Hello Momofuku Vegas!

Hello Momofuku Vegas!

You know you like a place when you visit a place almost back to back! Case in point, I was at Momofuku CCDC  in Washington DC just last month and shortly after I found myself at Momofuku Vegas. Yes, from East Coast to West Coast, I went from one Momofuku to another Momofuku. That’s because Momofuku is truly momo-f’ good ;).

Momofuku Vegas is the newest of the Momofuku restaurants and is the only one on the West Coast! (Woohoo! One close to home!) It’s located at one of my favorite places on the Las Vegas Strip, The Cosmopolitan. The restaurant itself actually has a gorgeous view overlooking The Strip. (Hint for the best seat in the house ask for Table Y)

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The menu at Momofuku Las Vegas does differ a little bit from the Momofuku CCDC. David Chang always does a nice job of bringing in some new flavors to his menus while combining with some classic favorites!

My meal at Momofuku Vegas started off with trying several of their small plates

First up was their Crudite Plate

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The Cruidite Plate is a beautiful rainbow of veggies that are accompanied with chickpea dip and bacon ranch. If you want to get your healthy on, this plate is a sure fire and fun way to do that! I loved the crispy radishes and crunchy cauliflowers mixing it in the two sauces. It’s unique, different and tasty!

Next from the small plates, we tried the Spicy Cucumbers.

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If you’re a fan of spicy, this small plate is for you. The cucumbers are sprinkled with togarashi or Japanese dried chil peppers. Toasted almond and scallions are also mixed into this starter.

Speaking of spicy, the hottest and most memorable dish came in the form of the Shishito Peppers!

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We all know Vegas is a gigantic playground for adults and there’s lot of games all around. Well who would’ve thought there is a game to be played at Momofuku Vegas via the Shishito Peppers. When ordering this dish, you a presented with a bowl of peppers sprinkled with smoked salt and lime. Most of the peppers are not too hot except for one or maybe two. There’s the two peppers that put the F in fire and will sure to light up your tastebuds. The catch with this game err dish is that you don’t know which Shishito Pepper it is. You could be the lucky winner and end up getting the fiery one!

Soon after the starters, it was time for some main courses! First up with Momofuku Vegas’s two ramen bowls; the Chickpea Ramen and the Pork Ramen.

The Chickpea Ramen is perfect for vegetarians.

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This ramen is has no meat and instead consists of scallion, chickpea miso and bok choy! They give me an abundant serving of crispy chickpeas that brought a unique texture to this soup dish!

The pork ramen is one that I’ve tried before at Momofuku CCDC.

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I’m happy to see this old favorite also on the Vegas menu. The tender pork belly and shoulder and the soft slow poached egg once again was melting in my mouth an bringing this foodie pure happiness!

After the ramen, I got to try their Katsu Chicken dish.

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Katsu Chicken is one of my favorite dishes ever and so I was quite happy to see this on the Momofuku menu! They give a pretty big portion of crispy Katsu Chicken that is accompanied with bulldog sauce, cabbage and pickled shitake. I loved the topping the chicken with the shitake mushroom and dipping it in the bulldog sauce.

Another favorite dish of mine soon came after via the form of Spring Vegetable Rice Cakes.

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Similar to Katsu Chicken, rice cakes have always been something I’ve been a fan of! This Momofuku Vegas dish exceeded my expectations and more. Their version of rice cakes was perfectly chewy and the various spring vegetables and crunchy garlic on top, further enhanced the texture of the dish and the overall flavor! I definitely recommend getting this dish.

Last but definitely not least was their buns! For those who read my Momofuku CCDC blog post, you know that I was absolutely amazed by Momofuku’s buns. The soft buns and their fillings were so mouth watering that I had to just try each of the ones that the Vegas branch offered.

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Firs tup were their pork belly and shitake buns.

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The pork belly bun is filled with a thick pork belly that is smothered with hoisin and accompanied with scallion and cucumber. The pork belly here is similar to the one found in the pork ramen. It’s such a juicy and hearty meat and goes well with the soft bun!

Equal in deliciousness is the shitake bun. This one is filled with lots of shitake mushrooms flavored with hoisin sauce. It also has scallion and cucumber. I’ve always been a big fan of shitake mushroom and I’m happy to see this as the choice of veggie for their vegetarian bun.

For those looking for a seafood bun, the shrimp bun is for you!

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The shrimp bun has a gigantic shrimp filet that is topped with spicy mayo, pickled red onion and iceberg lettuce.

My favorite of all of the buns however came via the chicken karaage bun!

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My oh my, if heaven could be in a bun; this bun would be it! Fresh, hot, crispy chicken karaage was inside along with spicy mayo, pickled red onion and iceberg lettuce. The golden crisp chicken simply blew me away. No bun will ever be the same.

Just like at Momofuku CCDC, every thing I tried at Momofuku Vegas was wonderful! I have to give a special thanks to general manager Robby of Momofuku CCDC for helping me make reservations at Momofuku Vegas and to general manager Ryan and his team at Momofuku Vegas for the outstanding service and good eats! It’s so nice to have one of my favorite restaurants on the East Coast now on the West Coast!

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Momofuku Vegas.
 

Hello Kagura!

Hello Kagura!

For this past Mother’s Day, I treated my mom to lunch at Kagura. Kagura is a little Japanese restaurant in Torrance. From the outside it looks like a little hole in the wall restaurant and inside it is not the fanciest of places. This should not deter one from going here because based off my experience, this place just maybe on the top of Japanese restaurants in the South Bay.

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The meals here start off with a refreshing warm cup of hot tea. Tea is free refills.

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Along with the tea, starters include a chawanmushi. Chawanmushi means steamed in a tea cup. It is a custard pudding dish from Japan. Here at Kagura, they serve it fresh and hot in a cute little cup. Their version is so soft and they have tender pieces of pork inside.

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The gozen lunch sets here include a sliced cabbage salad. This salad is also unlimited. It’s a very nice starter. The cabbage along with the dressing was light and not too heavy.

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After the sliced cabbage and egg pudding, the waitress presented us with a cup of sesame seeds with a wooden stick and tonkatsu sauce in a small pitcher. This is in preparation for the main meal. The wooden stick is to be used for grinding the sesame seeds. When you grind the seeds, it is supposed to release the aroma and flavor of the seeds. Then you mix in the tonkatsu sauce into the seeds. This part of the meal for me was a fun and interesting.

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For my main meal, I chose to get the Chicken Katsu Gozen.

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My mom chose to get the millefeuille katsu, deep fried pork loin cutlet and the kaki fri, deed fried oyster cutlets

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Both of our meals came with rice, pork miso soup, Japanese picked vegetables, 4 small plates consisting of pasta salad, radishes, tofu and seaweed.

I chose to get the mixed grain rice and it was a neat rice combo of brown rice and white rice. It was a food match to the katsu.

I was very fond of the pork miso soup. I loved the small tender pieces of pork and little veggies that could be found throughout the soup. The broth itself was warm and heartwarming. This soup was unlimited as well!

The main katsu was delicious! They were served hot and crispy. The outer katsu was fried to golden perfection. The chicken itself was lean and tender. I tried my mom’s pork katsu and though it was good, I preferred the chicken.

Both my mom and I really enjoyed the food here and I do know we will back. We are both very fond of Japanese cuisine and this place is a new favorite of ours!

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Kagura.

Hello Benihana dinner boats!

Hello Benihana dinner boats!

Benihana has always been one of my favorite spots to eat at. It’s a lot of fun to eat at the teppanyaki side of the restaurant and watch the chefs do their food exhibition. In the recent years, however, I have come to also appreciate eating at the sushi bar side of the restaurant. At the sushi bar side, there are items that one can try that are not offered on the teppanyaki side. These lounge specials are equal in taste and deliciousness. My favorite lounge specials are the Benihana dinner boats! Different dinner boats are offered throughout the year. Just recently I got to try two types of dinner boats, the tempura dinner boat the Katsu dinner boat.

All dinner boats include Benihana onion soup, Benihana salad, California roll, edamame, seamed rice and fresh fruit.

The tempura dinner boat came with tempura chicken in a skewer, tempura colossal shrimp, vegetables and fresh fruit.

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The tempura dinner boat was my favorite! It was quite a sight to see when they first presented it. In particular what stood out were the two large chicken skewers and the giant pile of vegetable tempura that included large onion rings. Everything in this tempura boat had a nice crisp to it! I liked the overall variety of this boat because it had chicken, shrimp and vegetables. It’s perfect for anyone who likes tempura! It is tempura tasting at it’s finest!
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The Katsu dinner boat came with panko breaded chicken cutlet, fried lobster and salmon filet topped with avocado tartar sauce.

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The katsu dinner boat is good for seafood lovers because of the lobster and the salmon fillet. They do have chicken in this dinner boat though for the non-seafood eaters. Everything in the katsu dinner boat was fried until golden and crispy. This dinner boat also included dipping sauces for the respective katsu entrees. There was a sweet teriyaki flavored sauce for the chicken and a avocado tarter sauce for the lobster and salmon filet.

The dinner boats at Benihana are around $17 and a great deal! It is plenty of delicious food and gives a nice variety of Japanese food delights.

If you can’t make it out for dinner, they also do lunch boats for a little over $10. You can choose from chicken, beef or salmon!

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As I mentioned when I started this post, Benihana is one of my favorite dining places. Aside from the dinner boats, I’ve tried a variety of different dishes here through the years.

For more smiles, please see my yelp reviews through the years on Benihana.

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Hello Kuma Sushi Seafood Buffet!

Hello Kuma Sushi Seafood Buffet!

Recently a new buffet, Kuma Seafood Buffet, opened up in the South Bay and they had a grand opening weekend celebration that included free drinks. This is a great buffet with a good selection of various Japanese hot entrees, sushi and desserts!

For my hot entrees I tried the fried rice, noodles, chicken and beef teriyaki, chicken katsu and vegetable tempura. A little bit of each of these entrees made for one big meal of Japanese food yumminess! The teriyaki was traditionally sweet. The chicken katsu and vegetable tempura were wonderfully crispy.

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There is an abundant amount of desserts to try here! There are various fruits, cookies, cakes and even ice cream! For the desserts I tried the red velvet cake, chocolate cake, blueberry cake and green tea ice cream. The small cake slices were like little tastes of heaven. The green tea was a distinctly different type of treat not something easily found elsewhere.

I found Kuma Sushi Seafood Buffet a good place to try a variety of both traditional and non-traditional Japanese offerings.

For more smiles, please see my recent yelp review on Kuma Sushi Seafood Buffet.