Thursday, January 26, 2017

Yummy Grill & Sushi and KAME Omakase of Las Vegas: Live and Rare Seafood

Chef Eric Presents...

Live Lobster Sashimi with Uni

Lobster with Shimeji Mushrooms, Uni Butter, and White Wine

Shirako (Fish Sperm)

Kamashida Toro Tartare with Yamaimo, Caviar, Tobiko,
and Gold Flake Gelatin Topping

Yummy Grill & Sushi in Las Vegas

At Yummy Grill & Sushi in Las Vegas, the chefs mean business when they write “Live Lobster” on the board.

Written right next to the words “Abalone” and “Octopus,” two other specials of the day that happen to be live, this popular invertebrate is so fresh, it’s still twitching as they pick it up and show it to me.

As much as I consider myself a seasoned seafood pro, I cringe slightly at the visual and at the thought of this glorified sea bug getting chopped up because I, ever the epicurean gourmand, agreed to shell out $78 for a two-part lobster meal…but only because I saw it move.

And as we all know, just because we love to masticate it doesn’t mean we want to watch the process of how it actually arrives on our plate. That’s what we pay them to do. We are paying for the food, the ambience, and the labor—and to be spared the guts and the gore.

Owner and Head Chef Eric briefly illustrates the details of the course that is to be part raw, part cooked—first comes the lobster tail, served as sashimi with raw uni and fish eggs; and then the lobster head, cooked with shimeji mushrooms, an uni butter sauce, and white wine.

It sounded fabulous to me.

Eric isn’t just a chef, he’s an artist, for his presentation of this dish was extraordinary. I have never before seen a fuliginous branch sprouting from a bed of ice, much less with an acorn to adorn it; upon the ice lay the shiny red tail and flippers of my doomed crustacean, born to be feasted upon, with its delicate freight of pink and glistening meat, embellished with caviar, ikura, tobiko and uni, with a few sprigs of sprout strewn about. What a perfect combination of flavors!

And there was the most unusual garnish: yamamomo, or mountain peach (about the size of lychee), which sat on the side upon a shiso leaf, next to a nest of seaweed salad. A mound of real wasabi sat on a mini wasabi grater—a lovely touch.

This chilled delicacy was a real delight, and was followed with smooth perfection using the head of the lobster, cooked as promised, with its meaty claws perched on the plate, as if posed humbly in a belated cry for salvation.

Last year, when I visited Yummy Grill & Sushi, I had ingested Shirako (also known as fish sperm, or milt, or sperm sacs), served with grated daikon radish, masago and green onions. Shirako, quite literally, means “white children” in Japanese. In my opinion, Shirako is underrated as a delicacy—if people love and seek out the proverbial caviar (the eggs of female fish), then why aren’t they drawn to the sperm sacs of male fish? Both are an acquired taste, exotic, and need not necessarily be reserved for seafood die-hards.

Of course the Kamashida Toro Tartare with yamaimo, red tobiko, Russian caviar, and a gold flake gelatin topping (which is about $30 and quite miniscule) might be an even more unique choice, as it’s one of the restaurant’s signature creations and pretty to look at.

At Yummy Grill & Sushi, you can find some of the most exotic fish and some creative concoctions—it might just depend on the day and on the mood of the chefs.

Right next door, KAME is an omakase-style restaurant by the same owner and chef. The 19-course omakase feast costs $165 per person, and reservations are recommended at least one week in advance, as it is a small 16-seat restaurant, with half of the highly coveted seats being at the sushi bar. KAME Omakase is famous for serving live items as sashimi (from live scallop and live uni to live abalone), and depending on the season, you might find rare items such as Congo baby eel and even live sea cucumber.

Yummy Grill & Sushi, and KAME Omakase
7331 W. Lake Mead Boulevard, Las Vegas

*Note: Yummy Grill & Sushi should not be confused with another restaurant of the same name in the city. The one on Eastern Avenue is not affiliated and has an entirely different menu.