Sushi Ko, located in a sprawling strip mall just off Craig Road in Las Vegas, takes sushi to a whole new level. A variety of custom-made rolls are on offer at this casual Japanese eatery, with fun names like Fire Starter and Godzilla. Customers can pick their favorite seat in the house, with traditional sushi bar space, a large teppanyaki area for people interested in a showy meal, and a slew of regular tabletops for more relaxed dining. Sushi Ko has been open for more than a decade, supplying northwest Vegas locals with quality fish that’s shipped in daily, plus an array of side dishes, sauces and other edibles made in-house. The décor is only a few steps above fast casual chain dining, but touches like a Japanese paper door and the occasional run of bamboo help to sell the place.
In 1971, Jimmy Nishiyama introduced the city of Las Vegas to Japanese hibachi cuisine. Three decades later, and the friends have stayed very much in touch. During that time, Geisha House, Nishiyama's brainchild, has grown to fill three locations and eight menu pages. Colorful specialty sushi rolls, such as the baked Japanese Lasagna—cream cheese and mayo atop a crabmeat and avocado roll—make fitting partners for grilled lobster, filet mignon, or scallops in hibachi dinners. Nearly 30 varieties of sake trip merrily across the palate, while the Geisha martini blends sake with plum wine and a treasure trove of James Bond jokes.
Yoko Sushi's skilled culinary artisans create delicate sushi rolls and classic Japanese cuisine to form expansive lunch and dinner menus. The flagship all-you-can-eat sushi package piles plates high with succulent morsels of red snapper or mussels, as well as classic rolls such as the spicy yellowtail, to fill stomachs at noon ($22.95) or in the evening ($25.95) and foster impromptu Jenga games. Teriyaki dishes deliver a choice of beef, chicken, or salmon ($6.95), and the special grilled-mackerel plate only arrives after marinating in seawater ($8.95). Finish gastronomic symphonies on a sweet note, with a selection of dessert such as the tempura fried ice cream in a choice of green tea or plum ($3.50), which combines hot and cold like a volcano full of popsicles.
When the neon lights illuminate the midnight sky of Las Vegas, the cooks at Monte's Pizza Restaurant are still hard at work. They dart about their kitchen, checking on saucepans of marinara and bubbling pots of angel hair pasta before showering dough in creamy ricotta cheese, fresh basil, and plump sausages and loading pies into fiery ovens. Others layer crusty rolls with meatballs, steak, and salami before turning their attention to juicy slabs of baby back ribs sizzling on grills. Throughout the week, this kitchen staff keeps late hours, making its restaurant a popular spot for late-night carousers or sleepwalkers dreaming of enchanted meatballs that will grant them eternal beauty.
Sushi has become wildly popular in cities across the U.S., but Osaka Summerlin was way ahead of the trend. Osaka natives Sam and Aiko Nakanishi founded its sister restaurant way back in 1969, and their daughter Joy expanded their tradition of ultrafresh seafood and sizzling Japanese entrees to Summerlin three decades later.
The menu spotlights exotic Japanese seafood, including live surf clams, abalone, and chickens that taught themselves to tread water. In addition, chefs craft traditional bento boxes and inventive sushi rolls, such as spicy crab with tempura jalapeños. But the real star of the show is the hibachi grill. Here, chefs entertain diners with spatula flips, fiery onion volcanoes, and other tricks of the trade as they sear meat, seafood, and veggies to a perfect char.
The grill's dancing flames might be the flashiest sight at Osaka Summerlin, but the decor does its best to compete. Red walls blush in the soft glow of square wall sconces, graphic art from local designers hangs on the walls, and bejeweled pendant lamps evoke overfed snowflakes.