Nobu draws you into a land of elegance
One of the highlights of Japanese dining is omakase, which, for the uninitiated, is a traditional chef’s tasting whose English translation is “I leave it up to you.” At Nobu Restaurant at Caesars Palace, this means embracing a menu painstakingly assembled by chef de cuisine Christopher Chan Yai Ching based upon the freshest ingredients available during your visit. It’s almost always best to leave menu decisions in the hands of the kitchen and when at Nobu, that decision leads to an epic culinary adventure as evidenced by a recent visit.
Certain dishes are a study in subtlety. Kinmedai—better known as goldeneye snapper—is a tender, mild fish. On one recent evening, Chan Yai Ching complemented it with hazelnut crumbles, a dash of yuzu and a drizzle of honey for a mix of sweet and citrus. He followed with a vibrantly orange masu-no-suke—wild king salmon adorned with shiso salsa and a jalapeño dressing hinting of heat.
No visit to Nobu would be complete without an immaculate sashimi presentation. Chûtoro carpaccio highlighted the tuna belly’s inherent richness, while kanburi (winter Japanese amberjack) paired with an umami-rich combination of miso and foie with yuzu contributing hints of citrus. But, arguably, one of the best dishes here is spiny lobster adorned with bafun uni and caviar, in a bite that exudes the essence of the sea. Another hallmark of the Nobu empire is the black cod soy. Leave it to Chan Yi Ching to elevate the classic by pairing the buttery fish with unctuous foie gras, swaddling the combination in butter lettuce and adorning it with kataifi strands, contributing more texture to the flaky sea denizen.
As is typical of the progression associated with omakase, the meal transitions from lighter fare into heartier dishes. Crispy soft-shell crab is served with seared pineapple tataki and a spicy shiso ponzu, the pineapple’s sweetness providing a solid foil to the ponzu sauce heat.
And in a startlingly impressive plating, Chan Yai Ching’s When the Sea Meets the Land is perhaps the ultimate surf-and-turf, with A5 Japanese wagyu served flambé-style at your table atop superheated rocks with black pepper teriyaki sauce, sitting alongside a brick-oven fresh king crab leg served dry miso-style. You’ll never look at surf-and -turf the same.
It is customary to conclude a Japanese meal with sushi prior to dessert, and Nobu is no outlier. Unctuous otoro—the lower belly of bluefin tuna sought after due to its marbling—is accompanied by wasabi salsa to balance the fish’s richness. Managatsuo—silver pomfret—layered with karasumi delivers hints of earthiness from the salted mullet roe, while salmon belly is lightly flavored with a simple combination of lemon and salt. And engawa (fluke fin) served aburi-style (slightly seared on top) is finished with a hint of ponzu.
To finish the meal, the classic Nobu dessert Japanese Whisky Cappuccino layers coffee crème brûlée, coffee cacao “soil” and milk ice cream, finished with a Japanese whisky foam, for an exhibit in decadence, serving as a fitting culmination to an epic evening of omakase.
Caesars Palace, 5-11 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 5 p.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat. 702.785.6628