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Jun 11, 2014 04:15 PM

Review #2: Yusho

Initially I had made a reservation at Yusho for our first night in Vegas. One of my good friends who had never been to Vegas said he wanted to have a "Vegas" experience type of dinner for the first night as he had never been before. Considering that and some recent bad reviews I canceled our reservation and we were going to go to the Mandarin for a drink at the Sky Lobby Bar (truly one of the must dos at night in Las Vegas) then go to Jaleo or another place for dinner. As I was driving up Frank Sinatra Drive most of the talk centered on "let's just eat quickly, maybe gamble but on cheap tables and get back at a reasonable time" as we had a 7am tee time the following morning. At that moment we were approaching the back entrance for the Monte Carlo and I pulled in. It was just too easy.

I was a bit worried that on a Thursday at 7:30pm we may have a difficult time getting a table for four but was pleasantly surprised and alarmed as we walked up to the large YUSHO sign to see plenty of available seating. And even better we bellied right up to the bar. Our bartender was as pleasant as could be while not really sure what to make of the four of us. We ordered some drinks along with pickles, fried chicken, the chicken skin and drummies.

I knew the Logan Poser Ramen and the nori wrapped NY aged strip were going to be a must. I looked over the menu and decided to just fire away. 2 orders of the oysters, grilled octopus (reordered another), shishito peppers, duck leg buns and pork shoulder buns.

First up were the pickles and chicken. All were excellent. Bust seriously, how are you going to go wrong with super crispy perfectly crisp sheets of chicken skin and perfectly fried chicken?! Textures, flavors and decent amount of food per order. The pickles have gotten knocked around by some as being expensive and being just that...pickles. WRONG. Loved the perfect sweet tangy crunch along with the different variety of vegetables. The oysters were topped with a small amount of mignonette simply in their shells. They were good but not excellent. Just not the vibrant briny flavor that should accompany each slurp. The octopus came next. The flavor of this dish is just perfect. The enoki, beans and octopus (could certainly stand to add a tad more octopus though IMO) all enveloped by the yolk making this a delightful textural experience along with outstanding flavors. Hence the repeat order. The duck leg buns were interesting but I would have expected more of a confit style, easy to take off the leg/thigh. The flavor was delicious and the buns a perfect accompaniment. The pork shoulder buns were equally enjoyable, and gun to my head, I'll take the pork at a 3:1 price ratio. The nori wrapped steak was a pretty, simply presented dish that had very good flavor. Not a big piece of meat but enough for all for of us to enjoy. And while a bit chewy, the flavor was excellent. And the raaaaaaaamen. Wow, that stuff must contain crack. I could not get enough. Textural bomb and a flavor explosion. I'm glad I moved out of Logan Square when I did otherwise the salt and fat would destroy me.

The staff takes a great deal of pride in what they are doing here and it showed. They were engaging, helpful, fun, kind and professional. As far as the space goes it is a bit too industrial for my liking. It was fine but a bit too stark. And location? I keep my fingers crossed. Monte Carlo is 2nd tier Hotel/Casino at best and I am not sure the traffic there can sustain it. I sure hope it does as it is one of the better dining destinations on the strip (I'm not sure it deserves some of the praise some people are heaping on it but well worth serious consideration).

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  1. Once all the construction is done, the Monte Carlo (and NY/NY) are going to be stronger players in the MGM empire.....closer to what The Mirage and their neighbor across the Strip...The Grand....get....and, as I have suggested recently to another OP, Andre's is really an exceptional evening venue.....dining, cigars, brandy. More suitable to The Wynn or The Bellagio; but, there it is in The Monte Carlo...go figure.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it there, I certainly had a blast at Yusho. The pickles and ramen were two of my faves there as well. I've already noticed they aren't taking reservations past 10pm other than weekends. A shame since I loved knowing they were open until midnight each night.

      1. Once the Arena opens that area between NYNY and Monte Carlo will be a destination - "The District." One hopes they give the spots already there time to establish a fan base before the foot traffic is generated.

        1. Great report! Yusho will be my first dinner in LV in November; very much looking forward to it! Trying to decide between the omakase and ordering a la carte since there are so many things I want to try.

          8 Replies
          1. re: ellenost

            We were actually considering that option until I talked to the expediter (May have been chef de cuisine not sure and his name escapes me at the moment) and his opinion was to make your own tasting, sort of like what we did. The food was actually prepared quite quickly. I don't think, and I certainly could be wrong, that they have different preparations/ingredients for an omakase like Raku.

            1. re: LVI

              You are correct - you can ask for the Omakase and then request specific items....they'll customize.

              1. re: uhockey

                Sounds like I have my dinner plan (now I need to decide which 6 items to include in the omakase--guess I still have some time to consider this).

                1. re: ellenost

                  Not sure they allow it to be 100% customized, but never know - I just know if you say "I'd like item-x on the omakase" it'll be there.

                  1. re: uhockey

                    They always asked me before we started the omakase if there was a specific dish on the menu I was interested in, but I always left it to the Chef.

              2. re: LVI

                They told me most dishes were changed a little for the omekase as opposed to the menu item. Could have been a bunch of bs or maybe they don't do it like that anymore.

                1. re: LongIslandChef

                  I would doubt it. They seemed very nice and accommodation would be natural. I should have asked instead of assuming. I just was so disappointed with the omakase at Raku (those that know me know Raku is my 2nd favorite Vegas restaurant so that is not a slam, just my preference) that I figured I would make our own, which worked out really very well.

                  1. re: LVI

                    They are very nice there, especially the managers. Each time I was there, a manager came over and had me taste a couple of different sakes. One straight up, the other on ice. Generous pours as well.

            2. We just ate at Yusho last night, and I'll be adding my own review soon, but what an amazing meal!