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Apr 1, 2007 04:33 AM

Good Japanese places, NOT on the Vegas Strip.

Hey Chowhounders!

Just wanted to see what other Vegas-people consider good to GREAT Japanese food, that's nowhere near The Strip. (ooookay, a few blocks away is allright) A place for us locals to enjoy and relax, with a good meal away from the craziness of our beloved city. Now, if there are intrepid tourists that manage to find our gems as well, the more the better, right?? ^__^

My picks, in no certain order:

Fuji: On the corner of Pecos and Tropicana, this place has been here for YEARS. The owners/chef/staff are all very friendly, helpful and efficient. It's a small place, but actually manages to have a Teppan-Grill that's either packed full, or empty. I've noticed that by 8pm most nights, it slows down a bit and it a very relaxing place.It seems they get probably 75-80% of local busines. The food? I think it's tasty, fresh and authentic. They make from scratch a ginger-sesame dressing that's to die for with their salad. They do serve sushi by the piece, and it's okay- it's not the place to go for, if that's what your really craving. They make excellent tempura dishes and have a tasty sukiyaki as well. The gem there is the Sesame Chicken. Deep-fried chicken breast with a fantastic sesame-soy-ginger glaze that never fails to impress me. They make to me, the best tonkatsu in the city. Open till 10pm.

Sushi Kaigenrou: This gem is across the street from the Hard Rock hotel and the Hofbrauhaus. One door away is a Japanese video shop. (fun place to get new anime, for those who care about it) Me and my husband went there 2 weeks ago, and they have changed their menu a bit. A great place for sushi, they also have "bar food" like yakitori and little plates of food to order. Kaigenrou is tops for ramen in town, to me. We used to eat at Togoshi Ramen on Swensen and Twain- but have stopped now that we have a better alternative. They have a really delicious spicy ramen, and do a great curry ramen. The chashu ramen's good as well- the slices of pork getting more and more delicious as it soaks in the piping hot broth. This place seems to -really- cater to Japanese tourists (it IS only a few blocks from McCarran airport!) fresh off the plane. Some staff speaks better English than others, some of the cute girls who take orders have a "deer in the headlights" look when they see a non-Japanese eating there!!*LOL* Polite and fast, if a bit akwads service. They serve beer of course, plus shochu cocktails. They also have a small "market" in the store, for minor essentuals. (Pocky, anyone?) Open VERY late, till 2am daily. It can get busy, but isn't as well-known as Ichiza-ya on Spring Mountain, so it's my best bet when craving late-night ramen.

Ichiza-ya: Ahhh..This place used to be so wonderful. Untill about 2 years ago, when the college kids caught wind of it's super-late hours, cheap eating and tons of drinking to be had there. On Spring Mountain Rd, in the Chinatown area. It's on the 2nd story of a 2-level strip-mall. Just right past the "main" Chinatown Mall.
It still caters to a traveling Japanese crowd, but there's a larger mix of college kids, anime fans, trendy people getting dinner before going clubbing, and then locals who want good food. A BIG warning: This place gets PACKED. I've had to wait an hour just to get a table, and this was at 9:30pm, on a THURSDAY. I've had some of the best table-service here, and some of the worst. I guess it depends on how busy they are, and if they are short-staffed. This place has a great bar menu, and make a mean-wicked apple chuhai cocktail. A very full sake and beer list, and boy, it really seems like EVERYONE'S drinking..ALOT. It's also a very very noisy resturant, another reason why we've stopped going there as much. Food is very good here, made fresh and if your so tempted, you can even chat with your chef at the bar-counter. They used to make the -best- age-gyoza (deep fried gyoza) but last time I was there (a month ago) it's off the menu, and they told me they don't make it anymore. That's sad, as they really were fantastic. I disliked their ramen quite a bit, they don't give you any choice on your base for the soup. It was very fishy and unappealing to me. The best thing there is Mapo/Mabo Tofu. Rich, (they use fermented black beans in it, I have a feeling it's why it's so so good) spicy and just the best I have ever had.Some of the cooks there will make it milder than others. I prefer it spicy and ask for it that way. If you like sushi, they are okay.. A unique thing they offer is a "sushi party" for a set fee, you get everything to make your own rolls at the table! Kinda weird, if you ask me. Of all the times i've eaten there, i've NEVER seen anyone do this. Ichiza-ya is good, but has some major things going against it for me anymore.Too loud. Spotty, even horribly slow service. Long waits just to get a table.

Okay, that's all I'm posting for ronite. I'll post later today with my other review of Shuseki, a couple of blocks away from Ichiza-ya, and better in alot of ways.

I'm interested in other's opinions, so post away!

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  1. Koto, on eastern avenue, in green valley. terrific family owned place with fabulous sushi and sashimi as well as a great menu of snacks and cooked food. AYCE for 25 is a tremendous bargain, and it's pleasant, not noisy and just an all around terrific place.

    1. thank you for the japanese food summary !! my SO and I enjoy asian food ( she's chinese so i guess i have no choice ! ) but beyond sushi places ( have you noticed how many AYCE sushi places that exist and continue to open in the valley ! ) we have yet to experience a japanese restaurant in the valley - we both like ramen so we will need to try kaigenru. BTW - i've been to fuji - the sesame dressing...i can drink that out of a bottle - it's the best !! put it on ice cream...i'll eat it !!!

      1. Back for 3 more reviews.

        Shuseki is also on Spring Mountain, just past Decatur. (Across the street from Savers, in another Asian mall. Bottom level, right-side corner) This is another good Japanese place open quite late (till 3am) for lots of different food choices. Much like Ichiza-ya, it's got lots of "drinking food" and appetizers to pick from; sushi, ramen, and alcoholic drinks all about. But, unlike Ichiza-ya, it's not overly-packed with college kids..YET. I'm expecting this place to be serious competition for Ichiza-ya if it's not allready. I mean, it's 2-3 blocks away, so if one's packed, just go down the street. I think the service is better, as is their ramen and oyakodon. Bigger portions than Ichiza-ya to boot. Nice, relaxing atmosphere, and they offer VERY GOOD chu-hai cocktails, best i've had in town. (try the plum..TOO GOOD) At least all the times i've eaten there, it's been not too hectic-noisy..A big plus for me.

        Hamada: Ahhh..There's a good chance locals have allready eaten here. I've been to the main one on Flamingo, and the one in Summerlin. I personally like the main one much much better. I'll be completely honest and say i've eaten only 3 things here: Oyakodon at lunch, tempura and teriyaki for dinner. All were excellent. I like Hamada for lunch, as I feel their prices are a bit high for dinner. They do seem to get more tourists here than any other of my reviewed spots, and I think that's reflected in their price. Service is excellent, and the atmosphere is really quite nice. I really can't speak on their levels for sushi or teppanyaki, but they do a big business on both, here.

        Togoshi Ramen: On Swenson and Twain, it's Vegas' first ramen-joint, and still standing. That says something for the food, cause the neighborhood is downright SCARY. Sorry, but it is. The ramen is consistantly good, and one of their best is mabo-ramen. Love to have that on a cold, rainy day. (not that Vegas gets many of those buuut...) They have the city's BEST yakisoba. The flavoring of soy, Worchestershire sauce and a bit of mirin (i'm guessing) is delicious with the noodles, veggies and sliced pork. Also excellent there is the ginger pork. A bit fatty, but super-flavorful. Their curry is hit and miss. I've had it excellent, but i've also had it when it was the bottom of the pot and NASTY. The biggest thing going for Togoshi's are their lunch specials. Lots of food, for little $$. Allways a good bet in Vegas. *LOL*

        22 Replies
        1. re: Honeychan

          Honeychan - thank you for all the reviews. I have a question about Sushi Kaigenrou. I googled and could not come up with anything relevant. Is it possible the name is actually Yokohama Kaigenro located at 4503 Paradise Road?

          1. re: westie

            westie: Yes, that would be the place. Here i've been calling it SUSHI Kaigenro for at least 2 years!!>_< Wow, do I feel dumb. Thank you for the heads-up!

            1. re: Honeychan

              We tried Yokohama Kaigenro on honeychan's recommendation and could not have been more delighted. The curry ramen was just what we needed after seeing Ka earlier in the evening.

              1. re: westie

                Wonderful, glad you liked it! My DH and myself just had a late dinner there on Saturday, before going to a midnite showing of Spiderman 3. The menu seems like it's a bit newer, with a few items missing. (like my beloved spicy ramen! so sad!)

                They do make a fine, tasty curry ramen. Try the Mabo ramen next time. Spicy and savory, it's got ground pork with cubed tofu. It's something that many people who say they don't like tofu end up loving!

                1. re: Honeychan

                  DRAGONFLY: Have you tried this place yet? Newly opened, same owners as the popular Firefly (tapas) next door. I ate lunch there last week, and loved it. An 'izakaya' style joint; Japanese pub style food. Started with a sushi roll, "dragonfire", I think. Shrimp tempura, avocado, and topped with tuna. Delish. Then I had an orange noodle dish w/pork. Excellent also. My partner had a $10 lunch bento box. A hearty miso soup with 'shrooms and seaweed started her meal, and then a beef/rice/salad/cali roll combo for the bento part of the meal. It was all great. They do happy hour sushi and beers in the afternoon. Will go back very soon for dinner. It's located in the small shopping center on Paradise, just north of Flamingo. Excellent.

                  1. re: Vegas Vic

                    agreed...dragonfly is very good, both the sushi and nonsushi options...i liked the peppers we had last time and the rolls were also terrific. it's not nearly as crowded as firefly, at least not yet, but it has a nice vibe and atmosphere. don't be put off if you see a huge crowd outside...that's just the hipsters congregating outside both ff and df for their smokes.

                    1. re: lvnvflyer

                      Interesting you mention this place! I had no idea that Firefly had opened a new Asian-themed place, and so close to Yokohama Kaigenrou.

                      I've been told by co-workers that Kaizen Sushi, right across from the Hard Rock hotel as well, is excellent. I've yet to make it over there, but they are apparently open very late night as well. (at least till 3am)

                      I wonder why all these Japanese resturants are over on Harmon and Paradise area? Poor Hoffbrau Haus is the lone stand-out! Even tho it's loud and quite obnoxious, I enjoy going there from time to time.

                    2. re: Vegas Vic

                      Just wanted to post I managed to finally try Dragonfly a week ago. I really enjoyed myself, and the food to boot. Like Vegas Vic mentioned, it's next door to Firefly, but the night we went...Dragonfly was deserted, while Firefly had a line out the door, and about an hour wait to be seated. Me and my friend were so confused by this.

                      Atmosphere's trendy psudo-Asian, nothing too off the wall. The waitstaff was very attentive (as they should, being we were the only ones there!) and gracious. The staff is also young and hip, but well-trained.

                      A dining "highlight" was the Mexican Roll sushi. Raw tuna (maguro) with mayo, rice, avacado and raw, fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced. YOW!!! Hotter than anything else i've ever eaten before! I can't say it was "delicious" as my tastebuds were pretty much anniliated from one piece. My good friend who was with me is 1/2 Mexican, and she thought it was very very hot too. (I personally love hot things, but this was toooo much!) I enjoyed the tempura- hot, fresh and clean-oil and the price was right. Just about $6 for that little plate of fried treats.

                      Even tho I didn't get alot at Dragonfly, I liked the place and will be back. Another thing to note: After 10pm, a live house DJ sets up, spinning music. This night was reggae, and that was a nice twist from the usual Vegas club stuff.

            2. re: Honeychan

              Hey to all who's been keeping tabs with my LV Japanese resto reviews! I just wanted to add my newest review:

              Sushi Kai-zen: On Paradise and Harmon, they are kitty-corner from Yokohama Kaigenro. The strip-mall is large, and the place is right next door to a Johnny Rockets burger joint. This place really caters to the young and trendy kids who hang out at The Hard Rock, and can't get into Nobu's. *LOL* We went after work, around 11:30pm on a Thursday. Loud, they have a live dj mixing music after 10pm, or so the place claims.(he was on a break while we were there) So, loud, thumping house music was our soundtrack for the meal. (not my favorite, I like peace and quiet after work)

              I mean this with no disrespect in -any- way, but many Japanese resturants in Vegas are Korean-owned and operated. This place is one of them, and it makes for some interesting twists on things.(not bad, just different) Sushi Kai-Zen is trying to a "Asian-fusion" sushi place, with many unique offerings- like sushi lasagna (!?) I stuck to mixed tempura, and husband got their version of curry-rice.

              The tempura was decent, but not out-of-the-world fantastic. It was hot and fresh- and not greasy. Just a bit pricy for what it was, $9.00 for 7 pieces. The curry-rice was really different, but I personally really liked it. My husband, not so much. Instead of how Japanese curry typically is (very thick and stew-like) theirs was more of a marinade/very light thin gravy. Not overpowering with strong curry flavor, it was delicate and you could taste all the veggies in it, along with the beef. It had many different vegetables in it, like zucchini, mushrooms, potatoes, water chestnuts and onions. I liked it, due to how unique it was, but my hubby disliked it. Not enough strong curry-flavor for him.

              Big, extensive sake and beer list, with high prices- but after midnite, it's 2 for 1 drink happy-hour! (till closing, at 4am)

              My other co-workers who told me about Kai-zen really like this place. If I go back, it will probably be for lunch, and with others who enjoy it, as well. Not terrible, but not the best in town. Big drawback is pounding noise-levels at night.

              Buuut!! With Johnny Rockets right next door, I might be tempted to go there, for a good chocolate malt instead! ^__^

              1. re: Honeychan

                Honeychan, nice call on Shuseki. We hit it for lunch on our way out of Vegas with several friends. Were bummed they don't do sushi for lunch at first. Also looked at the semi-ghetto menu (hand typed job on plain paper with multiple corrections/cross outs) and were not very sold. Almost thought about bolting upstairs for Hue Thai which we'd also seen good reviews for but ended up very glad we didn't. The menu is not very descriptive at all and it does absolutely no selling of any dish. The food is much better than it reads. : ) We ended up ordering though and thoroughly enjoyed our food.

                There was about 7 of us and we shared a bunch of dishes. Only one we didn't love was the sea bass and of course 3 people ordered (was a bit fishy). Absolutely, absolutely loved the fried calamari - not breaded/deep fried, just a bit of a crisp/crunch on portions of it. It was awesome and we went back for seconds. I'd come back here just for this. The chopped octopus with wasabi was super tasty. Tofu dish was great. Eel bowl was yummy. The mackeral got raves. Pork cutlet curry was also great. Thanks for the recommendation!

                1. re: ccl1111

                  Wow, I had no idea the Shuseki's menu is in transition/or that confusing, cc1111. I will admit it's been a couple of months since i've been there (before summer started) and the menu wasen't too confusing then. Really weird, i'll see about getting over there soon in a few weeks to see for myself.

                  The pork katsu-curry -is- quite good there, I have to agree. Very filling and tasty when one's craving a decent Japanese-style curry.

                  Glad you enjoyed Shuseki! I'll see about eating at Hui Thai as well, but it's hard to eat at another Thai place in Vegas before Lotus Of Siam!

                  1. re: Honeychan

                    Hi Honeychan! I just found this post, and really appreciate all the reviews you're posting. I will be in town on business next week with a co-worker who has recently become addicted to okonomiyaki. I looked through all your reviews and tried to find websites on them to search the menus - and couldn't find any mention of the dish. Do you know of any restaurants that might have okonomiyaki ( or even tako-yaki)? Ichiza-ya's menu looked very authentic, but they didn't mention it. Thanks for any help that you might have!

                    1. re: Perramount

                      Togoshi Ramen has it.

                      Togoshi Ramen
                      855 E Twain Ave Ste 107, Las Vegas, NV 89169

                      1. re: brisket

                        Have you ever had okonomiyaki at Togoshi Ramen, brisket?? I've eaten there hundreds of times, and i've never seen it on the menu. (I haven't eaten there in about 4 months, so it could be new?) How was it?

                      2. re: Perramount


                        I wish for ANYTHING that a Japanese resto in Vegas would add oknomiyaki to their menu! It's probably one of my most beloved of Japanese foods of all-time.

                        Even with brisket posting that Togoshi's makes it, i've never, ever seen it on their menu. Maybe it's not listed on the main menu, and it's only in Japanese, on the walls. If they really -do- make okonomiyaki there, I'm going to be one VERY happy lady!

                        1. re: Honeychan

                          I know nothing about this place, but Musashi Japanese Steakhouse lists okonomiyaki on its menu. On the web site menu, it's under "Pot&Grill."

                          Musashi Japanese Steakhouse
                          3900 Paradise Rd Ste W, Las Vegas, NV 89169

                          1. re: Larry

                            Thanks guys. I will check out Musashi, and Togoshi and see how the okonomiyaki is. (Even if Togoshi doesn't have it, I wouldn't mind a good bowl of ramen!)

                            1. re: Perramount

                              It wasn't listed on their menu, at least not on the English version. It was on one of the pieces of paper on the wall with additional items (in English).

                              I've only been to Togoshi the one time and had ramen... I just noticed the okonomiyaki on the wall because my brother really likes it. I, on the other hand, am not a huge fan :)

                              1. re: brisket

                                I forgot to tell everyone reading this thread that YES, Togoshi's does serve okonomiyaki! It's a seafood mix, tho...It has both squid (love it) and octopus (not so much) in it. I didn't get it, as I was in a ramen mood that day. I promise to try it soon, sans octopi. I'll post my results sooner, this time!

                      3. re: Honeychan

                        Hue Thai I think is actually a Vietnamese place with reported great bahn mi's and such.

                        Totally agree with Lotus of Siam. It was Sunday afternoon and we were driving out and LOS isn't open for lunch on Sundays (per their website anyway). Otherwise we'd likely have gone back to LOS rather than try something new (as our friends that were coming along hadn't been there yet).

                        Did take my wife for her first LOS visit that trip and she was in love with it as am I. : )

                        1. re: ccl1111

                          Hue Thai is a Vietnamese restaurant located in the Shun Fat Supermarket strip mall. There banh mi sandwiches are a little expensive for what you get. There is a Vietnamese deli in the same strip mall as Ichiza that has better banh mi. Not only more choices, less expensive, more stuff in the sandwich, but I think if you buy 4 you get a 5th free!

                          Has anyone found any good "hot pot" restaurants, korean or chinese?

                          1. re: mdjsun

                            have you tried the banh mi at nhu lan ? i'm trying to remember the vietnamese place in the ichiza strip mall ...i need to check that one out !! my so had a hot pot at tasty...i don't really know what makes for an authentic hot pot but my SO is chinese and she loved it ! we also liked the hot pot at hue thai ... though i felt that was a little pricey.

                  2. Whenever we are in Vegas, we always make the trip to the Geisha Steakhouse on Desert Inn Road. It's a family owned place in a strip mall - great food, lots of fun.

                    Geisha Steakhouse
                    3751 E Desert Inn Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89121

                    1. I can't beleive I went 5 years living in Vegas w/o trying Kaigenro! I just had lunch there today (after reading your post) and ordered the sashimi special, the sea urchin w/ roe over sushi rice and the 1/2 bowl of miso ramen. I was really impressed w/ the freshness and generous portions of urchin and roe over rice. The sashimi was very good. The miso ramen was very tasty and the noodles were firm just the way I like them. The wait staff were very friendly and super quick w/ the food. Thank you very much HoneyChan for this great recommendation!