Modern Japanese favorite Sushi Roku (in the Forum Shops at Caesars, 702-733-7373) celebrates 18 years since it opened in its original location in Los Angeles on June 18, and just in time for International Sushi Day. If it’s been a minute since you visited the posh restaurant, you should know that there are definitely reasons for you to return besides its birthday. The menu is definitely Japanese, but like all great Japanese cuisine innovators, incorporates international ingredients into dishes, such as foie gras-wrapped yellowtail, topped with truffles and gold leaf. There’s even an insider menu for those in the know, which includes truffle soy sauce for the crazy decadent black truffle hand rolls.
Following in the footsteps of big sister Honey Salt, Made L.V. has been quietly ramping up its own pop-up chef dinner series ($39, in Tivoli Village, 702-722-2000), with two more happening in May that you won’t want to miss. On May 13, Border Grill alum and current TruckU Barbecue owner chef Mike Minor returns to his tequila roots with a three-course dinner paired with Patrón tequila. What is most important is that his famous Yucatan-style cochinita pibil—slow-roasted achiote pork with roasted oranges, tomatoes and shallots—will be served family style, along with red annatto seed rice, fried plantains and grilled pineapple salsa.
The following week, chef Sam “Sammy D” DeMarco heads back into the kitchen after a two-year hiatus for his pop-up on May 20. He’s serving all those dishes for which he’s known and loved, including passed hors d’oeuvres of lollipop buffalo wings, walnut shrimp and Philly cheesesteak dumplings. Dinner starts with warm goat cheesecake with pistachio, endive and baby beets, leading into an entrée of Moroccan lamb meatballs with harissa tomato fennel sauce, crispy spiced chick peas and cucumber mint yogurt. Chef Matt Piekarski’s Hexx chocolate makes an appearance at dessert with his S’mores 2015, a graham cracker-crusted chocolate dumpling, toasted marshmallow fluff and vanilla ice cream. This fun dinner will undoubtedly sell out quickly, so get on it.
On the topic of fun eating: When you get foie gras into the hands of chef Gerald Chin, fun things happen. His latest treatment at Strip Steak (in Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7414) features roasted Hudson Valley foie atop caramelized pineapple and toasted brioche ($31). Chin said he was going for a piña colada, wanting to move away from the typical sweet, fruity compotes that usually accompany duck liver. Grated coconut and coconut milk scattered about and macadamia nuts on top add that extra tropical touch. But at its heart, I think it’s quite possibly the best pineapple upside-down cake ever created.