Las Vegas Asian
I got a really early start on my trip to Las Vegas. I got to the airport early, my plane was on time, and I got into Las Vegas by 10:30 am. There was about a 1/2 hour time delay with the airport shuttle, the driver forgot to give luggage to riders who got off at an earlier stop, and we had to double back in traffic to find the luggage-less people. I finally settle into my hotel, and I look for a magazine for places to get lunch. The hotel book says, "Ask the concierge." I travel down to the front desk, and I ask where I might be able to get some good Japanese sushi or really good Chinese, as Nashville is lacking in quality in these two foods. The concierge said, "Oh, the best place is P. F. Changs! You can take the trolley bus to get there!" OK, no tip for the concierge because P. F. Changs is not that good, and is a freakin' chain that is Chinese food answer to O'Charley's trying to an Irish Pub. Disgusted, I walked outside to wait for this trolley bus that runs every 10 min. and that everyone talked about. 1/2 hour later, I found myself walking to the closest monorail stop. Finally at about 1 pm, I was finally on the move away from the hotel to lunch.
I took the monorail to the Flamingo, and crossed the street to the newly built Ceaser's. The Ceaser's has the biggest mall with Jimmy Choo's shoes, a casino with penny slots, a bunch of restaurants to choose from. The one that caught my eye was Hyakumi off the Ceaser's conference center and casino floor. Hyakumi is not listed in any of the fliers or where to eat tourist books that I picked up along my walk, so I would have never found it if I just did not start walking around the strip. The concept of this restaurant is 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 Chinese food. They had Japanese sushi, tempura and udon, and they had Chinese roasted pork, roasted duck, fried rice and noodles. The best part was that the dishes were not too terribly expensive either.
There were quite a few Asian people eating at Hyakumi's. I suspect that they were all yearning for a little home cooking fo noodles, and rice after eating all sorts of other foods during their trip to Las Vegas. Perhaps they all had hopes like me for getting a little Asian soul food before departing the Ceaser's hotel and conference center.
So, I opted for a few pieces of sushi and a noodle soup bowl. The sushi I opted for were my favorites of yellowtail and salmon, and I also got fatty tuna belly toro. I cannot get toro anywhere in Nashville, nor anywhere for 200 mile radius. If I could, I would not trust eating it anyway. Hyakumi's toro was very rich and buttery. The toro was possibly the best toro I have had in over 25 years, and I am not exaggerating. The toro standard is the memory of toro I had in Boston in the 1980s at one of the first sushi and finest bars in Boston. At that time, we would go fairly often, and the chefs got to know us and give us the best trimmed pieces of fish. Ceaser's Hyakumi's toro tuna was just that good. When I go back to Las Vegas, this little restaurant is on my list to visit again, so I hope it is there!
The bowl of soup I ordered was supposed to be thin Chinese wheat noodles with baby bok choy and sliced roasted red pork. I asked for them to make my soup with white udon because it is my favorite noodle for soup, and Hyakumi's was glad to do that. They parked the giant bowl in front of me, and I was in heaven! The bowl looked like a bowl of soup you would be able to get in a New York Chinatown noodle soup shop (except I asked for udon). I heard a couple other diners around me say, "Oh, that big bowl of soup looks awesome!" It was. I cannot find red roasted pork in Nashville anywhere, and my failure to be able to cook it in my own home has been sad for me. I was happy and pleased to be able to eat it as my first meal on my Las Vegas vacation!
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