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Jan 13, 2009 10:37 PM

Raku - preliminary report..(Las Vegas)

I say preliminary because my dining partner, Debbie W, and her husband were with me, and they took photos...I'm sure some we'll show up here sooner or later.

Definitely enjoyed our dinner here. We did have some service issues: we ordered a bunch of dishes to share (its mostly all small plates) and some came out pretty quickly...and then nothing. For quite awhile. Debbie commented that no one in the restaurant was getting anything for awhile. Then the rest of the meal came in a big rush more than 30 minutes later.

I thought maybe it was because a lot of people showed up at once and the restaurant got overwhelmed. Its small (maybe 10 tables?) and it was packed by the time we left. I also realized when I thought about it that the first set of dishes we got were all the cold ones...I wonder if the grill wasn't warmed up enough at first? (We were the first folks to arrive when the restaurant opened right at six...I had requested an early dinner since I was coming straight from work...).

Anyway, the grilled dishes were all standouts when they did come. I can't decide if I liked the butter scallops or the lamb chop better. Might have to go back and taste them both again to decide :-) Also really enjoyed the green tea noodles. They are served cold, with a poached egg on top. I think Debbie is addicted to their sauce.

My personal favorite taste of the night sounded pretty simple on the menu: asparagus tempura. But instead of being coated with tempura batter, the asparagus are coated with crushed rice crackers (you know, the ones with the sweet-salty taste that are a popular Japanese snack...)...and then deep fried. Man, that was good.

Dinner for three was $135 including tax, tip, and a round of Sapporos on tap. Not cheap, but not bad considering the quality and quantity of the food.....Will have to bring my son who is a frequent traveler to Japan here and see what he thinks....

I'm trying to remember what we ate. Here's a preliminary list, Debbie can tell us if I missed anything:

Oysters three ways
Raku pickles (an assortment: cabbage, radish, cucumber, okra, etc. very good!)
grilled "hot" peppers (not all that hot)
a broth with pickle dish ...forget the name.

grilled duck
butter/soy scallops
lamb chops
grilled special mushrooms with bacon
asparagus tempura
green tea noodles

Am I forgetting anything? Thanks for the good company, Debbie!

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  1. Thanks for doing the write-up, Janet. We're enjoying our continuing Vegas eating adventures with you. (The caldo at La Mexicana is Tuesdays and Fridays. We went Thursday. The tortas were enjoyable.)

    You didn't forget any of the dishes at Raku. Only one correction: the mushrooms didn't have bacon and it was some kind of mushroom whose name I'd never heard of before and unfortunately don't remember.

    The food was very good but the service was indeed strange. When we did our first round of ordering, we tried to order the lamb chops but were told they wouldn't be ready for an hour. An hour passed and we were still eating since there'd been such a long delay. Our server alerted us when the lamb chops became available, so we had them and they were quite tasty - slightly charred on the outside, rare inside, very lamby. But I was scared I would get lamb juices all over my shirt since you're essentially eating a full-sized lamb chop with your hands. A little awkward.

    That tempura asparagus was quite amazing. I could've eaten a lot more of it. Same with the green tea noodles - Janet's right, I'm addicted.

    The rest of the dishes were very good too. We wanted to order the hamachi kama which was on the specials board that the server showed to us but right after that when we tried to order it, we were told they were out of it.

    Reservations are definitely necessary. We'd made one for 6:00 and although we were the first to arrive, the restaurant filled up immediately. Would definitely return. The name on the "place" link states "Aburiya Raku" and the address is correct.

    Aburiya Raku
    5030 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89146