Japaneiro may have the best food in the unlikeliest location in all of Las Vegas. Only Omae can probably top it in both categories.
It occupies the center spot in a forlorn, half-empty strip mall on Warm Springs between Rainbow and Tenaya.
The so-so surroundings give you not a hint that, once you head indoors and take one of the 30 or so seats in the strangely laid out joint, you are about to eat one of the best steaks in Vegas.
Before you get to those steaks, though, you’ll first have to stop swooning over the bone marrow (pictured above), or Raku-level Sama Maru (Japanese mackerel):
….or tuna tartare lettuce cups:
….that are so good you’ll have to glance around to remind yourself you’re not in a top-flight Vegas hotel.
If I have a criticism of the menu it is that Chef/owner Kevin Chong is perhaps a bit too fond of uni (sea urchin), and seems to incorporate it into a lot of dishes, even though, this far into the year, it is well past its prime. (It is true that urchin is cultivated year-round from the California kelp beds, but we’ve always found it to taste best in the cold weather months.)
The result is a sometimes a murky/muddy edge to a dish that should sparkle with the bracing scent of the sea. It’s a minor quibble, to be sure, but one Chong could fix by removing the urchin from these otherwise sweet, succulent and sensational scallops:
We at ELV suggest ignoring the uni until October, and concentrate instead on that super seafood and serious steaks.
Such as this dry-aged rib eye for two:
…that is so good it will make you consider never eating beef on Las Vegas Boulevard South again.
What’s so good about it, you ask? Let us count the ways:
1) It’s dry-aged and tastes like it. Not for longer than the hockey season, but enough to give it a substantial, concentrated beefiness you never find at Fleming’s.
2) It comes with truffle salt, garlic chips, ground red pepper and wasabi salt.
3) The mushroom-oil-yuzu emulsion sauce on the side is so tasty, you’ll want to drink it wholesale.
4) The steak is so good it doesn’t need it.
5) Chong cuts the perfectly seared meat into chopstick-ready, bite-sized cubes so you can nibble and share to your heart’s delight.
6) The presentation (see above) — as nice or better than anything you’ll find on the Strip.
7) The price — $60 for a 24 oz. steak, ostensibly for 2 but enough for 4.
8) Did we mention those salts and the sauce?
Put it all together and you have one whale of a beef-eatin’ experience.
It is so good we can’t wait to return for the 48 oz. Tomahawk rib eye and Chong’s truffle marrow filet:
Yeah, it’s that good.
ELV’s dinner for two came to $90, before tip, with no beer or wine. Chong has yet to get his license, but they encourage you to bring your own (or go down the street to Albertson’s and pick up a bottle). Neither the chef nor the helpful and efficient staff had any idea who we were during our meal.
7315 West Warm Springs Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89113