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Jul 15, 2012 05:56 AM

Dissent on Kabuto

I had huge expectations for Kabuto, based on the online reviews and the recommendation of one connected Las Vegas food professional, who said his friends liked it. Plus the ramen place Monta, apparently owned by the same people, was such a revelation for me. Kabuto and Monta are in the same Las Vegas strip mall. For me, Kabuto was a disappointment. It was above average sushi. With a beer, a 10-piece nigiri sampler, a couple of extra pieces of sushi and a tip, my bill came to $84. My taste buds didn’t taste sushi that rated that kind of cost.
To cut directly to the point, two sushi stood out as especially fishy tasting: the jack mackerel and the shad. The jack mackerel had an especially strong sardine taste. I was eating the ginger after that one. I have to confess I’m not a veteran of high-end sushi places. Maybe this was how the jack mackerel and the shad was supposed to taste. If I’m spending a lot of money on the food (this sushi is flown in fresh daily, according to other online reviews) I’m expecting a superb experience.
For me, the unpleasant tasting sushi started with the first one. It’s listed on the menu as kinme or golden big eye. I assume from a Google search it’s some kind of snapper. It was a mild fishy taste. Not as strong as the jack mackerel or shad. But right from the start it was an unpleasant fish taste.
The sushi I liked the most were the fattier tunas plus the sweet shrimp. Both the medium fatty tuna, the chu-toro, and the premium fatty tuna, the o-toro, were delicious. The sweet shrimp and the o-toro were sushi I bought in addition to the 10-piece sampler.
I've dislived the saltwater eel every other time I've had it but I liked it at Kabuto
I started my meal with a mango sake that was pleasant and some sort of spicy radish. I couldn’t quite understand how they were pronouncing its name.
Even the sushi I liked didn’t blow me away, though. Not enough to justify the price of a meal at Kabuto.
The restaurant itself is beautiful. There is no sign on the exterior, just a plain wall and a window. When you get inside, the restaurant is truly beautiful. Simple, elegant and tasteful are the words that come to mind.
And the service was excellent. They came through there.
Again, I have to acknowledge I don’t have experience at top sushi places. But I can go to places in the Bay Area that has sushi that tastes as fresh or better on my taste buds and it’s a quarter of the price.

5040 Spring Mountain Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89146
(702) 676-1044

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    1 Reply
    1. re: SteveTimko

      Unfortunately I have to agree with a lot of what you said. Some of the fish were not that fresh, rice was mushy and not vinegary at all, the size of the nigiri is smaller than many places in Tokyo.

    2. I always appreciate a dissent on a popular place. The weakest part of your argument was those photos, which make me hungry. And I just ate a big meal.

      1. I will begin with stating that I have not eaten at Kabuto yet, but it's irrelevant to this response. That being said, $84 bucks out the door for above average sushi sounds perfectly reasonable to me. 10 pieces of nigiri at $3-4 per piece, mango sake (I've never ordered it, but I'm guessing $7-11?), beer at $6-12, sweet shrimp and otoro at +/- $15, tax + tip. You're right on the money. Not sure how you can have all that for a quarter of the price in the bay area or anywhere for that matter.
        Glad to hear that you received excellent service.
        Mackerel is naturally a very strong tasting fish and it's not likely that you received a bad piece.

        1. Did the sushi chef ask you about your preferences, likes, dislikes before serving you? Kinmeidai is a very mild fish, mackeral and kohada(shad) are very fishy in general.

          1. No, the chef did not ask me about my preferences. My understanding with the nigiri sampler is that the chef picks what is available that day.
            Fledflew: Those prices are common for two servings of sushi., At Kabuto you get one, not two, and it's probably a third to a half the size of regular sushi servings.
            I found nothing special about Kabuto.

            3 Replies
            1. re: SteveTimko

              When I was there about two weeks ago, the waitress asked us about any food issues/dislikes.

              1. re: SteveTimko

                The prices that I factored were per piece. The nigiri I see goes for an average of $5-9 per order.

                1. re: fledflew

                  The nigiri menu offers 10 pieces for $48, plus sake aptertif and dessert, and offers a slight discount compared to ordering by piece. The menu is printed with a date, and on July 3, the menu's most expensive pieces were the o-toro and kamashita at $7/piece. Then there were 3 $6 pieces: Chu-toro, uni and wakaremi (triangle). There were also 7 $5 pieces, 5 $4 pieces and 3 $3 pieces. Not sure how much the tamago was because although it was included in the nigiri menu that night, it was not separately priced on the nigiri menu.

                  The night I dined there, we added two extras: kamashita and uni, adding $13 to the $48 price tag per person (and not including other sakes/beers we ordered).