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Feb 5, 2009 06:39 PM

Sunday and Monday in Vegas: Sen, Raku, LOS

I will be in Las Vegas for 3 nights: Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I'm hoping to go to Lotus of Siam, Aburiya Raku, and Sen of Japan. Are any of these places to avoid on a Sunday or Monday night because of main chefs taking the day off or less-fresh ingredients?

My instinct is to save Sen of Japan for Tuesday and go to LOS either Sunday or Monday and Raku the other night.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Raku is closed on Sunday.

    1. Sen is open only for dinner and is open very late (until 2:00 a.m. every night but Sunday, when it closes at midnight).

      LOS is closed for lunch on Sunday but otherwise open. If Saipin isn't cooking, it's usually for a personal reason -- she occasionally takes off a lunch, but that's rare. It's really hard to keep her away from the kitchen.

      I haven't been to Raku yet but I'll remedy that on my next visit.

      Just in case, I'd make a reservation at Raku and Lotus.

      I think you are going to be very happy with your culinary itinerary.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Thanks. I've been to LOS many times over the years and can anticipate how happy I'll be at that dinner (and most or all of the lunches I have during those days). Raku and Sen will be new for me.

        1. re: david kaplan

          Be sure to make a reservation at Raku ASAP. It's tiny, last time I tried to go without one, they said they could seat us in 3 hours...

          May I ask your motivation in going to Sen? Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great sushi place, my favorite in town. But if I was coming from a place with access to really good sushi, I'd skip it in favor of something a bit more unique.

          1. re: brisket

            Thanks. I did reserve at Raku and am excited to try it.

            I live in San Francisco and am generally underwhelmed by the sushi at home. How would you say Sen compares with places in SF?

            What would you consider more unique in Vegas? I have read through most of the recent Vegas posts, but I'm curious to hear your personal opinion. I will have a car during my stay.

            1. re: david kaplan

              The only place in SF I've had sushi is Sushi on North Beach, and that was a few years ago, but I have a positive recollection of it. Don't get me wrong, Sen's sushi is great and good value compared to other high-end places in Vegas, and I'm sure you would enjoy it. If you want excellent sushi, go there.

              If you wanted to stay Japanese, I'd go to Ichiza on Spring Mountain, one of my current favorites. It's izakaya-style, lots of different dishes great for sharing, as well as all the usual Japanese suspects. While they have sushi, they have a lot of other non-sushi dishes that are a little harder to come by. Settebello in Henderson has fantastic, authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. The Peppermill on the Strip is pretty damn unique but the food isn't too hot :)

              What are you interested in or looking for?

              1. re: brisket

                At Raku last night (which was amazing) the staff strongly recommended Sen for sushi, so I think our hearts are set on that. I have eaten at the Peppermill enough to know exactly what you mean. We go home tomorrow late morning, so the only other meal aside from tonight I have time for would be breakfast. What can you recommend that's not standard American breakfast fare and opens at 9:30 or earlier?

                1. re: david kaplan

                  Nice, I think you will enjoy Sen. Be sure to check out their current specials in the menu, in my experience it's hard to go wrong when ordering from that page.

                  I like Bouchon in the Venetian for breakfast, the patisserie in Bellagio is also good.

                  1. re: brisket

                    Sen was excellent -- among the two or three best sushi experiences I've had outside Japan. My only wish was that the Shinji-san had not steered us toward his more creative nigiri at the beginning. His creations tend to be strongly flavored, with ginger, garlic, chili, capers, or onions, and though the flavors were appropriate for strong fish, it dulled my palate a bit for milder sushi that I also wanted to enjoy. Next time -- and there will be a next time -- I will ask to start with traditional unspiced nigiri and then move to his more creative options.

                    Not to miss: torched black snapper nigiri.

                    Thanks for the breakfast recs. I will either try Bouchon @ Venetian or Verandah @ Four Seasons -- I'm staying at the latter and a quick glance at the board suggests that the quality difference between the two is close enough that it's not worth schlepping over to the Venetian.

                    1. re: david kaplan

                      I'll be there in March, and I'm leaning towards hitting Sen on the second night. First night will be a cheaper burger type place, like BLT Burger, but now I'm getting excited for great sushi.

                  2. re: david kaplan

                    Also, Payard Patisserie in Caesars. The almond croissants are freakin' awesome and I'm not usually a breakfast pastry person.

        2. What's the pricing at Sen? I looked at the website and there's no prices listed (which makes sense for the sushi as I assume that could change, but there's no prices even for other dishes). I'm interested in the sashimi, rolls, and cold/hot dish pricing...thanks in advance!

          7 Replies
          1. re: Jess321

            We ate a generous amount of sushi and minimal alcohol and paid around $40 each. I was expected a much higher bill. Great value.

              1. re: Dave Feldman

                Over several visits at LOS, my favorites were the minced-pork-toasted-rice salad and the Issan fried beef jerky, both of which I've had many times and never disappoint. I also really liked the green chile dip -- one night I wanted a lighter dinner and that (along with sticky rice and coconut ice cream) was perfect. The blemish on otherwise great meals there was the drunken noodle that was paired with delicately deep-fried sea bass. The drunken noodle had no wok-char; though tasty enough, I've had many better versions elsewhere.

                1. re: david kaplan

                  I happen to agree that the drunken noodles at LOS aren't their strong point. In fact, with the very big exception of the khao soi, the noodle dishes at LOS aren't among my favorites. Thanks for the quick response to this and my Raku question.

                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                    That's right -- I had the khao soi as well -- which I've had there before -- and it was good as ever.

                2. re: Dave Feldman

                  At Raku, nearly everything was great. My favorites were the tsukune skewer, which was lighter and more flavorful than I've ever had anywhere; the negi-kano (duck with onions) skewer; oden with fish cake and tofu; agedashi tofu; and the poached egg with sea urchin. Everything is homemade and so carefully balanced. At one point I even sipped a bit of homemade soy sauce from a spoon when no one was looking.

                3. re: david kaplan

                  Sen is still my "go-to" sushi spot but i've decided to skip the omakase on future visits. it's definitely worth a try ( go with the cheaper of the 2 options ) but i've found that on subsequent visits, they don't provide enough variety even though they ask you how many times you've had the omakase.

                  In what's become a bi-weekly visit to Raku, i've covered about 3/4 of the menu - my favs are the grilled veggies - especially the mushrooms ( they have various types of mushrooms depending on availability ) - the mushroom/ground chicken and the asparagus/bacon = heaven. They had an exotic mushroom that absorbed the charcoal grill taste along with a hint of garlic that bordered on orgasmic - we ate 4 servings ! the only letdown - the pig ears were dull and the lamb had a little too much sauce. my goal is to rate the entire menu ( sans specials ) when i finally get thru it ( knowing my luck, the menu will change before i complete the task ! Then again, i'll probably be broke, too.

                  Happy Eating !