by catherine de orio photography by sabin orr| October 9, 2014 |
Food & Drink
One of the city’s most meticulous temples of culinary execution, Nobu puts on beef theater that will make your carnivorous friends weep with envy.
Nobu chefs cook teppanyaki Wagyu over an open flame right at your table.
“It’s hard to say what the guests should expect other than one of the most amazing meals of their life,” says Bryan Shinohara, general manager of Nobu in Caesars Palace, about the teppanyaki Wagyu beef banquet. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, known for his “new-style” Japanese cooking, has developed a cult following. And with the beef banquet omakase, it’s easy to see why. This seven-course, all-Wagyu beef menu puts the focus on the food while adding just the right amount of flair to create a prime dining experience for luxury-hunters.
Located in the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, this is Nobu’s only US outpost to offer teppanyaki-style Japanese cooking. Guests have the option of dining at two communal teppan tables in the luxurious main dining area or in the private dining room. Reaching temperatures upwards of 400 degrees, the teppan grill, with the levels of heat varying throughout its flat iron surface, allows chefs to prepare everything from soup to soufflé in front of diners.
Although myriad proteins are offered, it’s the ultradecadent prix-fixe Wagyu beef banquet that has guests dropping $688 (or more) to satisfy their most extravagant carnivorous cravings. Touted as the world’s most flavorful, tender, and expensive beef, Japanese Wagyu is “a delicacy in the same way as foie gras,” explains Thomas Buckley, executive chef at Nobu in Caesars Palace. Its marbling lends rich flavor and a buttery texture to the beef, which practically melts in your mouth. All Wagyu, however, is not created equal—it varies by grade (A5 being the highest) and region. Wagyu from Kobe has finer marbling, Buckley says. “So if you hold it in your hand raw, it just melts naturally.” Thus he prefers to feature more than one type on the menu to provide guests with different tastes and textures throughout the meal. And with a bit of advance notice (at least 24 hours is required), he can take you on a regional Wagyu tour without leaving the table.
While beef may be the star of the show at Nobu, the hand-rolled sushi is equally droolworthy.
Southeast Asia and the Far East inspired the menu—specifically, Vietnamese beef banquets and Tokyo restaurants that showcase various cuts. Similarly, Buckley uses not only primary cuts of tenderloin and rib eye, but also secondary and tertiary cuts like oxtail and tongue. He says his ideal menu takes a nose-to-tail dining approach, since “all the cuts are delicious and have fantastic marbling.” The offerings range from award-winning A5 Miyazaki Wagyu tenderloin finished with ginger, garlic, chives, seasonal truffles, and lightly seared porcini mushrooms (giving it an Italian spin and a nod to Nobu partner Robert De Niro’s heritage) to street food gone upscale with a decadent Wagyu gyoza.
Nobu’s perfectly charred shishito peppers.
Since the beef is the star of the show, the chefs explain the ingredients (why they may use an A4 versus an A5, for example) and cooking techniques. For instance, a large piece of beef seared on all sides and cubed to bite-size pieces melts the internal fat, resulting in “burst in your mouth” meat. But while the show focuses more on technique than tricks, with a winner of the Food Network’s Flying Knives competition manning the grill, you can still expect to see some midair egg cracking, knife juggling, and lightning-fast slicing and dicing.
“The banquet is for someone who appreciates food and the quality they’re getting,” says Buckley. Laughing, he adds, “Also, we designed this menu with Vegas in mind…. It has a touch of the extravagant and excessive to it, which sums up the Vegas customer very well.” 702-785-6628