Okada

Okada

Wynn Las Vegas (last visit: October 2009).
Japanese.


Okada is a luxurious Japanese restaurant in Steve Wynn's luxurious hotel.  It's named after Wynn's business partner.  I fell in love with it the first time I ate there, and have returned well over a dozen times.  It has the best sushi bar in town, and the other food I've tried has also been good.



The Menu
In addition to sushi, Okada offers robatayaki (charcoal grilled foods), teppanyaki, and a menu of Japanese foods with an international flair (e.g., Japanese BBQ eel is combined with seared foie gras).  Prices are hardly low, but they're not all that high either.



Atmosphere
It's a beautiful restaurant, and a great place to relax.  During good weather, massive doors slide open, exposing an entire side of the restaurant to a three tiered waterfall and its lake.  The resulting atmosphere at the tables is both dramatic and serene.  The atmosphere at the sushi bar is cheerful.

Service is smooth.  Seated at the sushi bar, I was quickly brought a menu and a wet towel.  The server asked if I'd like to see the drink menu.  I said yes, and one appeared in seconds.  The server showed me the setup of the menu, and told me that sushi is ordered from the sushi chefs, other items from her - exactly as it should be.  When the sake flight was delivered, each was carefully described.  I talked to the server a couple of times during the meal, and she was enthusiastic and helpful.  The wine manager would come over later, to discuss types of sake.

Sushi chefs can either make or break a sushi bar.  They're a major asset at Okada.  Make sure to talk to your chef, ask questions, and show you're interested.  I've learned a lot this way, and have been offered some tidbits not on the menu.


Sushi Bar
You can order sushi anywhere in the restaurant, but sushi fans will head straight to the sushi bar.  The sushi here is the best in Las Vegas - very fresh, very tasty.  More than 30 varieties of sushi are listed (also available as sashimi), plus more than 20 varies of rolls, either cut or hand rolls.  It also doesn't hurt to ask for something if it's not on the menu.  I've eaten my way through most of the items, and have yet to be disappointed.  Here are just a few of the more memorable ones (eaten as sushi unless otherwise stated, although almost all are also good as sashimi):
If you like sake, it's fun to get the sake flight: three classes of sake, from basic to high quality (Tamano Hikari).  My favorite was the Tamano Hikari - but the cheapest was my third favorite, followed by the mid-level sake. Another option is a flight of three high quality (daiginjo) sakes; there's a definite difference between the three.


Tasting Menu
The tasting menu provides an excellent introduction to some of the different kinds of food offered by Okada.  I don't know if the menu changes over time.  When I was there, I had:
Overall, this was one of the better tasting menus I had in Las Vegas.  It's well worth the money.


A Regular Meal
I started with a Variation of Tartars: minced tuna, salmon, and yellowtail, each served in a small taro taco.  A little avocado puree was on the side.  I had mixed feelings about this dish.  It was good; there was nothing to really complain about.  However, the taco masked some of the flavor of the fish, without contributing a lot.

As an entree, I chose the Delice of Bento Box - basically, chef's choice, varying nightly.  It included:
The selections were good but, like the appetizer, somehow unsatisfying.  Not bad, but not memorable.

For dessert, I tried something a little different:  chocolate soup, sorbet, granite, and croutons.  Served together (the croutons put in at the last moment), it was an interesting combination of flavors and textures.  The chocolate soup was a warm liquid with strong chocolate flavor.  The sorbet was thick and creamy.  The croutons added crunch.  Very good!

This was my least favorite of all my meals at Okada - not bad, but not great.  Granted, I had very high expectations, but I hope I simply chose poorly.


Summary
I've eaten sushi for more than 30 years, and have rarely found better sushi than that at Okada.  Their tasting menu is excellent, and based on a few samples I definitely want to try their robatayaki again.  Combine this with a winning atmosphere, and it's a place that deserves to be popular.



The Bill
The bill will vary tremendously depending on the kind of food you eat, and how much you eat.  A light meal at the sushi bar may cost $35 - 50; a large meal, or one involving luxury items, might cost over $100.  The tasting menu was about $100.  Three course meals will run from $50 to $100.  All prices exclude drinks (which can add up if you buy expensive sake), tax and tip.


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