Need Advice From Raku Fans
My husband and I will be heading up to LV for a weekend in July (beautiful weather I know). After looking through the Boards, it sounds like Raku is a place we would like to try. Is there anybody out there who is willing to give us some pointers for the best experience? Such as:
1. Any special requests, seating or otherwise, we should make on our reservation?
2. Tips or ordering--what to order, order of ordering etc.
3. We drink sake but are certainly not sake afficionados. Any recommendations?
I should say that we are pretty adventurous eaters and, unfortunately, big eaters. I wouldn't order the pig's ear on my own initiative but if you think it's a must, let us know. Foie gras, on the other hand, is one of my favorites.
Thank you for your help. If there is already a similar thread about this, I couldn't find it and I'd appreciate it if you would steer me to it. Thanks again!
Raku is a very small resto, so where you sit will be kinda irrelevant.
We had the half & half tofu as one of our appetizers (split it), and I'd say that's an absolute must. I don't tend to go nuts over tofu, but the stuff there is like nothing I've ever had before.
We also had the sashimi salad appetizer which was a-ok, but didn't rock my world.
We got a bunch of skewers - the kobe flank, of course, which was nice, the chicken breast w/skin which is awesome, and the pork cheek, which I couldn't eat b/c it was too fatty for me. YMMV. The specials that day were yellowtail belly (wonderful) and king trumpet mushrooms, among others. They were excellent. I recommend getting any of the daily specials.
We got a pitcher of Sapporo, so I can't say much about the sake situation. However, the service staff is very friendly and helpful, and I'm sure they'd be happy to recommend a good match.
Given the low prices, I'd say order whatever strikes your fancy. I was fuller than I thought I'd be after a bunch of skewers and the two apps, but you can always order more. You'll have a great experience, I'm sure!
They will present a board to you with the day's specialties. When we were there they had a bunch of things and we chose the special tofu two-ways which was tofu served in a miso broth and a fried tofu. I thought they were both great but I love tofu. We also chose the eel which our waitress said was flown in from Japan that day. I thought it was ok.
For the skewers our favorites were the chicken breast with skin, the pork cheek and the kobe flank. Less impressive was the duck. We also had the kobe tendon which was very good but the texture was hard for me to get past.
We also had the foie gras flan in miso. This was extremely rich and we had difficulty finishing it.
If I went back I would probably stick with the skewers. They are clearly the best thing on the menu.
*edit* we also had the enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon off the robata. Normally I hate mushrooms but these were great.
While it is a small restaurant, I personally really like the new part of the restaurant. If it is not busy(if they are holding tables for a later res.) they will seat you at one of the two grill tables, even though it is just you and your husband. The downside is you won't get to see what other tables around you are ordering, so you may actually want to sit in the main room.
They will bring you a specials board, and i strongly disagree with previous posts that the skewers are clearly the best thing on the menu. The specials board is replete with everything flown in from Japan, different fish, eel, shellfish, mushrooms, etc.-all are outstanding. A good option would be to select a few items off of the regular menu and a few off the specials board. A few popular items off the regular menu, some already mentioned, agedashi tofu, tofu salad, potato with corn, juicy chicken, wasabi kobe, tomatos, various foie dishes...
As for beverages, Raku has one of the most comprehensive and reasonably priced sake lists in Las Vegas. Most of the servers who work there are very familiar with the list and can provide helpful direction depending on your preferences (dry, sweet, etc). They also have many 300ml and 500ml format bottles, so you could try a few different ones. Lastly there is a sake flight offered each night where they pour three differing selections for you. Don't be afraid to ask for advice for the menu and drinks-all the girls are very nice.
Lastly, a word on pricing, if you are concerned about the final bill. The specials board never lists prices, but some of the items are expensive(compared to most other items on the regular menu). IMO, even the most expensive items on the specials board are still a good value considering the quality and preparation. It is an awesome experience to go there for the first time, have a great meal!