I’m usually more than a little sceptical when I see the word ‘fusion’ on a restaurant menu. Often an excuse not to reproduce the exact flavours or heritage of a given cuisine, I find it often ends up as con-fusion instead.
However, I was intrigued by Yonaka when I was researching places to eat in Las Vegas. The first good sign is its off-Strip venue, meaning that its success from the food, not the location. It had good reviews and an intriguing menu, reflecting the description of its food as modern Japanese.
It was a good sign when Emma and I hailed a cab and the driver straightaway recognised the name of the restaurant and didn’t need an address.
The service was excellent and the server was great at explaining the dishes to us as other than the sushi, the dishes were unique. You can see their Japanese origins but that’s mixed in with novel ingredients and combinations.
I had a non-alcoholic cocktail that was refreshing with summer fruit. An amuse-bouche of compressed watermelon arrived to get the palate ready.
Our first dish was one of their signature dishes of crispy Brussel sprouts. I’m quite broad-minded when it comes to food but I have to confess that Brussel sprouts aren’t my favourite. However, these had been charred for flavour and mixed with lemon chilli, mint, puffed rice. They haven’t totally changed my view on Brussel sprouts but I did enjoy them.
Next up was one of my favourite ingredients – Toro, which is bluefin tuna belly. Toro has a rich buttery flavour due to the fat content, which was perfectly combined with walnuts for crunch, cranberry to neutralise the richness, negi and piment d’espelette for a little finishing heat. A rich and decadent dish.
We ordered another restaurant signature – Sake Orenji which was Scottish salmon, served with orange supreme and oil with yuzu tobiko (flying fish roe) to accent the citrus notes. A bright and refreshing dish.
Our last dish from the Cool Plates section was Uni to Ikura. Creamy sea urchin had been combined with salty salmon roe, sweet Hokkaido sea scallops, meaty shiitake mushrooms, kobocha and yuzu kosho. Areal celebration of the sea.
Our first hot dish was Meat Candy – twice-cooked caramel glazed Kurobuta pork belly, served with kimchee apple to cut the fat and smoked tofu peanut butter to augment the caramel notes. It tasted as good as it sounded.
Our final dish was grilled wagyu shortrib beef with Thai almond pesto, navel orange supreme, spinach, garlic and black lime. The beef was meltingly tender. Great way to end the meal.Although we were too full for dessert or coffee, we received 2 little almond biscuits to say thanks.
Food: ★★★★★ Service: ★★★★★ Ambiance: ★★★★☆ VFM: ★★★★★ Overall: ★★★★★
Price: Well worth the money for a unique and delicious take on modern Japanese cuisine
Yonaka Modern Japanese
4983 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States