Japonais takes diners on a sublime journey
By Brock Radke
Photos by Christopher DeVargas
Refined and fun, serene yet active, Japonais is a sleek, modern take on traditional Japanese cuisine, offering an incredible variation of dining experiences packed into unforgettable, even blissful surroundings. Resting just beyond the domed rainforest environment near the grand lobby of The Mirage, Japonais has long been considered one of Las Vegas’ top-notch, most cutting-edge Asian restaurant experiences. Patrons happily bounce between its bustling lounge—where beautiful people gather for cocktails and sushi rolls to begin the evening’s entertainment—and its sheltered, relaxing dining room, an intimate and delicious hideaway.
Sushi may be the signature of Japonais, but it’s only the beginning. In addition to a colorful rainbow of sashimi and nigiri options, the sushi bar serves whole fish sashimi-style, such as Spanish mackerel with freshly grated ginger and Japanese baby red snapper. Other chef’s specialties include tuna tuna salmon—salmon tartare topped with sliced tuna, avocado and wasabi tobiko sauce—and the luscious baked king crab bites known as kani nigiri. Every imaginable flavor from the sea is available from this sushi bar, prepared precisely and pristinely.
Whether you’re ordering from the sushi bar, the principal kitchen or both, you’ll discover that the entire menu is designed to be shared. So don’t be shy when browsing the brilliant selection of hot and cold small plates. On the cool side, Hawaiian hamachi—thinly sliced raw yellowtail in a sesame-soy-yuzu vinaigrette—is a refreshing favorite. Equally enchanting is seared baby tuna, quick-seared ribbons of fresh fish topped with scallions and crisp garlic chips. Warming things up, lobster spring rolls are lightly crisp and packed with sweet lobster meat, complemented by mango relish.
Just as identifiable as Japonais’ sushi offerings is the The Rock, thinly sliced marinated steak served raw and ready to be dropped onto a scalding hot rock for seconds to create a truly unique, sublimely beefy bite. The restaurant recently began serving an upgraded version of this dish, with finely marbled Imperial Wagyu strip steak multiplying the flavor factor.
There’s more sampling on the way: Japonais’ robata grill offers small skewers of meat, fish or vegetable—reasonably priced by the piece—grilled over petrified wood charcoal, imparting a one-of-a-kind smokiness to scallop, Chilean sea bass, Australian rock lobster and other choices.
There’s a more full-size version of surf and turf available as an entrée, with Kobe beef, lobster and sweet potato French fries. Other mouthwatering mains include the seven-spice Kobe ribeye, maple leaf-smoked duck with traditional hoisin sauce and mu shu wraps, and a delicate sea bass cartoccio steamed with maitake mushroom and tomato compote in a soy butter sauce. Each dish combines the highest-quality ingredients with innovative techniques designed to highlight the simple, clean flavors of the proteins and vegetables. A meal at Japonais is an artful experience, satisfying for all the senses.
5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 866.339.4566