SUSHI ROKU rolled out its winter menu last month, at a lovely sit-down for the media on November 10th. The Innovative Dining Group has added quite a few new items and recipes for the fall and winter celebrating their 12th year at the Forum Shops. Starting with an exquisitely prepared light green Yukai cocktail decorated like a beautiful Xmas present, Sushi Roku knows how to put on an elegant experience. Executive Chef Haruhiko Takeshita prepared all the new dishes and came out to explain each one. I started with Brussels Sprouts Chips fried in truffle oil and dipped with sea salt. Next on the appetizer menu was Hokkaido Scallop Sashimi on a slice of kiwi, with yuzu jelly, and Maldon sea salt, followed by Hamachi Serrano with garlic, and yuzu ponzu. Marinated Tuna was a soy-marinated Hawaiian tuna with kizama wasabi and was perfectly cooked as was the Filet Mignon Tobanyaki with garlic truffle ponzu, asparagus and mixed mushrooms. Each dish hits your tongue with tiny explosions of new and exotic tastes. The Truffle Tempura Roll with cucumber, topped with avocado and wasabi truffle soy and the Lotus Root Tempura consisting of chopped shrimp, curry salt and chili ponzu dipping sauce were all enjoyed. Most of the items will remain into the spring, but as time goes by some will be out of season and of course new ones will appear. Topping off our evening was Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a Pumpkin Spice Russian cocktail.

Some of the new items are not on the menu, so you can ask what the server would suggest. You can dine with a beautiful view of the Strip, or just stop by at happy hour after shopping for some appetizers and a relaxing time. With a bar, lounge, large dining area and a private dining room, holding up to 28, this is a great location for whatever the occasion. Sushi Roku has a great happy hour where you can partake in a lot of new items that are seasonal. The restaurant will be open on Xmas and will be full of spirit and merriment. Sushi Roku also has locations in Hollywood, Santa Monica and Pasadena, along with a host of other sister properties including the fabulous BOA Steakhouse. All restaurants in the Innovative Dining Group are known for their expertise and taking care of the tiniest details. Located on the 3rd floor of the Forum Shops.

702-733-7373
www.innovativedining.com/restaurants/sushiroku

MERCATO DELLA PESCHERIA, the newest restaurant to go in The Venetian/Palazzo shopping area, comes straight from Venice. On St. Mark’s Square in The Venetian Casino, Mercato Della Pescheria serves extraordinary Italian seafood. Taking over the Wolfgang Puck location, and opening earlier this summer, you cannot get a more authentic Italian atmosphere. With both inside and patio dining, this huge place will seat you immediately and start you with fresh bread in an empty tomato can. All the pasta is made fresh on the premises daily, along with a full seafood bar and a large cheese stand. There is a great happy hour menu, plenty of Italian beers and Bellinis to try, and unlimited starter dishes. The Sea Bass baked in parchment is a sure bet, recommended as one of the favorites of the staff. The Shrimp and Lemon Pasta features perfectly cooked large shrimp with a wonderfully lemony taste. The Seafood Salad with octopus is a tasty dish to try first. The homemade Tiramisu is only made three orders at a time, so it is perfectly fresh. The hustle and bustle of St. Mark’s Square and the entertainment every hour right next to the outdoor dining is a definite plus. One of the managers, Mirko, stopped by and couldn’t have been more helpful with the menu. Mercato Della Pescheria is in the process of building another location in Miami.

702-837-0309
http://mercatodellapescheria.com/lasvegas

LEE’S WINE EXPERIENCE annual event was another wonderful success. Moved this year to the Thomas & Mack and held on Nov. 11, the whole stadium was filled with hundreds of vendors of wine, beer, hard ciders, tequilas and just about everything that the fabulous Lee’s stocks. Thousands of people turned out to say hello to lots of annual friends and bid on silent auction items. Music played and taco vendors were there for those that needed a little food. Priced at $60, $70 at the door, this is a truly worthwhile event. Put it on your list for next year.

FREEDOM BEAT is the newest downtown restaurant, taking over two spots in the Downtown Grand Hotel. With a stage and dance floor, bands play nightly and change weekly. The restaurant features large booths, high-top tables, a long bar and plenty of atmosphere. Wide open with plenty of space, the sounds of the band fill the casino. With wood walls and plenty of decorations, this is a fun place to go. The menu consists of a wide variety of favorites. From spiced wings, to fried tator tots, oysters on the half shell, to chicken pistachio pesto, grilled elote-style Mexican corn, pot roast sandwiches, pork belly eggs Benedict, you’ll find something for every palate. Open 24 hours, and with a private room for up to 30, stop by FREEDOM BEAT.

702-953-4343
www.downtowngrand.com/eat/freedom-beat