Just two months after opening Wakuda in Singapore, Chef Tetsuya Wakuda and John Kunkel of 50 Eggs Hospitality Group are opening a second location of the Japanese restaurant.
Wakuda Las Vegas marks the first U.S. restaurant for the chef who has earned accolades at his two-Michelin-Star Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands Singapore and his popular Tetsuya’s in Sydney, Australia.
Wakuda takes over the former Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro space within The Palazzo tower at the Venetian Resort after the steakhouse opted not to reopen following a closure related to COVID-19.
The new restaurant opens on June 25 with an artfully designed interior and an a la carte menu and omakase experience that highlight Chef Wakuda’s interpretations of Japanese classics.
“This is based on very classic Japanese with our essence put into it,” says Wakuda. “We are using the freshest, highest quality ingredients. It’s traditional, but also more refined.”
A selection of sushi, cold soba, tempura, rice bowls and grilled dishes find their way onto the menu here, alongside favorites from the Singapore location including yuba, made with fresh bean curd skin from Kyoto and sea urchin, Canadian lobster marinated in sweet vinegar, poached angel prawns with shellfish soy sauce, and a dessert with earthy matcha and smooth red bean.
An exclusive omakase experience will open in a few weeks, in which small groups will dine on ten to fifteen small dishes, thoughtfully selected and meticulously prepared by chefs who will determine a new menu for each seating.
“We really had some fun with this,” says Kunkel, whose other restaurants at the Venetian include Yardbird Southern Table & Bar and Lorena Garcia’s Chica. “You wander down kind of a secret alleyway, and you go through this door that doesn’t look like it goes anywhere into this secret private bar that features Japanese whiskies. It leads to a secondary room that opens up into this ten-seat experience where chefs are right in front of you. And they are literally placing each bite in front of you, as it should be consumed.”
The omakase experience is priced at $500 per person and Wakuda frames it as the first heightened private dining experience of its kind on the Strip.
“You’re talking with the chefs, you’re watching them prepare each bite to perfection, and curating the progression of the meal, building up through these flavors, and then taking you back down and finishing,” says Kunkel.
Both the private bar and the lounge at the entrance to Wakuda offer close to 100 different sakes and cocktails like the Tom Collins-inspired Stone, Water, Plants, featuring Roku Gin, cucumber shiso, green tea and cucumber tonic. The Smoked Oolong Old Fashioned is made with Toki Whisky, smoked oolong tea syrup, bitters and water.
The 264-seat restaurant takes inspiration from the Shinjuku Golden Gai area of Tokyo, famous for its nightlife with more than 200 tiny bars in a six-block area. The dining room features rich wood and stone surfaces, contemporary furnishings, and neon accents. Sculptures of sumo wrestlers by Japanese artist Shohei Otomo are found throughout and artwork by renowned Neo-street artist Jun Inoue decorates the walls throughout the bar, sushi bar and nightlife spaces.
Wakuda Las Vegas will be open Monday to Sunday from 5 p.m. until late.