Living in Vancouver, I have been spoiled by the numerous Japanese restaurants available (Dinehere.ca lists over 300!). With fresh fish at my doorstep, I have never thought to try it elsewhere (except for Japan). When Hol’s asked me to be her MOH back in December, I had already generated a mental list of restaurants to try out in Las Vegas. Whenever people ask me for dining recommendations in Vegas I would immediately direct them to my beloved Bouchon. However, Bouchon breakfasts and dinners have become a tradition for Beverly, Charlotte, and I (and sometimes tagalong Chad-o), so I needed an alternate location for this trip.
I searched on several review sites and the name Shibuya kept on popping up as one of the top rated restaurants in Las Vegas. Being in the middle of the desert I would never think to have Japanese food whilst in Las Vegas. I mean, come on, where’s the fish coming from? Are they taking a 2.5 hour plane ride from Vancouver? Well, I’m guessing Hol’s was also on some of these sites because she had decided to put together a list of places that she would like to go to and Shibuya was at the top.
Named after one of the 23 special wards in Tokyo Japan, Shibuya Restaurant at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino attempts to portray a similar ambiance: a hip and happening hustle and bustle restaurant. Situated in a celebrity speckled property, this was definitely a place to see and be seen. Like most “hot” restaurants, this place looked trendy and posh. Perfectly in line with Hols and the girls for a night out in the city that never sleeps
I was much too busy taking everything in and so the girls took charge and ordered a nice assortment from the menu. The only thing I ordered was the 3oz lychee-tini.
I started my night with a lobster miso soup. There wasn’t much miso flavor in this soup but it was quite sweet from the lobster and shitake mushrooms. I wouldn’t really call this a miso soup, but I did enjoy the mushroominess. They should just call it as it was: lobster and mushroom soup.
Next up was the Shibaki Tuna Tartare. There were so many flavors and textures on this one tiny little plate. The creaminess of the avocado and chopped akami tuna was a nice contrast to the pop of tobiko and mountain caviar. Add the crunch of the yuba chip and a light burst of citrus from the yuza cream, and you have nice little party in your mouth. I could have had 3 or 4 more of these things by myself!
Because I did not have a chance to check out the menu, I did not know what to expect when the Jidori Chicken arrived. Looking at the description now, this tasted nothing like what I would think it should taste like. The skewers of “lemon teriyaki” organic chicken had a sprinkle of black sesame on it and sat in a bed of wild greens and grilled peppers next to the golden croquettes. Plating wise, it was a nice mixture of colours and texture- it was superb. Tasting wise was a whole other story. Well, I shouldn’t say that. It tasted like any other teriyaki chicken plate. To be fair, the chicken was grilled very well and there were no parts that were over cooked.
Being a Jidori chicken dish, I would expect nothing but a fresh chickeny taste, and I did get that. Thankfully each bite of the skewer was just as juicy as the next. I would have been very upset if I had to spend $24.00 on rubbery chicken. The satsumaimo croquette was actually quite yummy. This was the first time I’ve had a satsumaimo croquette and it reminded me of the pumpkin croquettes I’ve had at Guu, only these didn’t have an egg in it and the flavor was more clean and mild. There was a light sweetness to the croquette and the creaminess of the satsumaimo worked really well with the airy crunch of the breading. For me, the star spangled around the croquettes more so than the jidori chicken.
The Black Angus Tenderloin came with a forest of Japanese mushrooms. I think I enjoyed the mushrooms more so than the tenderloin slices. The tenderloin was very soft indeed, but that’s the quality about the meat rather than the skill of the chef. The flavors really soaked in to the mushrooms though; there was a nice tangy sweetness from the black truffle ponzu sauce that was dancing nicely with the earthiness of the mushroom medley. This was a dish that was devoured immediately because the aroma of the mushrooms, tenderloin, and truffle ponzu was simply dare I say.. breathtaking. I was lucky enough to get a taste at the expense of a clear picture 😦
Apparently we had ordered the Miso Duo of Salmon and Black Cod. I think it was very tasty because by the time I finished my pictures, the plate was gone. I snagged a small bite of cod from Hols and the morsel was nice and creamy. Super grilling skills at work here, there was a nice sear on the outside while the inside was soft and moist. Overcooked fish is like eating cardboard.
We couldn’t leave without having a few rolls. These were nothing too special, though it definitely looked pretty. The rice was a little mushy but at this point in the meal, I didn’t really care because I was stuffed from everything else. Fish was not fresh, but I didn’t really expect it to be. Gomenasai sushi no chef san.
This restaurant carries 4 AAA Diamonds under its belt, is recognized by Forbes, and is listed as one of the top restaurants in Las Vegas. There are over 125 varieties of Sake in-house and rather than a sommelier, they have a Sake Specialist to assist you in all your Sake needs. The ambiance was great, the service was great, and the presentation of all the dishes was fantastical. The only problem was my spoiled Vancouver taste buds have tasted more freshness at a $10-$15 restaurant compared to this $45-$65 hot spot. It’s a great place for a bottle of sake and just people watch or let people watch you, but I prefer the real Shibuya in Tokyo. At least I can cross “Dining at a Posh Restaurant” off the list and I didn’t spend 2hrs wandering around Shibuya Station searching for Cons and Hachiko.
Last Visit: May 2011