It’s amazing how quickly word about a hot new restaurant can travel in this town—even for a small independent place without a corporate publicity machine behind it. Case in point: Other Mama, a new west-side seafood restaurant. I’ve been there twice for dinner, and on both nights the place was populated by some of Las Vegas’ top chefs, restaurant managers, sommeliers and food writers. It had been open less than three weeks at the time.
Much of the buzz is the result of the executive chef/owner’s pedigree. Dan Krohmer served as a sous chef and sushi chef in Masaharu Morimoto’s eponymous Philadelphia restaurant. He’s also served as a touring chef for Taylor Swift, Metallica, Jay Z and the Warped tour, among others. And since moving to Las Vegas to open his own place, he’s done time in the kitchen at the venerable Sen of Japan and served as sous chef at one of last year’s hottest new restaurants, Japanese Cuisine by Omae.
While Krohmer’s Japanese cooking experience is extensive, Other Mama has a much broader theme. The menu relies heavily on fresh, seasonal, sustainable seafood prepared in styles from around the world (and be prepared—the prices reflect this). Oysters are a centerpiece, with a rotating selection offered on the half shell with your choice of five dipping sauces. You can also get them panko-fried, or as delicious oysters foie gras Rockefeller, $15 for four large oysters, which would be high for a raw bar, but seems fair given the preparation. I was a bit skeptical about the latter, but the chef doesn’t overpower them with a large piece of foie. Instead, he seasons the breadcrumbs ever so lightly with duck liver before they join the oysters for a well-balanced mixture of earth and sea. Finally, he recently changed his deviled egg recipe to top the classic picnic dish with small fried oysters. Even though I’ve become bored to death with gourmet deviled eggs, these still work for me.
Oysters are just one part of the raw bar section. The chef also features tartare, scallop carpaccio, crudo, shrimp and, of course, sushi and sashimi. Given his background, it’s no surprise his knife skills on the latter are top notch. But just as impressive is the rotating selection of fish, many of which you won’t find at most neighborhood sushi bars.
For a simple taste of the land, check out the grilled prime rib-eye with miso Hollandaise and waffle fries, or the organic chicken with shishito peppers. Other dishes that show off more creativity and playfulness include grass-fed beef carpaccio topped with nori and large Parmesan chips. While a bit too visually cluttered for my aesthetic, it’s a nice spin on the classic that combines all of the traditional flavor elements in a slightly different form. And for something really interesting, try the caviar and French toast: tiny squares of the breakfast staple topped with domestic farm-raised hackleback eggs and crème fraîche. The caviar is surprisingly decent given the $18 price point—although I’d like the toast to be just a touch sweeter to contrast their saltiness and differentiate it a bit more from the traditional blini.
Other Mama is relatively small and modestly decorated with an open kitchen. Seating is at the bar or tables, as well as at two out-of-place plush chairs that make up the “lounge area.” And the cocktail program—courtesy of barmen David English and Clint Thoman—is strong.
At this point, the staff seems a bit overwhelmed by the immediate success of the restaurant. But I have yet to see that reflected in the quality of food and service they’re offering. Unfortunately, if the place continues to explode in popularity, I have a feeling I’m going to have to call ahead the next time I want to visit.
Al’s Menu Picks
- Sashimi combination ($19),
- oysters foie Rockefeller ($15)
- grass-fed beef carpaccio ($15) and assorted daily specials
3655 S. Durango Dr., 702-463-8382, OtherMamaLV.com. Open for dinner, 5 p.m.-midnight Wed-Mon. Dinner for two, $50-$100.