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Raku vs Yusho

I can only do one. Please help decide.

Raku seems to have the edge on word of mouth. Seems more traditional.

Yusho seems a bit more "creative". And it's close to our hotel for convenience.

Have never done either before.

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  1. Only been to Yusho 3x and raku prob 50+ to be fair, but not even close - Raku. Yusho has a great word of mouth with many posters here I respect, but I personally don't understand the hype. And that's just the food, it may be one of the worst build out and lighting combos in town. If I wee visiting the cab ride is more than worth the raku experience, of course depending on where you reside full time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: palmdoc1

      We are from out of town.
      Thanks. We were leaning Raku and it seems like that's the right thing to do.

      I'm curious when the best time to visit is.
      I hear not too late because the specials may be gone.
      But not too early because service may not have "warmed up"

      Is there a sweet spot?

      Finally, do I need a res at sweets raku after for dessert?

      1. re: Heeney

        You can generally walk in at Sweets Raku provided it isn't between 7-9.
        From what I've been told, the best time at Raku is around 6:30 or 7:00 provided you can get the reservation.

        1. re: uhockey

          Great. I have one for 7 so sounds like I am all set.

    2. Both are good, but if I had to choose one it'd be Raku. I like Yusho and Chef Merges a lot, but Raku is truly a 'destination' in Vegas.

        1. Thanks for the feedback. Any info on when is the best time to go (see my comment from earlier)?

          1. Raku is a revelatory experience. Just go. And, definitely have dessert at Raku Sweets.

            2 Replies
            1. re: 5GBoyee

              I've seen your description of Raku as "revelatory" in a couple of places. We're headed to Vegas in a couple of months and Raku in on the short list. Can you elaborate on what's "revelatory" about it? Do you get the tasting menu or order for yourself off the menu? Any recommendations for particular dishes?

              1. re: ahoskins

                I use the word ‘revelatory’ in rare instances when a dining experience causes me to think differently about food or the experience of dining. At Raku, they have the ability to present a food in its purest form. At times, it feels as if there is no better representation of an ingredient than on one of Raku’s plates. Case in point: their agedashi tofu – made in-house, sitting in a beautiful broth with tender mushrooms, is the best I have ever had and will have you rethinking how tofu can taste. In addition, the combination of artful presentation and steady stream of unusual plates, bowls and pottery, will have you eagerly awaiting every dish. It’s an evening of discovery and pleasure that rarely occurs when dining out. I’ve been there four times and will be going for a 5th time this September. I’ve brought foodie friends there – all of whom have been blown away. The experience continues at Sweets Raku. Once you experience the dessert tasting menu, you’ll pass on desserts elsewhere – the subtlety, complexity and whimsy that Chef Mio demonstrates (definitely sit at the bar to see her in action) will make you smile and rethink how satisfying dessert can be.

                In addition, the warmth and friendliness of all of Raku's staff is, for me, part of the experience. Chef Mio once demonstrated for my wife and I how she makes a spun-candy apple. She stopped what she was doing and took the time to create it for us and then gave it to us as a gift. I don't know her - she just decided to do it. How often does that happen anywhere?

                Other faves: ohitashi, sunomono salad, their asparagus (trust me – order it), their eggplant, and, most of all – anything on the daily specials board. I do not get the tasting menu as I always love what they have as daily specials. Enjoy and thanks for asking!

            2. I got back from Las Vegas 3 weeks ago. I fully intended to go to Yusho but I stuck my head in the door, looked around, glanced at the menu and decided to go to Raku instead. The place and the menu look uninteresting, whereas at Raku you can get a skewer of kobe beef liver or a half order of tofu for about $4 each. Yusho is a casino restaurant and the markup there alone makes going to Raku instead worthwhile

              1. Is Raku a destination restaurant for someone from LA?

                Based on the menu it looks like NO unless I have a giant craving for foie gras yakitori, but I'd like to hear someone's input as it would be a PITA to get there from the hotel w/o a car...

                11 Replies
                1. re: ns1

                  I've done a fair bit of dining in LA but admittedly not focused much on the sort of food Raku does. That said, Raku is a very special place and the online menu is only ~1/2 of what they offer each night. Getting there by cab is a snap, also.

                      1. re: ns1

                        wow KevinEats really sold it though (I already told the wifey to book a res)


                        Has anyone done the kaiseki?

                        1. re: ns1

                          No more kaiseki option anyways. There's now an "omakase" for either $75 or $100.

                          1. re: chrishei

                            For a first timer, omakase or a la carte?

                            1. re: ns1

                              If you don't mind spending $75-100/person (which I'm sure you don't), then probably omakase. You get more for your buck too actually. If not, then I highly suggest the agedashi tofu, some specials, some foie (since we're from CA), and of course the kushiyaki.

                              1. re: chrishei

                                Thanks. I'll prob ask for the omakase, mention that I'm from LA so 1) familiar with the cuisine and 2) don't have access to foie, and special request the agedashi cuz I looooves agedashi.

                                Thx for reply Chris.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  If they don't ask you to commit (which they have sometimes when I've gone with a group), I might wait until you see what the specials of the day are before choosing the omakase. In some cases, the specials are on the omakase.

                                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                                    thanks. we got a prime time res for 2 next week. I've eaten nothing but Indian food for the past 10 days, so my body is hungry for Japanese.

                              2. re: ns1

                                Done both and without question I would go a la carte. I have found that there are a couple dishes on the omakase that I would consider "throw away" items. Not that I'd throw them away but rather something like a new potato boiled in broth (no kidding, that was a "course" once). Also, creating your own tasting can cost the same and you will get everything you want.

                    1. "Sweets Raku", any relation to Raku?

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: ns1

                          Same owner, same complex - he imported the pastry chef from Japan.

                        2. Thank you hounds for the Raku suggestion. Even after the $40 in cab rides I thought the meal was a great value.

                          Super hits - agedashi tofu, foie gras chawanmushi, pork cheek

                          Minor miss - tsukune. I get that it's hodori chicken and all but the lollipop nature of their serving meant less surface area for charred goodness and tare.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: ns1

                            That's all you ordered?!? Gotta step up yo A game man!

                            1. re: chrishei


                              trying not to end up 350 pounds =P

                            2. re: ns1

                              I was going to comment that IMO Raku hands down for value, quality and selection. It looks like you made a great choice. The agedashi tofu is one of my absolute favorite dishes! I will say I am a bit surprised by the size of the tsukune. It has been 8 months since I have been to Raku but it looks to me as if it has been cut in 1/3 to 1/2 of what I remember. I know food rices have gone up but that looks a bit extreme to me. Hopefully it is a one off rather than a new portion size.

                              1. re: LVI

                                it was the equivalent of 2 standard size tsukune balls, so unless it used to be a giant tsukune-pop, I felt it was an appropriate size.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  Ok thanks. Just looked small in pic to me. Great to know. Glad you liked Raku. It is one of my favorites.

                                  1. re: LVI

                                    no doubt, I will most likely return next month.