Saturday, September 17, 2011

The $100 Roll at Wazuzu of Encore, Las Vegas

High roller sushi, indeed.

I had heard of a $100 sushi roll before, but never tried one. I read about it once in a magazine somewhere, and as you'd expect, some of the most expensive ingredients were included in the roll: Wagyu beef, lobster, caviar, and the obligatory gold flakes, for a regal touch. It sounded delicious, albeit pretentious and overpriced.

Wazuzu, the pan-Asian bistro at Encore Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, appropriately calls its $100 roll the "High-Roll"er. Served with a lobster miso soup on the side, the "High-Roll"er comes with Maine lobster, toro, Osetra caviar, creme fraiche, and 23-karat edible gold flakes.

When in Vegas, one is tempted to splurge and then rationalize that indulgence. It's the ambience, perhaps: Wazuzu is in the middle of a poshly decorated resort-casino, where you can hear the hubbub and feel the energy; the jingle and whirr of slot machines serve as an audio backdrop while synthetically perfumed air lures you. Wazuzu itself has no ordinary atmosphere: a 27-foot crystal dragon encrusted with Swarovski crystals snakes across one wall; a color scheme of red, gold and black evokes Oriental opulence; smartly uniformed servers pamper you like you're Asian royalty.

Amid this ostentation, it's hard not to yield to excess and just say "What the hell, it's Vegas," and be a gambler.

Lobster claw meat and shimeji mushrooms make a small difference in an otherwise typical miso soup, but the "High-Roll"er–especially its presentation–will leave a lasting impression. The lobster head and hollowed-out shell on the plate may be there for decorative purposes only, but they certainly turn the dish into a visual masterpiece. All the flavors coalesce just right, the saltiness of the caviar mingling with the creamy, slightly sour taste of creme fraiche–add some bites of the freshest cold Maine lobster and the highest grade of fatty tuna to that and you'll realize this was a risk well taken.

Despite the high stakes, the "High-Roll"er is worth a try...even if the price may be up the wazuzu.

Wazuzu at Encore
3121 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas
702-248-3463

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