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Sushi

Las Vegas: Blue Ribbon Sushi

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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:

  1. First Course:
    Choice of: Miso Soup ~OR~ Hijiki Salad
  2. Second Course:
    Chef’s Choice of Assorted Sushi
  3. 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)
  4. 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  


Irvine: Fukada

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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


Las Vegas: Akira Back’s Yellowtail

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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!*


VTM#6: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Sukiyabashi Jiro.

Sushi Yasuda in Manhattan

by David Gelb

 

 


The MGM Grand Food Crawl – Part 1

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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

The High:

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*


Las Vegas: The Palm’s Place

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The Skinny: Located on the 6th Floor at The Palm’s Place, this is is a fantastic Sunday Brunch.  This is the ultimate brunch to go to after a Saturday night out on the town. The whole staff is in pajamas so even guests are welcome to dine in their pj’s. When you walk through the main entrance you see the candy bar they’ve set up with mini Chinese take out boxes for you to stuff and take home with you.  The menu consists of sushi, bagel + lox, baby crab claws, shrimp cocktail, fresh fruit smoothies.  Aside from the brunch buffet, they also have items that need to be ordered through the server like eggs benedicts, morning pizza, baby back ribs, and the sampler platter of desserts that takes you back to your childhood with items like Snowballs, rice krispy treats, chocolate chip cookies, homemade ding dongs, caramel popcorn and cotton candy.

The High: From the kitchen, my friends and I ordered the morning pizza, lobster havarti benedict, crab benedict, + the pulled pork benedict.  The morning pizza had white chedder cheese, bacon, ham with an egg ontop.  This would be my #1 pick for the ultimate hangover food.  It is basically an omlette on pizza dough.  The lobster havarti benny was a poached egg on top of 2 pieces of lobster brioche with melted havarti cheese in-between.  The lobster toast was delicious, it tasted like grilled cheese shrimp toast with a poached egg on top.   The Crab Benny had  real lump crab on top of your traditional English muffin. This was your typical crab benny, I liked this one a little better then one’s I’ve eaten in the past elsewhere because the crab wasn’t dried out and fresh.

The Low: The pulled pork benny was definitely my least favorite.  It had a poached egg on top of pulled pork and a cornbread base.  Pulled pork should just stay on a bun instead of as a benedict.  This goes to show that not everything can be made into a benny.  The service was ok as well, we did sit at our tables for a while before someone acknowledged us.  It was our first time dining  at this brunch so we had no clue how it worked.  The server also forgot to put in our steak benny so we never even got to try that which I was looking forward to.

Would you come back again? Definitely, there’s so much more on the menu I’d like to try.

More Info: www.simonatpalmsplace.com.  Expect to pay $38 for the brunch and add the option of unlimited bloody mary bar for an additional $10 or $16 for unlimited champagne.  Open from 10am-4pm on Sundays only.  Children under 12 pay $12.

– Sniper Tam

Song: Egg On A See – Cotton Jones