Japanese food is far more than sushi; in fact, our best Japanese restaurant serves no sushi at all. Chef Mitsuo Endo uses bincho-tan, special charcoal imported from Japan, to grill and smoke many of the delicacies he serves robata-yaki-style—cooked on a tiny hibachi in the back kitchen.

After three years, nobody even asks for sushi anymore. And Endo’s had to expand his restaurant, which now features small private rooms for intimate dining. There is still the small counter where you’ll often find local chefs late at night after they’ve finished a shift.

The delicacies abound here, and they change daily. Popular choices include ayu, a trout-like fish from Japan’s Nagano Prefecture, is served whole with skin on, simply brushed with sea salt. And the kid-food treat soboro gohan is a giant bowl of rice topped with ground chicken, shredded cooked egg and lusty pickles.

You can eat reasonably well here for a fraction of what you’d pay at a top Strip restaurant, but the multicourse kaiseki, ordered in advance at $150 per person, is a meal you’ll never forget.

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Cocktail Culture

As Seen on TV!

By Xania V. Woodman

Combining ingredients that are both popular and typical of Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisine, Paymon’s general manager Jeff Ecker created a drink that pairs well with the tradition of smoking hookah. With delicate flavors such as mango, coconut, orange and cherry, Ecker notes that it appeals to the female set as well. The cocktail was also featured in 2002 on Rachael Ray’s show, $40 a Day. It has remained on the menu ever since, a testament to the enduring success of this match made in the Mediterranean.