Caviar Day, top robata, worthy whiskey and affordable apps

Even during the dog days of summer, Vegas still leads the way in the luxury dining market and innovative new dining concepts. July 18 is National Caviar Day, and in honor of this, chef Jean Joho is offering special caviars at his signature Eiffel Tower Restaurant (948-6937).

An American Trio—lumpfish, paddlefish and trout—is $98 per ounce. The Trilogy of Osetra, from the rare Osetra sturgeon, offers Russian and Siberian caviars at $360 for 1¾ ounces, and Golden Osetra at $360 for a single ounce. All the caviars get the royal treatment, are served with blinis, crème fraiche and toast points. You pay extra for the champagne.

Meanwhile, over at Okada (248-3463) at Wynn, new executive chef Devin Hashimoto has been playing with his food. He’s added several fusion items to the traditional Japanese menu, and upgraded the robata selections.

Hashimoto is a Hawaiian of Japanese descent, a protégé of Alex Stratta. He started his Vegas career at Renoir at The Mirage and worked his way up through the ranks. He is only Okada’s third chef, having recently taken over for Japanese native Masa Ishizawa.

Start a multi-course meal, known as kaiseki in Japanese, with the exquisite heirloom tomato grilled tofu salad. The dish is good enough to dispel any qualms you may have about trying a tofu dish, but if you still demur, try the chef’s off-menu salad crowned with crunchy salmon skin, a brilliant alternative. Big-eye tuna tsukune, okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake) and the truffled chawan mushi are all great.

Andre’s at the Monte Carlo (798-7151) arguably has the primo collection of fine whiskeys in the city, not to mention an attached cigar lounge. The first Wednesday of each month, Andre’s holds a tasting of whiskey and cigars beginning at 7 p.m. Entry is $25 in advance, $35 at the door.

Finally, Kerry Simon, the “Rock ’n’ Roll Chef,” is offering $6 appetizers 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday at his Palms Place restaurant, Simon Kitchen and Bar (944-3292). This trend is also seen at Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Summerlin.

This strikes me as a good deal: wok-charred calamari with ginger salt, Pigs in a Blanket with sriracha ketchup and whole grain mustard, and an endive salad with watercress, Point Reyes blue cheese, Fuji apples and walnuts, something healthy that sounds so delicious even Simon eats it. Beers on tap and boutique wines such as Don Sancho Londono from Rioja, Spain, complete the deal.

Hungry, yet?

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