While I spend a lot of time on the Strip, it always amazes me how my visits go in cycles. I can go months without hitting a specific resort, then suddenly find myself there repeatedly in a short period of time because of a flurry of new restaurants, bars or shows. The latest hot spot for me has been Monte Carlo, which has undergone several recent restaurant openings. Over the past few months, the resort has added Double Barrel Roadhouse, 800 Degrees pizza, BLVD Creamery and the Japanese-inspired grill and noodle house, Yusho. Of the ones I’ve visited (I haven’t made it to the dessert spot yet), Yusho is definitely my favorite, thanks to its intelligent, well-executed menu.
That menu is fairly small, however. Only about one-third of its two pages is dedicated to food. There’s a selection of four types of raw seafood. Grilled offerings include chicken wings, New York strip steak, tofu and shishito peppers. And there are four styles of ramen, six fried dishes and five different steamed buns, plus three dessert items.
The rest of the menu is dedicated to cocktails and sake. The shaken-and-stirred specialties include classics such as the Old Fashioned, Grasshopper and Negroni. And a half-dozen draft cocktails are available, including gin and tonic, daiquiri, and rum and cola. But the really impressive element of the bar program is the sake list. With 12 varieties available by the glass and more than 40 by the bottle (or can; ranging from $20 to $2,400), the list rivals some of Las Vegas’ most prestigious Japanese restaurants.
All of these treats are served in a stylish, modern dining room with an open kitchen. Like the other new Monte Carlo eateries, the restaurant has direct access to the Strip, which is a growing trend among establishments seeking to court hungry pedestrians who don’t want to walk through a casino. But it also has an entrance on the casino floor. You can sit at an indoor table, at the bar or on an outside patio.
I’ve already eaten my way through a sizeable chunk of the menu, and I’ve generally been very impressed. If you eat raw seafood, make sure to try the thinly sliced scallops sprinkled with red peppercorns, soy salt and a drizzle of yuzu. Among the buns, try the slightly spicy chub sausage with red pepper and cauliflower. And the octopus with haricot vert, egg yolk and enoki mushrooms is delicious.
From the fried section of the menu, a duck leg was a little dry when I sampled it recently, but I love the subtle plum barbecue sauce with which it’s glazed. The chicken “drummies” with red miso, garlic and sesame might be a little busy for some, but I like them a lot. And I was amazed how much I liked the fried chicken skins with beer mustard, honey and togarashi.
If everyone in your party is into ramen, splurge and get the Monster Ramen, which combines all three of the available broths with shrimp and crispy pork. Sure, at $55 it’s ridiculously pricey for ramen, but it’s big enough to share with a few friends. And be certain to get a side order of assorted kimchi—three delicious styles for a mere $7.
Among all of the new Strip-front dining options opening up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, Yusho is one of the smartest I’ve seen. Of course, it’s also one of the more expensive. For my money, however, it’s worth it.
Al’s Menu Picks
- Raw scallops ($12)
- chicken drummies ($9)
- assorted kimchi ($7)
- Monster Ramen ($55)
In Monte Carlo, 702-730-6888. Open 5–11 p.m. Sun–Thu; 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Fri–Sat. Dinner for two, $40-$100.