What began as a plaza on Spring Mountain Road adorned with statues of traditional figures from Tong Dynasty literature has blossomed into what might be the most creative culinary destination in Las Vegas. Decorated with intricate artwork and bustling with shops like an authentic Asian grocery store, a Korean cosmetic boutique and a Chinese bookstore, the Chinatown Plaza has morphed into the city’s growing destination for Asian cuisine and culture. Just minutes from Las Vegas Boulevard, Chinatown has spread west and east and diversified into the go-to spot for locals and visitors looking for an authentic Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese or Japanese meal. For those in search of the latter, here are five Japanese restaurants to try in Chinatown’s Seoul Plaza.
Award winning chef Mitsuo Endo brings his years of Japanese culinary training and exquisite attention to detail to Aburiya Raku, an inviting haven serving Japanese tapas prepared in the slow-grilled robata style. Ingredients such as kobe-style beef and Kurobuta pork are grilled on special charcoal imported from Japan. Menu selections include foie gras with soy glaze and tofu made in house, though opting for omakase (chef’s choice) is the best way to taste the freshest selections of the day.
Abriya Raku, 5030 Spring Mountain Road #2; 702-367-3511
Edomae sushi is a reference to the bay area of Tokyo, and that’s what customers will find at Kabuto. The cozy restaurant specializes in fresh nigiri, meant to be consumed right after it has been prepared by the chef. Omakase-style meals vary depending on the chef’s whim, but flavor always comes standard.
Kabuto, 5040 Spring Mountain Road; 702-676-1044
Whether enjoyed on a warm summer evening or in the depths of a cold desert winter, Monta Ramen’s Kurume-style ramen always tastes like comfort food. Made with broth from imported soy sauce and pork bones, Monta Ramen’s menu caters to ramen novices and experts alike. From the signature Tonkotsu style ramen, with its rich, creamy broth, to cold noodles served with roasted pork and sesame or yuzu sauce, there’s something for every season and every appetite.
Monta Ramen, 5030 Spring Mountain Road #6, 702-367-4600
Japanese Curry Zen is a straight-forward restaurant that makes customizing the perfect plate of Japanese curry easy. Diners start with the signature vegetable curry, made with 10 different spices, and add toppings such as chicken katsu, pork tenderloin, or spinach, tofu and corn. An impressive selection of Japanese beer and sake complements any combination.
Japanese Curry Zen, 5020 Spring Mountain Road #1, 702-985-1192
Those familiar with the sushi burrito craze that’s swept the Las Vegas Valley will be enticed by a new take on Japanese fusion at Nakamura-ya Trattoria. Inspired by the similarities between Italian and Japanese cuisines, chef Kengo Nakamura created a menu that marries the best from both worlds. Diners can expect pasta-forward dishes like and tomato cream sauce on a bed of linguini and sautéed calamari with squid ink spaghetti.