The only thing more prevalent than Celebrity Chef restaurants in Vegas are sushi/Japanese restaurants. Every single casino seems to have one. The MGM Grand has one called Shibuya and if you visit Vegas you should consider checking it out. The interior is striking with rich dark wood tables and trim accented with really cool lighting. Behind the sushi bar is a wall mural made up of different size clear cubes that are backlit with a light that changes colors.
The starters were impressive. Though we ate it at the end of the meal instead of as a starter, the Kanpachi with fresh yuzu and truffle oil was a great take on sashimi. The yuzu cut through the richness of the truffle oil and both added a very interesting and tasty element to the fish. While I didn’t have any, friends gave the Kumamoto oysters with green apple ponzu a huge thumbs-up. The obligatory edamame was also quite good.
For some reason I didn’t feel like a whole meal of sushi, which is strange for me as I never seem to get sick of it. To get a sampling I decided to try a couple of Ikura (Salmon Roe) nigiri and a piece Uni (Sea Urchin), which had a very light custard-like texture and a buttery taste with a hint of the sea. The taste of uni cannot be compared to any other food I have ever eaten and it is definitely an acquired taste. My first time I was somewhat turned off, the second time it was ok, and this time it was phenomenal and I now find myself craving it.
For my entree I had Salmon and Black Cod. It was a duo of Pineapple Miso Marinated Salmon and Shiro Miso Broiled Black Cod. While the portion size was a tad on the small side for the price (I think it was $28), it made me savor every morsel. Both fish were expertly cooked to medium/medium rare resulting in a slightly crispy exterior and a moist, flaky, and succulent interior. The black bass was up there with the best fish I have ever eaten. The salmon was rich and buttery and seemed to melt in my mouth, the crispy fried lotus root served atop the salmon added a nice crunch to the dish while the pineapple added a nice acidity and sweetness. I took tiny bites both to enjoy the meal longer. A friend that had the same dish seemed to have even higher praise than mine.
My wife’s meal was equally impressive. She had the Lobster and Scallop with
Organic Carrots, Edamame and Uni Butter Sauce and a side of rice. The scallops and lobster were cooked perfectly and the rich uni butter sauce created broth that blanketed the fish edamame and carrots. The uni wasn’t overpowering but it added a nice yellow tint and just a bit of the taste of the sea to the sauce. It was another stellar dish.
They boast one of the largest sake menus in the United States but I of course had to have beer. I had a couple of 22 ounce Sapporo’s and an excellent rice beer (I skipped dessert just to try this one) that I forgot the name of and have been thus far unable to track down on the internet.
I am sure that there are better and more renowned Japanese restaurants in Vegas but I can tell you that you cannot go wrong if you give Shibuya a shot.
As a side note, I need to start taking photos of my meals but I never seem to remember the camera. The presentation of each and every dish was a work of art. The people over at Tasting Menu have a gallery of their meal at Shibuya (with photos of some of the stuff mentioned here) that are far better than anything that I would have taken if I had a camera.