Archive for the ‘Spring Mountain Road’

Can OMAE Make It?

September 14, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Openings, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road 4 Comments →

Japanese cuisine can be subtle to the point of invisibility. – ELV

For once, perhaps a few pictures will (truly) be worth a thousand words.

So, in the interest of brevity (for once), we will post a list of the pictures of seven courses, along with the menu descriptions of said courses, before summarizing our impressions of our meal with a few words at the bottom of this article.

We do this not to damn Omae Japanese Cuisine with faint praise, but rather to let you see the food as it would be delivered to your table, before cluttering your minds with our critic’s take on the experience:

Sakizuke — Ikura (Salmon Roe) and Mushroom with Grated Daikon, Ponzu Sauce:

Zensai — Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp) Tartar, Celeriac Puree, and Tomato Sorbet:

Mushimono — Steamed Scallop, Mozzarella and Grated Turnip with Golden Brown Sauce:

Sashimi — Three varieties of Sashimi from Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan:

Sumiyaki — Charcoal Grilled overnight aged Seasonal White Fish with Truffle Soy Sauce:

Teppan — Grilled Wagyu Steak with Roasted Onion and Wasabi Mashed Potato, or Grilled Kobe Beef Steak ($80 supplement as seen here):

Assorted Dessert:

That’s seven courses for $100/per (or $180) if you opt for four, meltingly tender bites of ultra-premium Japanese beef.

Are the ingredients pristine? Absolutely. Are the preparations exquisite? No doubt. But they’re also very, very Japanese, meaning: subtle (and by subtle we mean very subtle) contrasts of textures and flavors reveal themselves with every bite. Some of these sensations will make sense to you and some won’t. (We’re still trying to figure out what was going on with the melted cheese on a steamed scallop on top of a grated turnip napped with some indecipherable-to-the-point-of-invisibility  “golden brown sauce.”

But if you’re the sort who enjoys dissecting dishes, and love debating what a chef is trying to communicate with his concoctions, and prefer quality over quantity (and the deceptively simple over the uncouth and obvious), then you should make a beeline here while reservations in the teeny tiny (12 seat) space are still available.

And if the chef were to ask us (which he hasn’t and probably won’t), we would advise him not to raise his prices to $150/per at the end of the month. In our humble opinion, a Benjamin a head is probably the limit of what the traffic will bear in this location.

Bottom line: This is a thinking man’s restaurant, and not for someone looking to fill up on a big plate of grub. You will be by turns transfixed and baffled by some of the courses here, but Takeshi Omae is obviously a major talent, with an obsessive attention to detail that you rarely find in anything but the best Japanese and French restaurants. Much like Mitsuo Endo before him, he has raised the game for all cooks in this town just by opening his doors.

You will leave hungry but you will also leave fascinated.

ELV joined four major Yelpers (Matt, Tricia, Norm and Michael Uzmann) for his meal here last night. His portion of the bill came to $175, without booze, and as much as he liked the A-5, in the future he would opt out of the supplement as the wagyu steak was just as tasty if not as tender.


3650 South Decatur Blvd. #26


EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 16. CHINA MAMA

August 19, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road Comments Off


China MaMa has settled comfortably into its skin of being our best Chinese restaurant, but that doesn’t prevent it from being the constant target of slurs and rumors along the lines of: “It’s not as good as it once was” or “No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”


EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – Number Eight

August 04, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road 1 Comment →


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ELV note: Gen-san, the sushi master who opened Kabuto and was largely responsible for its early and stellar reputation, left the business a few months ago. Our last omakase dinner there was a few weeks before he left and it was as pristine as ever. Although we haven’t been in the three months since, reports from our regs and other sushi hounds around town tell us neither the quality of the fish nor the experience has suffered.

Let’s get a few things straight, shall we? If you like things like “Firecracker” rolls, “Spider” rolls and “Dynamite” rolls, then you should roll right past this sign-less jewel box on Spring Mountain Road.

Or, perhaps you are in love with some neighborhood sushi joint that “specializes” in rolled rice concoctions with more characters than a “Game of Thrones” episode. If so, then stay away. Kabuto Edomae Sushi is too good for you.


EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – Number Four

July 30, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road 7 Comments →


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We call this the best restaurant in town that everyone can afford.

It’s really two restaurants — the original Raku tucked in a corner of a small, Spring Mountain Road strip mall, and its sweet sister parked a few doors away in the same center — but conflating the two just makes delicious sense.


Beat the Heat With KUMA SNOW CREAM on News 3 With Kim and Dana Wagner

July 18, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Spring Mountain Road, Wake Up With the Wagners 1 Comment →

Yours truly gets to cough his way through a tasty segment on the best shaved ice in town — with good sports Kim and Dana Wagner — this morning on KSNV TV Channel 3. Ahhhh…the joys of live television.



April 07, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Openings, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road 11 Comments →

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Lobster pho photo by Sam Morris

Eating Las Vegas has often wondered whether Vietnamese food in America is the ultimate revenge for that little dust-up we caused there in the 60s. They could never hope to outgun us, the thinking goes, so the expats figured they’d bore us to death with their cuisine.


Happy Chinese New Year!

February 05, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Events, Food, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road 8 Comments →

ELV update: Since posting this review, we’ve returned to 1900 Asian Cuisine twice and encountered laughably poor service on both occasions, as documented in our “Letters of the Month-Hospitality Hell” post above. (It was atrocious even as measured against the relatively low bar set by ethnic Chinese restaurants in general.) As a result of these unfortunate experiences — ranging from a non-existent waitstaff to half our order being unavailable or forgotten about — we can no longer recommend the restaurant. For the masochists among you, read on and let us know if things change.

1900 Asian Cuisine Reigns Supreme

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In celebration of the Year of the Horse, we at ELV thought we’d do a little celebrating of our own by proclaiming the the new holder of the coveted “Best Chinese Restaurant in Town” title.


The Best Restaurant in Town

November 19, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road 7 Comments →

Takaya Zenbayashi at work

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It’s tasty.

It’s fresh.

It’s unique.

It’s inexpensive.

It’s chef-owned.

That chef is always at the stoves.

It’s good.

It’s good for you.

It’s as vegetarian or meat-centric as you want it to be.

It’s as spicy or tame as you desire.

It’s clean.

It’s charming.

It’s intimate.

It’s open all the time, i.e. throughout the day.

The service is unfailingly sweet and efficient.

It’s got food that isn’t fancy.

In fact, a lot of it looks like this:



July 16, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Openings, Spring Mountain Road 5 Comments →

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Here’s a typical conversation ELV often has with his fellow food writers when discussing Chinatown:

Food Writer #1 (puffed up with his usual arrogance): “Have you been to (name any place on or alongside Spring Mountain Road)? My Chinese friends come here all the time, and I consider it the best  blah blah blah….”

ELV: “Yeah, I was there the week they opened, and hit it for lunch at least once a month.”



October 15, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Openings, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road 6 Comments →

Almost empty - but not for long

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Take a good look at the picture above. It represents the dining room at Chada Thai less than one hour into its official opening last Friday night.

You will notice that the room is almost empty. I predict this is one of the last times you will see such a sight.