By Vegas Food Nerd
I was recently invited to check out the Happy Hour menu at Sushi Roku. My husband and I are big lovers of Japanese cuisine, and couldn’t wait to check out the restaurant. Combine that with a huge appreciation of the idea of Happy Hour, in general (great drink specials paired with small bites—what’s not to like?) and you have a happy food nerd, indeed.
Their Happy Hour runs from 5-7pm Sunday through Thursday, and on Fridays and Saturdays it runs from 4-6pm. The restaurant is located on the third floor of the Forum Shops located adjacent to Caesars Palace. Usually, as a Las Vegas local, the idea of going to anywhere in Caesars’ vast footprint of a resort sounds like a big hassle and a lot of steps on my fit bit. We were told to park at the valet closest to Joe’s Stone Crab, and to my surprise, on a Saturday, there was virtually no wait, and when we picked the car up at the end of our meal, it was hands-down the fastest I’d ever seen our car come up at a valet in town, ever.
Once inside, all you have to do is ride the fun, spiraling escalator to the restaurant. Tucked in a corner next to an art gallery we found Sushi Roku. The space in which it is located is just incredible. It has an ancient yet modern feel, with warm dark colors, wooden accents, and these cool cement tiles that cover square-lit accent towers that decorate the restaurant. Then, as they took us to our table, we rounded the corner to see a mouth-dropping view of the Las Vegas Strip, which stretched from The Linq all the way down to the MGM Grand. Add to that view the table where they seated us (a huge black couch of a booth that sat directly in front of the windows) and you have all you need to create a setting that screams romance. All of those things added to our dining experience, as the sunset and the lights of Las Vegas shone their colors. Our host for the night was John, and he expertly ordered and guided our tasting for the night. Upon his suggestion, we started off with a very popular cocktail from their once sister restaurant, Boa Steakhouse, called the “Boa 405.” The drink was Vodka with fresh Strawberries, Lemon Sour, Balsamic Vinegar, Simple Syrup, and believe it or not, fresh cracked black pepper. It was the perfect combination with great flavors, but not overly sweet. Then the food started to come: small dishes, hot and cold paired, as our now very trusted host saw fit.
The first course was the hot Miso Eggplant Dengaku with their Tuna Carpaccio with Sesame Soy and Garlic Chips, and their Albacore with Garlic Ponzu and Crispy Onions. All excellent dishes, but the eggplant stood out—it was hot and savory with a touch of sweetness and just melted in your mouth. The fish that was served with it was so fresh and tender—each bite was killer. Next up at our table was their Mushroom Tempura with a Creamy Truffle Miso sauce, Miso Glazed Popcorn Shrimp Tempura, and their Hanabi Spicy Tuna served on Crispy Rice. The Mushrooms were decadent and full of flavor, and the Popcorn Shrimp were bathed in a scrumptious sauce that still left enough tempura crunchiness. The Spicy Tuna (raw fish) was accented perfectly by the warm, crispy rice cake that it was served on. Before our next dishes were served, our amazing waiter, Greg, suggested we try another signature cocktail, their “Salary Man,” which was a perfect combo of Dewars 12-Year Scotch, Daiginjo Sake, Simple Syrup with a Raspberry Cilantro mash (Yes! Thank you, Greg). It was really good. Then they brought us a Bacon-Wrapped Cherry Tomato from their Robata Bar, with their Crispy Chicken with Cilantro Mayo, and a dish from their dinner menu: Chilean Sea Bass with their Truffle Miso sauce. The cherry tomato was our least favorite dish, as the bacon was a bit underdone for us. It could have used a little more crispness to it. Their take on fried chicken was very good and we liked the combination of the cilantro with the mayo. The Sea Bass was a succulent, delectable offering, served on a bed of Sautéed Spinach that was simply amazing. In what we thought was the end of our tasting, John brought us one of their signature Sushi Rolls they call Makato. It was Yellow Tail, with Shrimp Tempura, Seared Tuna, surrounded by a spicy creamy sauce and accented with two Tempura Green Beans on the side. It was a delightful luscious combination of flavors. Bottom line: We were slowly entering into a food coma; a very happy coma.
As we slowly decided it was time to come down from our foodie high and head home, Greg appeared again. This time tempting us to sit back down and experience their Mini Chocolate Volcano with a Caramel Crème Anglaise, and their Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes paired with their Vanilla and Chocolate Crème Anglaise sauces. Both were served warm and were a delightful way to end our meal. The ambience and flavors all melded together to make for a romantic and sensual way to spend a night out on the town in Vegas.
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Photos: “Boa 405” by Sullivan Charles. “Hanabi Spicy Tuna” by Claire Thomas