On the prowl for approachable sushi and a fun atmosphere? Then seek out Koi Restaurant and Lounge, perched in the back corner of the mezzanine level overlooking the Planet Hollywood casino floor. Here, amid a proliferation of bamboo, you’ll find a menu awash with Japanese fusion offerings.

Roasted shishitos are standard Japanese restaurant fare and a good start to an evening. Koi’s arrive wading in a slightly sweet shoyu complementing the smokiness of the peppers. Just remember as you’re digging through this delicious appetizer, about one in 10 is spicy. But then again, Vegas is a gambling town so throw caution to the wind and dig in!

Koi’s Hamachi Fusion may be more commonly known as jalapeño yellowtail, a staple on sushi menus elsewhere. But no matter the name, this sashimi dish delivers hints of citrus and acidity from a soy yuzu, while the unexpected addition of black truffle endows the dish with an earthiness to contrast the spiciness of the jalapeño.

The Hamachi Fusion isn’t the only dish to benefit from the addition of truffles. Paper-thin salmon carpaccio is given an earthy elevation with the addition of the prized mushrooms, imbibing the dish with umami undertones serving as a foil to the more citric ponzu sauce. A smattering of microgreens atop the plate provides a delicate contrast in texture to the dish.


Salmon carpaccio View Gallery

Black cod is common on many high-end Japanese menus due to the fish’s fattiness and flakiness which readily takes to flavoring and Koi’s miso-bronzed black cod is no different. A thick cut of butterfish is served atop seasonal vegetables and circled with dollops of oyster sauce. But the flavorful fish needs no accoutrements, the miso providing all the caramelization the silky seafood needs to quickly become one of your favorite dishes.

While traditional offerings are strewn throughout the menu, Koi doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is most readily apparent in the collection of rolls which use less-than-traditional ingredients.

Exhibit A is the Sin City Roll, an ode to this pocket of glistening neon in the desert. The roll delivers some of the heat Vegas is known for, topping a spicy scallop and avocado with seared togarashi—an essential Japanese spice blend also known as shichimi—tuna, habanero caviar and chili threads. And red meat also isn’t typically a sushi roll ingredient, but steer is an integral part of the wagyu surf and turf roll. An otherwise straightforward shrimp tempura roll filled with avocado and asparagus is swaddled in marbled American wagyu and finished with ponzu and delicate garlic chips, showcasing a successful combination of land and sea.

Lest you think you’re full, save room for the Koi sundae, a massive concoction consisting of—wait for it!—vanilla and chocolate ice creams, bananas, brownies, profiteroles, honey sugar cookies and fresh Chantilly cream finished with hot fudge. This might not be a traditional Japanese dessert, but Koi is anything but a traditional Japanese restaurant. And Vegas is the better for it.

Planet Hollywood Resort, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 5:30-11:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 702.454.4555