One Hot Mess, One More Ramen, One Night at Nobu and a Really Long Table

One Super Bowl commercial featured the Hot Mess Burger, a new sheriff in Fast Food City ($4.29, Jack in the Box). So your intrepid reporter felt compelled to run out and try one. And in spite of several umami-spiked ingredients—a seasoned beef patty topped with melted white cheddar, runny pepper jack cheese sauce, onion rings and jalapeños piled on toasted sourdough—it managed to be almost completely tasteless. The wonders of modern science never cease to amaze me. At 846 calories and with 59 grams of fat, methinks I would rather eat an order of Popeyes fried chicken.

In my double-review this week, I pointed out that Fukumimi and Shoku Ramen-ya aren’t the only two places in town to get a nice bowl of ramen: Miko’s Izakaya (500 E. Windmill Lane, 823-2779) serves traditional ramen as well, not to mention a variety of small plates, sushi and complete dinners. Chef Shu-san is a veteran of Teru Sushi, and he’s one of the most accomplished sushi men in town. The restaurant also serves terrific tempura, teriyaki and much more. Don’t miss the yellowtail collar or the sliced beef tongue with fried garlic.

Speaking of things Japanese, I was privileged to stay in the new Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace recently, where rooms beautifully designed by world-class architect David Rockwell use natural wood and Asian objets d’art to achieve an ambience that is unmatched anywhere on the Strip.

But what really impressed me was the in-room dining. My wife and I enjoyed a traditional Japanese breakfast of salmon, miso soup, tsukemono (pickles in rice bran) and several other components you don’t get in Wichita, and also a toban-yaki, a hot ceramic plate stocked with pork belly, Kurobuta sausage and poached egg.

Project Dinner Table returns in April for its fourth season, which promises to be the most dynamic yet. New locations and chefs will be announced shortly (, with the first dinner scheduled for April 20. Guests at each event can expect to break bread with local growers, food artisans and restaurateurs.

And finally, chef Jean Joho was on hand at his Eiffel Tower Restaurant to demonstrate how to make blinis for caviar and how to sauté foie gras, assisted ably by cast members from the hit show Jersey Boys, now at Paris Las Vegas.

After the demo, I sampled the restaurant’s new pre-show menu, which included a creamy French onion soup, roasted farm-raised chicken with fines herbes and hazelnut cake a la Parisienne. That night, proceeds from the $65 menu benefited the Red Cross. The show, incidentally, is great fun.

Hungry, yet?