Price Per Person:
3770 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
An Asian "street food" restaurant based on the popular Chicago eatery.
At Monte Carlo on the South Strip.
Small plate servings of a wide variety of delightful Asian food.
A little bland unfortunately.
Very good - knowledgeable and passionate about their product.
You can do it relatively cheaply or you can go big.
Ask your server about the off menu items that may be available. There may be some hidden gems in there.
An original concept with great food and drink in need of a better space in which to serve it.
Just when you thought Vegas had run out of other cultures' food to appropriate comes this delightful foray into the world of Japanese and Asian "street food." Picture yourself walking down one of those market-like alleys in Tokyo, with vendors selling all manner of tasty treats - that's what you get, only you don't have to go to some dank alley in Japan to get it.
Before you get to the food (and during and perhaps after) you'll want to pay attention to the drinks. The most inventive items are their on-tap cocktails, updates on classic drinks like a daiquiri and a gin & tonic, mixed, and then lightly carbonated then served on tap. They offer a flight of these that is absolutely worth the dough so you can get a sampling of all of them. They also have standard cocktails, imported beers (including a Japanese rice variety that was absolutely fantastic), and an extensive sake list. Regarding the latter, try the "road sake," which comes in little cans and can be served over ice with cucumber - delicious!
The offerings are mostly of the small plate variety so you'll need three or four to get a full meal, or you could go for their multi-course tasting menu. Choose the latter and you put yourself in the chef's hands so as logn as you are willing to give up a bit of control, that may be the best way to taste a lot. You'll also get things that aren't on the main menu or even listed as specials.
If you are ordering on your own, start with the kimchi, assorted pickled veggies, or the tempura, assorted fried veggies. The former requires armor plated taste buds because the pickling is teary eyed strong (in a good way) and the latter has some unexpected surprises. A deep fried slice of lemon? Who knew?!
A variety of items listed as steamed buns includes a chub sausage with red pepper that is fantastic. It isn't a traditional dim sum style bun, but rather a deconstructed array of ingredients in a small bowl. Delicious and a cool presentation. Other options include crispy cod with cucumber, charred eggplant, and pork shoulder with kimchi.
Noodles offer up some ramen dishes while the "Fried" section has everything from chicken "drummies," boneless chicken wings done with a red miso and garlic, a Maitake mushroom with an egg vinaigrette, and a Japanese griddle cake with octopus, all of which were as close to perfect as you could expect without being in that alley in Tokyo.
You can also select from the "Grilled" section many of the same things plus steak, duck breast, and more.
But it's the off-menu items that really sparked the biggest reactions from the people at my table. We had a cobia that was done simply with light grilling and it was fantastic plus a Teppan lobster that was drowning in a buttery sauce. The real star here was the fried chicken skins, which were basically like fried chicken flavored potato chips, topped with zesty pepper and a dab of honey. You should demand these no matter what the menu says.
Prices run the gamut. About half of the two dozen or so items on the menu are under $9 while the rest run from around $15 all the way up to $39. Since it will take several dishes to get a full meal, you could easily rack up quite a bill or you could get away pretty cheap depending on what strikes your fancy. Figure at least $30 per person and more like $50 or $60 once you add in a few of the more expensive items, drinks, tax, and tip. The actual "street food" food in Japan isn't going to run you that much but then again you would have to factor in a plane ticket to Japan to get to it so perhaps this is a better bargain than it appears.
The staff is unfailingly friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about their product. I got a real sense of pride in what they were doing.
The only real complaint I had was about the restaurant space itself. They are going for casual, with concrete floors, wood accents on the walls, and minimalist decor but it just comes across as bland. The metal wire chairs at the tables are supremely uncomfortable for any stretch of time and while the big windows out toward The Strip offer some nice views, the fact that they don't open makes it feel like you are a fish in a bowl being watched by the passing crowds or perhaps vice versa. The tables outside might be nice on a day when the weather is cooperating.
I'm a fan of trying something different when it comes to food in Vegas and this place offers some expertly prepared items you won't find anywhere else.
Unless you want to buy that plane ticket.