If you’re thinking that the majority of restaurants that opened on the Strip this year focused on Asian cuisine, you wouldn’t be wrong. The only problem is telling them all apart. Zuma is the visually stunning one, with a view of the Las Vegas Strip to match. The combination of variety of textures, both natural and synthetic, make almost every inch of the space interesting to look at. The robata and sushi bar counters are hewn from massive slabs of ancient Thai wood while there’s a rice paper “statement wall” in the lounge. There’s a drink that is literally smoked for guests at the bar (they heat a piece of wood and trap the smoke in your glass, you don’t inhale anything) while another features cute plastic bags served in a small, square bamboo box. Don’t worry, they didn’t cheap out on glassware; this creative presentation, called “Fish in the Bag,” is inspired by the Asian street-food method of the to-go beverage: served in a plastic bag and sipped through a straw. And no, there’s not an actual fish in there, just a killer gin and tonic with dehydrated orange and green tea tonic water. Even the server who brings it to you will somehow be ridiculously good looking! The dishes from this izakaya are just as photogenic, with shareable small plates that blend traditional Japanese bar fare and modern ingredients, such as thin sliced sea-bass with yuzu, salmon roe and black truffle, or skewers of Kurobuta pork belly with mustard miso. Between this and the pristine sushi selection, don’t get overwhelmed with choices and go with the flow through a prix fixe omakase (that’s letting the chef choose for you) tasting starting at $128 per person. However you order, you’ll remember it as one of the best looking meals you’ve had in a long time.
- Grace Bascos