The Restaurant: Japanese culinary tradition meets the flavors of Brazil and Peru at the Grand Canal Shoppes’ SushiSamba, which is celebrating World Sake Day on October 1 with geishas, sake-infused cocktails, and sake flights spotlighting blends made by female master brewers, rarities in an industry still dominated by men. 3327 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 702-607-0700
The Sakes: Two heavier junmais for fall: the unpasteurized Wakatake Hiyaoroshi and the full-bodied Hatsumago Kimoto.
The Dishes: SushiSamba’s beverage director and sake sommelier, Craig Tabandera, suggests pairing the Wakatake Hiyaoroshi with heavier meats, like the restaurant’s robata-grilled duck breast or lamb chop. “With fall sakes,” Tabandera says, “you’ll notice more enriching, umami flavors and aromas that run the gamut from mildly earthy notes, like mushroom and poached fruit, to more wild, gamey notes, such as truffle and bittersweet chocolate.” With that in mind, he recommends pairing the mushroomy Hatsumago Kimoto with SushiSamba’s seared wagyu beef or tonkatsu ramen with pork belly and bamboo shoots.
The Restaurant: Created by freewheeling restaurateurs Eric and Bruce Bromberg, the Cosmopolitan’s contemporary Japanese restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, doubles as a trove of more than 40 hard-to-find sakes, including three house blends (a daiginjo, a junmai ginjo, and a junmai) that can be ordered in a flight. 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 702-736-0808
The Sake: Blue Ribbon Junmai Ginjo, the restaurant’s signature premium-level sake.
The Dish: Owner and chef Bruce Bromberg’s food pairing of choice, the restaurant’s popular braised-oxtail fried rice topped with scallions and a bone-marrow omelet, best complements the junmai ginjo sake’s heartier body.
The Restaurant: Sushi Roku, The Forum Shops at Caesars’ airy, Strip-facing hangout, offers bottles of its own private-label sake and employs three company-wide experts to help guests choose the bottles that’ll go best with their food. 3500 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 702-733-7373
The Sake: Dassai 23, an ultra-premium junmai daiginjo with floral, fruity notes of melons and peaches.
The Dish: Sushi Roku sake sommelier Eiji Mori recommends pairing Dassai 23 with the restaurant’s tuna sashimi carpaccio. “The clean and balanced body of the sake will not overpower the tuna sashimi,” Eiji says, “and the long finish will stand up to the soy mustard dressing and the garlic chips on the dish.”
The Restaurant: Tucked inside Encore, sexy, stylish Andrea’s offers both a large selection of sakes and a full-fledged sake sommelier, Melissa Nguyen, who has prepared a tasting menu to pair with some of the restaurant’s finest bottles. 3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 702-770-5340
The Sakes: Two ultra-premium junmai daiginjos—the earthy, mildly sweet Kamoizumi “Autumn Elixir” and the lush, fruity Yoshinogawa.
The Dishes: Nguyen proposes coupling the Kamoizumi with a lighter fish course, like the restaurant’s steamed sea bass with creamy lentils. The Yoshinogawa, meanwhile, can hold itself against a slightly stronger dish—consider the panang duck confit, duck that’s been cured with cilantro, parsley, salt, and duck fat, then served atop a bed of Thai curry with frisée, cucumber, radish, and arare.