5030 W. Spring Mountain Rd., Chinatown
This classically good Japanese place, also in Chinatown, is rumored to be a favorite of local casino chefs. Refreshingly far from the strip without becoming a trek (it’s about a 15-minute cab), the 48-seat restaurant is decidedly intimate, but the overall effect skews cozy rather than crowded. Owner/chef Mitsuo Endo grew up and trained in Tokyo at Japan’s best keiseki restaurants, and his iteration of that authentic, course-style cuisine results in the kind of menu where you truly can order anything. While there’s an excellent omakase experience, a trip wouldn’t be complete without some hot options: the house-made tofu is excellent, as are the grilled Kobe steak and any of the filling soup and noodle options. Stop by the newly-opened dessert place next door after the meal.
5040 W. Spring Mountain Rd., Chinatown
Chef Gen Mizoguchi, the sushi chef responsible for giving Kabuto its fantastic reputation, left the restaurant over a year ago to pursue his own venture (while it’s too soon to tell if it will live up to Kabuto’s fame, there are very high expectations for his new restaurant, Yui Edomae). Back at Kabuto, things haven’t changed a bit: The hole-in-the-wall place is now helmed by Ken Hosoki, who trained under Mizoguchi for many years and continues to serve hyper-fresh fish in a simple edomae style over vinegar-seasoned rice. The interior space is tiny, sleek, and minimal, and the place to sit is definitely at the bar. Though you’re not likely to leave hungry, Kabuto is just steps from Chinatown Plaza, the heart of Las Vegas’ surprisingly authentic and vibrant Chinatown. The exotic fish and produce at 99 Ranch Market alone justifies a stop.
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