Photos by Shelley Stepanek    

SUSHI ROKU new fall menu debut! Each season, this fantastic restaurant in the Forum Shops, brings forth a beautiful seasonal menu. And once again, I was there to try it out. A beautiful cocktail called Pacific Scorpion with Svedka Clementin, coconut, pineapple, passion fruit, watermelon, guava and lychee started out the meal. First course was Toro Tartare with caviar. New dishes this time around were Sriracha Shrimp with champagne sauce, house-made potato chips and the Titan Roll: very spicy with scallops and jalapeno, topped with tuna & salmon. Time to try dry unfiltered creamy, sweet sake with another new item, Short Rib Bao, which is braised beef with pickled vegetables; and The Vegan with grilled eryngii, asparagus, jalapeno, butter lettuce and soy paper; and of course, a different flavor of sake. Next up, Wagyu Tataki with sautéed mushroom, which had a heavy smell of smoke as it was uncovered. Next course, Roku Cacio E Pepe, which almost looks like spaghetti, but is ramen with asiago cheese. We sampled White Fish Tempura, which is a skate wing with furkake with lemon zest. And of course, another small glass of sake, this time Homare, infused with strawberry juice. The best-of-the-best course was Lobster Garlic Noodles, a full lobster tail with noodles. Absolute perfection. Dessert consisted of three courses: Carnival P.B.J., which is a magnificent ice cream dish totally covered with cotton candy which is set aflame and quickly burns away; the pumpkin bread pudding with vanilla ice cream; and a lovely poached pear with ice cream followed up. All three desserts went well with the last sake of the night, Mango Nigori, soft and fluffy infused with mango. General Manager Johnny Seo does a marvelous job every day of the year. The view is of the Strip, and the restaurant in on the 3rd floor. A welcome piece of news is that valet parking in the Forum Valet is now free for locals dining at Sushi Roku, giving us yet another reason to visit. Many thanks go out to this great restaurant. Call 702-733-7373 for reservations. Lunch and dinner. 

SEARSUCKER at Caesars Palace is amazing. Somehow after three years, I finally made it there this week. What a treasure. Great downhome food executed by the very talented Executive Chef Stephen LaSala, everything with a special twist. A special feature is their “Old Fashioned” line up. Hakkasan Group’s master mixologist, Tim Weigel, has created an unbelievable twist on the cocktails. From smoky to spicy and mellow there is one that you will have to have. How about an actual Bananas Foster Old Fashioned for something new? He is a grand master, I can tell you. Along with Constantine Alexander, Director of Beverage for all of the Hakkasan nationwide, they have designed great new drinks and superb food. From Caesar salad, shishitos, super-hot fried small peppers, giant scallops with orange kabocha, pancetta, hen of the woods, filet mignon, twice cooked creamed kale, it was a taste treat for all. The tuna poke, and especially the marvelous bone marrow with a chili bourbon glaze, cannot be missed. Short ribs with horseradish, potatoes and crispy onions are another new item. We ended with one of the most fantastic dessert trays I have seen, totaling six desserts and freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. With each course we sampled a different Old Fashioned. 702-866-1800 for reservations. 

REFLECTION BAY hosted a culinary feast in November. On the beautiful Lake Las Vegas 25 restaurants and liquor distributors came together for an evening after the 2nd annual Las Vegas Audi Golf Tournament. Assembled on the water were Beauty & Essex, The Capital Grille, Ethel M, Ferraro’s, House of Blues, Lavo, Shake Shack, STK Las Vegas, Tao, Texas de Brazil and Zenshin Asian. Alongside were numerous beers and liquors there to sample. Ferrero’s Italian bites, Shake Shack’s delicious burgers, barbequed ribs, were all there. With over 1,500 attending, buses were furnished for attendees. Great music and entertainment. Nice silent raffle with plenty of golfing prizes. Look forward to next year’s event at $125 per person.