Yonaka Modern Japanese
Cucumber Basil Martini – Sake, Basil, Cucumber, Lemon
Compressed Cucumber, Tomato, Salmon Eggs, Micro-basil
Crispy Brussel Sprouts – Lemon, Chili, Mint, Puffed Rice
Beet Fries – Rosemary, Sea Salt, Housemade Kewpie-style mayo
Karaage – Fried Chicken, Jalapeno, Mint, Basil, Onion
Sake Orenji – Scottish Salmon, Orange Supreme, Yuzu Tobiko, Orange Oil, Maldon
Nana Iro – Yellowtail, Grapefruit, Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Fennel, Chili Sauce
Suika Saka – Lean Tuna, Watermelon, Jalapeno, Mint, Cilantro, Basil Oil
Palate Cleanser – Winter melon, apple, mango, mint, micro-basil, strawberry water
Meat Candy – Twice Cooked Caramel Glazed Pork Belly, Kimchee Apple, Cilantro
Niku Berry – Wagyu, Strawberries, Enoki, King’s Trumpet Mushroom, Fennel Fronds, Fried Egg Puree, Thai Chimichurri
Sakana Yaki – Grilled Black Bass, Raibow Cauliflower, Cauliflower Dashi, Cucumber, Crème Fraiche
Age Maki – Baby Yellowtail, Avocado, Yuzu Kosho, Cilantro, Tempura
Foie Gras Nigiri – Liver, cous-cous
Corn Urchin – Grilled Corn, Uni-miso Butter, Uni, Negi
Greenies – Green Tea Brownie, Strawberry, Mint, White Chocolate
Chokobeets – Chocolate, Beet Ice Cream, Cocoa Nib
Kanmi-O – Peanut, Strawberry, Maple, Bacon, Banana
Mango Cotta – Mango, Pistachio, Coconut
Reinvigorated in my interests for Modern Japanese ‘fusion’ by a March experience with the Beard Award winning cuisine of Chef Tyson Cole at Uchi it was with guarded optimism that I assented to a friend’s suggestion to finally visit Yonaka; a three hour and sixteen course tasting of dynamic flavors and pristine balance proving the best I’ve experienced in Las Vegas this calendar year. Located in a typical strip mall on West Flamingo and featuring a concept self described as ‘Japanese tapas’ the evening began with the simple decision of bar versus table and opting for the later amidst a warm yet stark interior it was to the tune of a shared $95 omakase plus several supplements that the meal unfolded – an invigorating paco-jet concentrated cucumber amuse setting the stage for what would follow. Beginning first with a trio of fried happy hour bar-snacks from which the ‘best’ would be impossible to select and then transitioning into several amply portioned plates both cold and hot it was early on that a consistent pattern of superlative proteins over bright citrus and subtle aromatics emerged, the Suika Saka and Sakana Yaki particularly enthralling while the slightly overcooked Niku Berry’s beef proved that a mélange of mushrooms can truly save a plate, particularly served point/counterpoint with tart early-season strawberries. Rounding out savories with the crunchy Age Maki, an inspired take on Mexican Street corn dressed with briny uni, plus a $9 bite of slightly overseared foie gras cribbed direct from Austin it was at long last that we transitioned to sweets, a trio ordered but four delivered and all amongst the best I’ve experienced from Eastern influenced cuisine – the mango ‘yolk’ of the panna cotta and banana pudding-come-crème brulee Kanmi-O both on par with the pastry at Robuchon or Twist at half the price.
FIVE STARS: Michelin quality Japanese Fusion just off the strip. A sharable Omakase plus most items a la carte under $15 delivered with superlative service make Yonaka perhaps the best “fine dining” value in Sin City.
RECOMMENDED: Omakase and every single dessert.
AVOID: Seared items trended weaker than those fried or raw, the foie gras and Wagyu both suffering slightly from the heat but not ‘bad’ by any means.
TIP: The happy hour menu is ONLY offered at the bar, however they’ll happily serve you the beet fries at the table if you ask nicely.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor