Photos by Justin Leung

It was certainly a well spent holiday at home in Atlanta: a month spent with loved ones and old friends in the warmth of an ignited fireplace, gifts sitting patiently underneath the Christmas tree and the thousands of faces basking in the new year’s night sky. I nearly forgot what it felt like to stress, study and work. At the blink of an eye, my winter vacation came to an end and I returned to Las Vegas from my humble hometown.

I was welcomed by the familiar sound of arrival flights, couples and families navigating McCarran International Airport, and the sight of the Las Vegas Strip that evening. It was almost as if I stepped into a new world again: transitioning from the nostalgic Atlanta city to the evolving Las Vegas community. The smell of Vegas and the dry air reminded me of my friendships, partnerships and connections I had made. The new year needed to start strong and impactful.

The team and I needed to reconnect before the start of the new semester. With a few arrangements, some Epicurean Society members and I decided to take advantage of the remaining week of vacation we had. A Restaurant Outings member suggested we look at two different kinds of venues: Umiya Sushi, located on W. Flamingo Rd. and S. Arville St., and Creamistry, on W. Warm Springs Rd. and S. Rainbow Blvd. With little obstacles, we ventured out as a small group on January 15.

There are a number of Japanese restaurants all over Nevada, but Umiya Sushi has been recognized to serve high-quality sushi and seafood. It is located near the Palms Hotel & Casino and the business is considered to be one of the original sushi restaurants that serve all-you-can-eat. Our first impression of Umiya was excellent because of the service quality we experienced, and our members are keen on observing these standards within the first five seconds of entering an establishment. 

Upon walking into the restaurant, we were promptly greeted by the host, who stood just beyond the entrance mat. To the left of the entrance, Epicurean members were astonished to see a full bar with beer and liquor bottles on the shelves. While they prepared our table to accompany our party size, the hostess began to talk to us and break the ice. She guided us to the table while maintaining eye contact and connecting with us. Through the small talk that we held with the hostess, the waiter was informed of our interests and why we decided to visit Umiya. Our first interactions with their staff helped them determine a table fit for our group and make well-informed decisions. Umiya’s team of servers were responsive, quick, and attentive. 

From the menu, guests are able to choose between à la carte or all-you-can-eat (AYCE). The waiter with prior knowledge of our AYCE interest told us that the service is applied to the entire menu’s food items. For lunch, the price is $20.95 from opening hours to 3:00 p.m. and dinner is $25.95 from 3:00 p.m. to closing hours. The rules for AYCE include: a 90-minute time limit, an explicit charge for any food not consumed, and being unable to share AYCE with non-AYCE party members. 

Epicurean members made several remarks such as: “The salmon was so smooth and rich. I could tell it was fresh and cut today just from the texture”; “I had to get another order of the Tako (octopus). Chewy, savory, and a must-have.” Even the special rolls had Epicurean Society members drooling. Another member added, “If I would recommend any simple yet tasteful rolls, I would suggest the Alaska Roll, and the Banana Roll.” The Alaska Roll is made with smoked salmon, crab, avocado, asparagus, a side of eel sauce and hot sauce. If I could have the Banana Roll again, I would order it again for à la carte. The Banana Roll is a sweet, crunchy, and delicate roll made with crab, avocado, cucumber, a deep-fried banana and eel sauce. It is not only well balanced but brings out the taste of fresh banana despite being combined with avocado, crab and
eel sauce.

Epicurean Society members were now craving dessert. Our visit to Creamistry was certainly eye-opening: Their use of liquid nitrogen to create premium scoops of ice cream is jaw-dropping. Guests can create their own or choose from the pre-created list of options. You simply choose your size (regular, large, nitroshake or ice cream sandwich) and base (signature premium, organic, sorbet or vegan), ice cream flavor (cereals, coffees/teas, cookies/cakes, fruity, nutty or classics), and toppings and upgrades (candies, fruits, nuts, sauces, cereals or cookies/cakes). 

Our social concluded with members going their separate ways until January 22, the first day of spring semester.