Sushi is thought to be an acquired taste and might not be for everyone, but Executvie Chef Akira Back has put together a menu at Yellowtail Sushi Restaurant & Bar at Bellagio that will change that. Sushi is just the beginning, as the original menu at Yellowtail rivals the beauty of its setting.
Chef Back took the Japanese menu and put his own twist on it in a way that will bring satisfaction to any and all taste buds. I will say I am not only a novice when it comes to sushi, but it would not be my first choice when it comes to dining. In amazing fashion, Chef Back changed my mind. Not only did he provide two dishes that passed the taste test, but they were so tantalizing they have made me a fan of sushi—at least at Yellowtail. The softshell crab was the best I have ever tried. I would say the ginger added a nice flavor, but what really set this dish apart was the crunchy texture of the tempura; it was a delightful extra touch. The second sushi dish that grabbed my taste buds was the poppin’ spicy crab. Sometimes you hear that a dish is original, and well it might not be all that original; I promise you, this one is. The secret ingredient is pop rocks. You can hear the sushi popping when it is served, and you can feel the popping as you are eating it. This dish does a wonderful job of walking you through the layers of flavor. The first sensation is, of course, the popping, which starts you off with a sweetness and just a hint of crunchy texture. Next you receive the crab, well-blended with just a slight flavoring from cucumber and asparagus; finally, just as you are about to finish, you are given that final kick of spice that finishes this off in very nice fashion: not too hot, but just a nice, subtle transition, the same as the other flavors. Chef Back relayed the story of how he came up with the idea of using pop rocks in his original recipe: when he was young, he did not like fish. His mother would bribe him not just with money to eat his fish, but she would also sweeten the pot by adding candy to her fish dishes. He kept that clever idea in mind all these years, and finally put it to use.
The most popular dish at Yellowtail is the Big Eye Tuna Pizza and while the name might make you wonder should I or shouldn’t I, I will simply say you should. This dish will make you ask yourself, “How did they make this?” and “How can this be so wonderful?” The tuna is in a very thin layer, and an equally thin crust is complimented perfectly with truffle oil that finishes off this flavorful dish. The best part of the dish is that the tuna does not overpower you. In fact, it is because it is so light that it makes for the perfect appetizer to start off your dinner.
Yellowtail does not forget those of you who are looking for a main course dinner to satisfy your hunger. Chef Back has put together a few Kobe beef-based items that are all outstanding. But if you had to pick just one, the Kobe beef short ribs are a choice you can’t go wrong with. The ribs are boneless and prepared so tenderly that you will wonder how they stay together on your plate, as at the first sign of your fork they begin to fall apart.
This would not be a Japanese restaurant without some sake, and when I say some sake, I mean sake like you may have never seen sake before. Yellowtail has a vast assortment of sake, including some up to $1,200 per bottle. Don’t worry, they also offer plenty of other more reasonable and tasty sake that will keep you satisfied. If this is your first time giving sake a try, you might want to go with sake tasting to let yourself experience a variety of flavors. Of course sake is not for everyone, and there are a number of great drinks that are special to Yellowtail. My favorite is the Infusion martini. If you like blueberry, this is the drink for you. Not overly sweet, this libation is mixed with kai lychee blueberry-infused vodka and a hint of citrus, a great way to start your evening.
Not that you need an excuse other than the food to visit Yellowtail, but the fact that they have the best setting in all of Las Vegas is not a bad bonus. Yellowtail offers a few tables outside on the balcony, and these tables directly overlook the stunning Lake Bellagio, and the famous fountain and light show. If you are looking for a romantic evening, make sure you put in your reservation early for one of these tables. You may not get the up close and personal view of the inside of the restaurant, but you do get a spectacular view of the fountains and the Las Vegas strip.
The most surprising thing about Yellowtail, other than the pop rocks, is the cost. For a restaurant in the Bellagio with such a stunning view, you are going to find it is one of the more reasonable restaurants on the strip. The other noteworthy part of Yellowtail is the service: not only was the entire staff friendly and always on top of things, but my waiter, Seth, knew the menu up and down and every recommendation he made was stellar.
For more information on Yellowtail, visit: http://www.lightgroup.com/dining/yellowtail-sushi-bar-restaurant-las-vegas/