that I’m a dedicated fan of the stuff, but I certainly didn’t hate it. Their chicken fried rice is as tasty as chicken fried rice gets as well.
The Low: My only complaint about Hakata is that their broth is sometimes inconsistent and the style of their noodles are little too thin for my liking. But other than that, it’s all good.
Would you come back again? Sure, why not! They serve beer!
More info: www.shinsengumiusa.com | 2015 W Redondo Beach Blvd. Gardena, CA 90247 | Credit Friendly | Expect to spend around 10 bucks per person
The Skinny: One of my favorite Japanese restaurants on the strip. Akira Back is an amazing chef with his fresh & innovative dishes. The main dining overlooks the beautiful water fountains of Bellagio Hotel with the Paris hotel’s Eiffle tower in the background. The ultimate spot for all the movers & shakers of the nightlife industry. The service itself is enough for me to come back. If you ever get to meet the GM Young, he is such a wonderful person, tons of energy & he is the epitomy of customer service. The food is a little of what you expect in a Japanese restaurant and some of it you sort of think to yourself WHAT? No way. This restaurant is definitely for a more complex palate.
The High: My #1 favorite dish of all time at Yellowtail is the Big Eye Tuna Pizza with truffle oil. I’ve recommended this dish up and down to everyone I know and not one person has come back to tell me that I was wrong. Yes, it’s THAT good. My next favorite dish is the Tempura Alaskan King Crab w/ serrano peppers & sweet ponzu sauce. The texture and flavors of the the dish go well with each other with a little bite coming from the serrano pepper. The pop rocks roll is always a crowd pleasure. My friend had never tried this before. I was nice enough to tell her what it was, but the first time I had tried it, no one told me. I took a bite of it and it was crunchy and the candy started exploding in my mouth. It is literally a party in your mouth. You taste the sweetness of the watermelon poprocks, but it doesn’t take away from the spicy crab.
The Low: Rock shrimp with Korean chili aioli. It’s not really a low, but once you’ve tasted the tempura Alaskan king crab the rock shrimp’s flavor didn’t really appeal to me. Either which way, if you’re going to have the rock shrimp or the tempura king crab, choose one or the other and try the other for another day. I’ve had the rock shrimp before and it was delicious, but tonight I think the crab won.
Would you come back again? Absolutely. Any day, anytime. Well ok…..maybe not any day, any time…..it may get a little expensive, but this is definitely one of my restaurants of choice.
More Info: Yellowtail Website : Traditional & Modern Japanese menu; expect to spend $55+ per person based on a 3 course dinner
– Sniper Tam *pew pew pew!*
The Skinny: This is the ultimate hole in the wall Japanese ramen restaurant in Las Vegas. Many of it’s predecessors have tried and failed, but here we have standing Monta. It’s a very simple restaurant, with an even more simple menu. You have 3 broths to choose from, Tonkatsu, Shoyu, or Miso. Then you add your toppings: extra char siu, corn, mustard leaf, extra noodles etc. Aside from the Ramen menu there are other things for those who aren’t that into noodles. They have a pork belly rice, kimchi fried rice, gyozas, etc. a small variety of dishes. Very limited seating including a counter seating like in Japan.
The High: I always order the Tonkatsu Ramen. To me it’s the most flavorful of the soups and takes the longest to make. (I tried making it…..12 hours later, I went to Monta to order instead lol) The Tonkatsu Ramen comes with 2 pieces of char siu, green onion. I always add corn, mustar leaf and sometimes the soft boiled egg. Your first encounter with this broth is OMG WHAT? It’s SO flavorful and delicious you can’t get enough of it. Every bite has to have enough soup to go with it. If you get super hungry you can order more noodles, except they won’t give you more soup if you run out. I also tried the Gyozas which were handmade in house. I loved them! I’m used to restaurant frozen from the bag gyozas, but these were fresh because we were watching them make it while waiting for our food.
The Low: It IS a large sodium intake if you eat it too often. It also gets VERY hot in the tiny restaurant during the summer. Hopefully they’ve fixed it.
Would you come back again? Absolutely! Anytime I’m craving Noodles, Monta is always the winner hands down, even over Pho :O
More Info: www.yelp.com. Monta doesn’t have a website, but take a look at the yelp reviews and you’ll get the gist of the restaurant. They do to-go, but you have to cook the noodles for about 3 minutes when you get home. Still tastes the same. How often do you do take out and it still taste as if you were eating it in the restaurant?
– Sniper Tam *Pew Pew Pew*
The Skinny: The Fuku Burger Truck is burger heaven on wheels. I’m not much of a burger eater, but everyone kept raving about it, so I had to try it. The truck is decorated with all these cartoons of the owners and the Fuku Girl. You’d have to see it to believe it. When chatting up the owner, he told me that everything is freshly made. All the ingredients are local. They go to the meat market every day and season the beef. Once they’re out, they’re out.
The High: Everyone kept talking about the Tamago burger so that’s the first one I tried. The first bite into this burger it was an explosion of flavors. I had a foodgasm eating this burger. All the flavors just went well together. It consisted of the fuku burger, fried egg, fried string onions, topped off with teriyaki and furikake. The naga dog is a great alternative if you’re not in the mood for a burger. It consists of a spicy link topped with home-made pickled daikon relish and grilled kim chee. Drizzled with wasabi mayo and kabayaki sauces then finished with hari nori. Colin said it’s like the Jap dog in Vancouver. Makes me miss Vancouver lol. Another alternative would be the Katsu Burger. It’s panko crusted chicken with shredded cabbage finished with wasabi mayo, & katsu sauce. I like to liven up by having the Katsu burger Karai style. Karai style is everything on the Karai burger replacing the fuku patty with the katsu patty. The Karai burger which consists of the fuku patty, with sliced cucumber, lettuce, avocado cream, finished with spicy mayo and habanero kabayaki. This is my new favorite from the Fuku truck. They’re garlic fries are awesome too. It comes with a sweet ketchup sauce & crack sauce. OMG this cracksauce is amazing and IS like crack, you can’t get enough of it. They’ve added new items such as the local moco, it’s like your Hawaiian favorite but with a fuku patty. Mac salad and special burgers once in a while. All of it was mouthwatering. For a girl that can’t sit in a dirty restaurant and eat (cuz we all know the dirtier the restaurant the better the food) , questioning whether these trucks are clean enough to not give me tummy rumbles…this truck gets two thumbs up from me.
The Low: My friend had the buta burger which consisted of the fuku patty, miso-glazed apple wood smoked bacon, american cheese, pickled ginger, + Japanese bbq sauce. It was a little greasy for me. My friend seemed to like it, definitely flavorful, but anything with ginger that I can taste will make it a low for me. The other burger I wasn’t too fond of was the Kinoko burger which is their mushroom burger. It consists of the fuku patty, grilled shitake mushrooms, ginger……and I’m just going to stop there because again, it has ginger :). Not the type of mushroom burger I’d like, but I know a lot of other people that enjoy it. So to each their own. Another low is that they’re not always in the same place every day. You have to go to website and check the schedule. Now that they’ve got all the legal stuff together they are a little more consistent in their locations. My favorite locations are Chinatown & the one on Flamingo + Decatur (they’re all close to my house) 😉
Would you come back again? Absolutely! I try to expose as many of my friends to this truck as possible. Also the Fuku staff are all really nice and down to earth. This alone would make me want to keep searching them out. The Fuku truck is like having a drug addiction, except it’s a food addiction, when they were on hiatis for a week I was having withdrawls. Horrible right? Believe me though,the minute I bit into that burger mmmMmMmm my mouth waters thinking about it right now. If it wasn’t so late in the evening I’d drive the 10 minutes to go get it to go right now.
More Info: www.fukuburger.com ; expect to pay $5.00 a Burger, $2.00 for Fries; $2.00 for a Strawberry Lemonade; $6.00 for a Naga Dog.
– Sniper Tam *Pew Pew Pew*
Song: After Hanabi – Nujabes
The Skinny: I have been blessed to try 9 restaurants on the MGM Grand property seeing what they have to offer for good eats. This is part 1 of that dine around with 4 restaurants on the board. First stop: Joel Robuchon. This is the one restaurant I’ve been told is a MUST try once in your lifetime. That’s absolutely a restaurant I want my rich husband to take me too. lol Second stop: Shibuya, one of my favorites Japanese Restaurants on the strip. Extensive sake selection! Third stop: Fiamma. This is a trendy Italian restaurant equipped with a fireplace in the middle of their lounge. Fiamma is designed to be seen, so if you want to be noticed, this would probably be the best place to go. Final stop for the evening: Diegos. Great place for you and the girls or even you and the guys to go hang out and grab a margarita before going out. See the high for more details of all these restaurants
Joel Robuchon: The minute you walk into that restaurant is amazing, with the amazing chandeliers & purple velvet upholstry, down to the beautiful table settings. For a lot of people I’m sure they’ll feel misplaced, this IS a high end Forbes 5 star restaurant so yes it’s an intimate, elegant atmosphere. Joel Robuchon is definitely for a more of a sophisticated palate. They came over to the table to show us their bread cart and explained which seemed like a hundred different types of bread, but really it was like maybe 10 or so? Then he came over with the awesome butter display, I don’t know what they do but the bread + butter was amazing. I could’ve just ate that all night alone. Then came the “lobster ravioli” Small bite in the middle of a dinner plate. It was delicious. I didn’t see it on their online menu to give you a description. That mini experience makes me want to go back for the full Joel Robuchon experience…..even if it’s for $400 per person. Remember: It’s a once in a lifetime experience.
Shibuya: Inspired by Tokyo’s Shibuya district, this is a the ultimate Japanese dining experience. Aside from the sushi bar, and regular dining tables they have 3 teppanyaki tables in the back of the restaurant. They also have an extensive Sake list. I tried the KANI SALAD (King, Snow and River Crab, Pickeled Cucumber, Seaweed, Lotus Chips). This dish is definitely unique as it is served on top of a fish bowl….yes! with a live beta fish swimming around while you’re eating the goods placed in a cone shaped bowl on top. I also tried the AUSTRALIAN KOBE BEEF TATAKI (Lemon Tamari Soy, Garlic Chips, Red Onion, Tarragon Oil) I LOVE beef tataki if it’s made right. This was good, I’ve definitely had better, but still great nonetheless. The sake I had to accompany all these good eats was the Junmai Ginjo. When I first took a whiff of it it had a fruity smell to it, and when I took a taste it, it was one of the best easy to drink sakes I’ve ever tasted. Definitely recommend having this with your dinner.
Fiamma: Traditional Italian recipes in a trendy fine dining atmosphere. This is my kind of place. I had tried their food at this event I went to called Wet Your Appetite during Restaurant Week and it was my favorite. I had the GNOCCHI ALL’ARAGOSTA (Soft Potato Dumplings With Maine Lobster Mushroom and Black Truffle) This is everyone’s favorite out of the whole night, but then again you can get me to fall in love with anything that has black truffle. The gnocchi was just the right texture, some restaurants make it too chewy or too mushy. Fiamma did it just right. We also had a vegetarian dish that had a spinach stuffing in these little handkerchief pastas w/ marinara sauce. I liked this dish too, but the gnocchi get the trophy for the evening. The restaurant has a very “sexy” feel to it. The restaurant is pretty open and faces the restaurant row so everyone that walks by sees you. You definitely don’t want to look broke eating in that restaurant. The lounge area is pretty nice too, has a nice big fireplace right in the middle of the lounge. If you’re tired of the nightclubs in Las Vegas, this would be a cool place to hang out, people watch and have a few drinks.
Diegos: Your traditional mexican recipes with a twist. The table side guacamole is THE BEST!! I LOVE Guac and I’m very particular about my guac. By far Diego is the best. All fresh ingredients prepared table side. Diegos has 125 different 100% agave tequila lables…..need I say more? If tequila is your friend, this is the place to be. They have this unique waterfall slide right in the middle of the restaurant. It’s definitely a fun non traditional atmosphere.
The Low: Shibuya: The last dish I tried was YELLOWTAIL SASHIMI (Shichimi Pepper, Garlic Ginger, Yuzu Juice). This wasn’t the most memorable dish that’s why I put it as a low. It really isn’t too much of a low because it was still good, it’s just not something I’d order at a hotel Japanese restaurant. I like to try something I can’t get anywhere else. Give me something different, something unique…..like the fish bowl Kani 🙂
Would you come back again? I loved all 4 restaurants and only having a taste of each restaurant, I absolutely want to go back and try the full experience.
More Info: Joel-Robuchon-French-Restaurant // Shibuya-Japanese-Restaurant // Fiamma-Italian-Restaurant-Bar // Diego-Mexican-Restaurant// Diego’s has a happy hour! Available at Bar & Lounge Area Only: Sunday through Thursday 4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M. They also have Latin nights Friday & Saturdays.
– Sniper Tam *Pew Pew Pew*