John Curtas is …

How Sweet It Is…

...to be loved by Raku

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When our staff heard that Sweets Raku opened last week for a few nights of “friends and family” tastings, we headed to Spring Mountain Road and Decatur faster than you could say “konnichiwa arigatougozaimasu.”

For those of you who do not obsess over the finer points of early 21st Century, Japanese-American restaurant/chef machinations, Sweets Raku is the desserts-only companion to Mitsuo Endo‘s fabulously popular/nationally renowned/most excellent izakaya eatery  (Raku) located less than 100′ away in the same strip mall.

Endo-san launches another beauty

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Officially, it opens tomorrow afternoon at 4 pm. Unofficially, you can stop in today if you wish and they’ll feed you. Both officially and unofficially, Sweets Raku is about to set a new standard for what the art and science of pastry can do to satisfy your sweet tooth.

The person whose labors will be bringing forth such compelling confections is a Japanese gal who looks like she’s 15 years old. We are told Mio Ogasawara‘s true age is almost double that, but regardless, her youth will serve her well once every epicure and omnivore in town realizes how good this place is.

Endo-san and Mio-san sweeten the Vegas dessert pot

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Because, as you can see, Mio Ogasawara and her kitchen crew will be cooking and composing by hand three different desserts every night. Customers will choose one from a menu, and then be treated to three successive courses of consumable concupiscence.

From the moment you enter, the sights and smells will be so compelling that you’ll be tempted to eat the entire menu…..and that’s just what you’ll do:

Once that aperitif is disposed of (by using it as a dipping chip for some intense fruit sauce), you will then move on to the appetizer — ours was a granité of strawberries — and then the main event. One of you might want want to go light, in which case the Apollo:

Apollo - chocolate and framboise mousse

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…a layering of  raspberry and chocolate mousse rounds) might fill the bill.

Or if chocolate’s your thing, the molten little nugget they serve is dense and deadly with the flavor of the real deal not obscured by too much vanilla or sugar.

Death by not-too-sweet chocolate

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Our favorite though, was the stuffed custard “pie” called “Veil” on the menu — only the most ethereal brioche we can remember layered with vanilla custard and all sorts of gee gaws that get (and keep) your attention.

Veil - stuffed custard pie

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As dulcet as these sweeter tunes are (and keep in mind, they use noticeably less sugar than an American pastry chef would) it was the savory finale — a bastion of basso fromage profundity in the guise of a cheese platter — that took our breath away:

Les Fromage Japonaise

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The mille-feuille dipping sticks were so buttery and crisp (yet so light they practically disappeared on the tongue), we could have spent hours dipping them into the honeycomb honey, whipped bleu cheese (piped onto the plate looking like a tiny blue-green grape sculpture) or the grated Parm or the (very good) wedges of mozzarella. The entire plate dabbed here and there with whatever confiture or confection suits the chef’s fancy that day — the whole becoming much greater than the sum of its parts. (When’s the last time you said that about a cheese plate?)

Gorgeous - to look at and eat

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If someone had told me three years ago that a Japanese chef was going to bring classic and avant garde desserts off Strip, and beat the French at their own game, ELV would’ve asked them to spark him up a doobie of his own, since that there woulda been some good shit they be smokin’.

But it’s true. This place is the bomb. And it’s gonna blow up.

Get here while you can.

The prix fixe dessert menu is $19 for three courses.

SWEETS RAKU

5040 Spring Mountain Road

Las Vegas, NV 89146

702.290.7181

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8 Responses to How Sweet It Is…

  • If you wanted comments, you would have written abut burgers.

  • Look fabulous and really a value in terms of quality and price.

  • We went down a little before 4 pm and the place was packed….very interesting dishes and our group of three thought it a nice addition to the food scene in Las Vegas. Tasty beautiful presentations and service good.

  • wow….its new and interesting sweet dishes are there in your restaurant. Last one’s recipe i seen in Master chef program.

  • I can’t wait to try it!

  • RAKU seems to be serving Bigeye and telling people it’s Bluefin ( I know the difference) I’ve been going there for years and lately there has been a change in the sashimi served. I hope they aren’t cutting quality to pay for this place.

  • There! – E

  • I used to eat at RAKU almost weekly and I too noticed a change in the quality of the sashimi being served recently and agree with the above comment #6 completely. I even said almost the exact same comment to the waitress while there myself. I hope the sashimi quality is a transient issue as the Sake and Robata at RAKU is awesome and I really like the staff there too. It was my wife’s favorite restaurant, but she prefers the bluefin at Kabuto now . None the less, I wish RAKU much success with the new endeavor and look forward to retrying the sashimi there soon.

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