Posts Tagged ‘Vegas Kine Grindz’

Vegas Kine Grindz – Part II

March 1, 2012
Part I |  Part II 

The last time I wrote an article devoted to the ono grindz of our 9th island of “Lost Wages”, Crash won Best Picture at the Academy Awards and George W Bush was our President. It was actually my very first foray into food articles here on AroundHawaii (way back in April of ’06) and was aptly titled “Vegas Kine Grindz“. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane shmall kine and continue the series with part II, an almost 6 years later!

Since we literally just completed a 5-part series on Hawaii’s best ramen, and my brain can’t function any other way yet 😛 , let’s start off this trip with one of Las Vegas’ best ramens…

 

Monta Japanese Noodle House

Located conveniently on Spring Mountain Road, this popular noodle house regularly receives rave reviews from tourists and locals alike.

Outside Monta Japanese Noodle House. Expect to wait in a line.
Outside Monta Japanese Noodle House. Expect to wait in a line.

Before we left, my friend Dave’s friend recommended Monta, as did my friend and co-worker Shane. On this occasion, we were taken by Jeff, an old high school classmate turned Las Vegas resident. He says he goes there at least once a week and is practically an expert when ordering his bowl.

Shoyu Ramen ($6.95) with extra Chashu Pork ($2.50) and two Nitamago (soft boiled egg) ($1.50 each) [Photo Credit: Jeff Hee]
Shoyu Ramen ($6.95) with extra Chashu Pork ($2.50) and two Nitamago (soft boiled egg) ($1.50 each) [Photo Credit: Jeff Hee]

If you’ve been following my ramen series for the last 5 months, you’ll know that I’m a tonkotsu fiend, so there really was no other option for me.

Tonkotsu Ramen ($6.95) with Nitamago ($1.50), Nori ($0.75) and Shredded Green Onion ($0.75)
Tonkotsu Ramen ($6.95) with Nitamago ($1.50), Nori ($0.75) and Shredded Green Onion ($0.75)

If you’re a big eater, portions are relatively small here. I would recommend saving some soup at the end and going for the Kaedama (extra order of noodles) for an additional $1.50.

Your other options here for ramen are Tonkotsu-Shoyu ($6.95) and Miso ($7.25), and for Toppings, Takana Mustard Leaf ($1.50), Kimchi ($1), Corn ($0.50) and Butter ($0.50).

Here’s their complete menu: http://www.montaramen.com/menu.php

I would rate this as one of the top 3 ramens I’ve ever had in the U.S. Yes, it’s THAT good. The tonkotsu broth is legit, and the Chashu pork melts in and “brokes” your mout’ at the same time! 😉 This is a MUST visit on every Vegas trip.

Monta Japanese Noodle House
5030 Spring Mountain Road Suite 6
Las Vegas, Nevada 89146 (Street View)
(702) 367-4600
Daily: 11:30am-11pm

 

Secret Pizza (No Name Pizza Kitchen)

When a place has no signage to speak of and goes by the name of “Secret Pizza”, you know you’re onto something good. In fact, the only way people know about this place is by word of mouth. Heck, they even answer the phone with a plain & simple “Pizzeria”! I was super excited to eat there, primarily because of the mysteriousness of it all.

The entrance doesn’t look like much of anything and is pretty much just a dark hallway. You would probably walk right past it if you weren’t paying attention.

Dark, inconspicuous entrance to Secret Pizza with no signage to speak of
Dark, inconspicuous entrance to Secret Pizza with no signage to speak of

Also known as the “No Name Pizza Kitchen” (NNPK), you’ll be sure to find the makings of a traditional pizza kitchen at the end of the hall, in addition to a long line of “in-the-know” patrons.

The line inside Secret Pizza
The line inside Secret Pizza

I’m not really a big pizza eater, but these pie slices literally had me panting for more. The first night I had their sausage and jalapeno slice, and the next night (yes, we went twice! 😉 ), I picked up a mushroom pepperoni slice.

My mushroom, pepperoni slice ($4.50)
My mushroom, pepperoni slice ($4.50)

You can customize any slice of pizza for $0.50 additional per topping. Also popular is their “White” pizzas which have ricotta cheese and no red sauce. They go for $5 a slice.

Rumor has it that all of the ingredients for the pizza are actually homemade right here in the kitchen and restaurants from other hotels & casinos actually buy their ingredients from them. Another rumor is that they only use Evian water when mixing their dough. Not too sure how true these rumors are, but the pizza was really dang good!

Secret Pizza, aka No Name Pizza Kitchen, aka NNPK
At the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Street View)
(702) 698-7000
Fri-Mon: 11am-5am
Tue-Thu: 11am-4am

 

Sushi Mon

All-you-can-eats in Las Vegas is like saying beaches in Hawaii. You’ll find them everywhere, some better than others. Sushi Mon is one of those popular all-you-can-eats off the strip that is still reasonable and maintains good quality.

Outside Sushi Mon
Outside Sushi Mon

There were 7 of us there that night for the $26.95 All You Can Eat Dinner special, so I’m sure they were a bit afraid of the damage we were about to cause. They churned out order after order like champs though (and fast!) so mad props to them. Here’s some of what we ordered that night as well as from a previous visit there.

2 orders of Ikura (salmon roe) and 2 orders of Masago (smelt egg)
2 orders of Ikura (salmon roe) and 2 orders of Masago (smelt egg)

2 orders of Hokkigai (surf clam) and 2 orders of Hamachi (yellowtail tuna)
2 orders of Hokkigai (surf clam) and 2 orders of Hamachi (yellowtail tuna)

Their popular Cajun Albacore sushi
Their popular Cajun Albacore sushi

Snow Crab Meat Sushi (you're only allowed one order per person)
Snow Crab Meat Sushi (you’re only allowed one order per person)

Ed’s Tip: Be aware that you only have a 60 minute time limit here, but as mentioned above, the chefs here churned out our orders pretty quickly so it was never an issue for us.

Sushi Mon
8320 W Sahara Ave, Suite 180
Las Vegas, NV 89117 (Street View)
(702) 304-0044
Daily: 11:30am-2am
@SushiMonVegas

 

Hikari Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

In the mood for sushi again, 5 of us headed to a placed called Hikari, based on a tip we got.

Outside Hikari Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar
Outside Hikari Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

You can actually get all you can eat steak here too, but you have to choose one or the other. We opted for the $26.95 sushi route.

All you can eat sushi menu from Hikari
All you can eat sushi menu from Hikari

Although they were out of a few items (as was Sushi Mon), the choices here seem to be a little deeper. Here are some highlights of the choices we went with.

Sashimi combo
Sashimi combo

Raw fish without the rice is always a good thing during all-you-can-eat dining! 8)

Soft Shell Crab
Soft Shell Crab

Amaebi sushi
Amaebi sushi

Screem Inor Gazim
Screem Inor Gazim

Hikari
4175 S Buffalo Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89147 (Street View)
(702) 889-6660
Daily: 5pm-2am

 

And finally, we’ll close things out with a sweet sandwich find for this sandwich obsessed lover.

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

Capriotti’s is a franchise sandwich shop with 75 locations across the U.S. (32 in Nevada alone). My friend’s wife swears by their Capastrami subs (Hot pastrami, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and cole slaw), so we had to go and check it out.

Capriotti's sandwich making station
Capriotti’s sandwich making station

We visited the Paradise Road location right near our hotel at the Hard Rock. In addition to the Capastrami, the New Jersey sounding guy taking our order (whom I assumed to be the owner), suggested the Bobbie (The nationally acclaimed best-seller! Hand-pulled, slow roasted, homemade Turkey, fresh cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing and mayo).

Special sign for the Bobbie
Special sign for the Bobbie

Here’s a cross sectional look at the sandwich.

The Bobbie from Capriotti's
The Bobbie from Capriotti’s

Buggah was grindz! I gotta go back and try some of their other subs!

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop
4480 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89169 (Street View)
(702) 736-6166
Mon-Fri: 10am-7pm
Sat-Sun: 11am-5pm
@capriottis

 

The primary reason for this trip was to celebrate the engagement of my brother-in-law Lee, bachelor party style. Congratulations bro!!!

Da boyz celebrating Lee's final days as a single bachelor
Da boyz celebrating Lee’s final days as a single bachelor

Now… If we can ever find a bride for my friend Todd (center), we can work on Vegas Kine Grindz – Part III. I wouldn’t hold your breath though. That may take more than 6 years… 😉

Part I |  Part II 

Vegas Kine Grindz

April 1, 2006
 Part II  | Part II

Note: Since I made a promise and I’m a man of my word (not to mention being tired of speaking geek), we’ll be taking a break from all that stuffy computer talk to do a fun column this month. And, by the looks of the amount of comments I got from last month’s gem (zero as I write this), perhaps this little break will turn into a string of regular, fun pieces with periodic computer winners sprinkled in between…

As y’all know, we the people of Hawaii love anything and everything to do with Las Vegas. Some of us even go as far as christening the city as our ninth island. Now, I’m not sure I’m as fanatical about this place as one would think I should be (exploring new/different locations is my personal preference), but whenever I do get the chance to visit sin city, I try to go to places most from Hawaii have never been. I think I’ve done a pretty good job this time around, especially with the grindage. Let’s see if you agree…

So my Vegas adventures started off early last month when I met a couple of buddies for the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC 58) at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Since I arrived the morning of the fight, there really wasn’t much time to go gallivanting around town for new and exciting eateries.

It’s been a while since my buddies had an ono plate lunch (they are ex-pats living in Virginia and San Diego), so it wasn’t surprising that they were just itching for “local” kine food. We eventually found our way to a Hawaiian plate lunch place on Decatur Boulevard called Aloha Kitchen.

Aloha Kitchen, Las Vegas Nevada
Aloha Kitchen, Las Vegas Nevada

I know, I know… Some of you have probably already been to or heard of this Aloha Kitchen and are rolling your eyes at me, thinking that this place is not some well-kept secret… No worries… I’m just starting you off nice and easy for now. By the end of this column, you’ll be thanking me for helping you find the yummiest discoveries for your next time in Vegas. Guaranz-balbaranz!

The Aloha Kitchen we went to was on South Decatur Boulevard. They have another location on South Maryland Parkway that caters to the locals and UNLV students alike and I hear they have another one on Lamb Boulevard. Rumor also has it that these three locations are somehow affiliated with the Aloha Specialties store that we all know and love, located in the Cal in downtown, but that has been unconfirmed. Decorated with an almost over-the-top, stereotypical Hawaiiana theme (grass roofing, bamboo poles, brightly painted seating), the restaurant at least gave a certain sense of warmth and Hawaii feel.

Inside Aloha Kitchen
Inside Aloha Kitchen

But nevah mine all of that. Let’s get to the food! I wasn’t all too hungry myself, since I had landed not more than a few hours prior, so I ended up just going for the burger and fries combo. I wasn’t expecting much because I’m not much of a burger eater to begin with. Well, to my surprise, the cooks at Aloha Kitchen did good with this one. Really good. In fact, I would even go out on the limb and say that this was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life. And believe me, I’m getting up there… this life is not a short one anymore. 😉 There was just something about this burger that made it ohhhh so tasty. The saltiness, the butteriness, the sesame-seed bunliness… YUM! If you go to Aloha Kitchen, you just gotta try this one.

Cheeseburger and fries combo
Cheeseburger and fries combo

Now, before I go on, let me just say that I am not being paid (with food bribes or otherwise) for any of the high praises, so whatever I say, I truly mean. You can count on me giving an unbiased opinion because, like you, I’m paying for these meals out of my own pocket and I want to get the most bang for my buck. If I have a bad meal or experience, I will tell you. I wouldn’t want you wasting your hard-earned money on whatever it is I’m covering. Now, perhaps one day I’ll be able to completely sell out and get free meals and drinks (and massages?) while I eat in exchange for a little pub and a positive review (*hint to those restaurants out there*), but until then, it’s 100% honesty from yours truly.

* Note: You don’t really think that I’d sell out do you? 😛 (*whispering* Restaurants… Call me!)

Aloha Kitchen Menu
Aloha Kitchen Menu

Moving on… Choosing from a decent selection from the menu, my posse ordered a bevy of choices: the special Kalbi Combo, Kalua Pig and Katsu Combo, and the Teriyaki Combo (minus the pork). Mmm… Comfort food that would make any stomach growl.

Now I’m hoping that it was just a coincidence, but on this occasion, the service was very, VERY slow. From standing in line to order to waiting for the food to come out, if you’re in a rush, then just be prepared for this long wait if this is a regular occurrence.

Special Kalbi Combo
Special Kalbi Combo

Kalua Pig and Katsu Combo
Kalua Pig and Katsu Combo

Teriyaki Combo (minus the pork)
Teriyaki Combo (minus the pork)

The Decatur location even has an attached bar called Aloha Bar, complete with pool tables, slot machines and a pretty decent sized stage and dance floor. It was pretty barren in there since it was in the middle of the day, but I can imagine that it becomes a happening joint as night falls.

Aloha Bar

Aloha Kitchen & Bar
2605 S. Decatur Blvd., Ste. 110
Las Vegas, NV 89102 (map)
(702) 364-0064

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The next day, our hunger pains (or was it our hormones?) led us to the greatest thing to come to Vegas since gambling… Hooters Hotel & Casino. So it was late and we weren’t that hungry and the wait was long and we had an early next morning, and so on and so forth… It’s HOOTERS for Pete’s sake!

Hooters Restaurant signage
Hooters Restaurant signage

All kidding aside, here’s the real scoops on the Hooters Restaurant, nestled within the confines of the hotel: it’s nothing special. If you’ve been to the Hooters at Aloha Tower Marketplace on Oahu (or wherever you’re tuning in from), the menu and tastes aren’t all that different here.

Taking over the old Hotel San Remo property, Hooters had just opened on February 2, 2006, so quite simply, it gave us a good excuse to eat and stay there. Even though we got there fairly late (around 9PM), there was still a pretty hefty line wrapping around the side of the restaurant. The wait wasn’t too bad though (we were let in less than 15 minutes later) so if you really want to eat here, stick around for a bit.

Hooters Restaurant's wood interior
Hooters Restaurant’s wood interior

The interior of the restaurant was bright and spacious, with color televisions sprinkled all around, and a definite & recognizable wood theme. There was even live music, trickling in from the bar next door.

My buddy Tommy ordered the “Nearly World Famous Chicken Wings” splashed with 3 mile island hot sauce that made him sweat (and cry?). For all you toughguys out there, Tommy’s pretty good at handling his hot stuff, so heed this warning… If you’re afraid, go tamer! You can order the chicken wings in the following ways: 10 pieces for $7.49, 20 pieces for 14.29 or 50 pieces for $29.99, and your choice of hot sauces: mild, medium, hot, 3 mile island or 911.

Hooters' Nearly World Famous Chicken Wings with 3 mile island hot sauce
Hooters’ Nearly World Famous Chicken Wings with 3 mile island hot sauce

I’m a wimp when it comes to hot sauce so I settled on the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich for $7.49. The description from the menu says “A fried chicken sandwich, shaken in your choice of our famous wing sauce. Like a wing on a bun, without the bone! All sandwiches served with pickle, lettuce and tomato, and either cole slaw, baked beans or potato salad.” You can order extra sides: sliced cheese, bacon, chili or mushrooms for 99 cents each and/or cole slaw, potato salad, or baked beans for $1.19 each.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with baked beans
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with baked beans

While there, we were even treated to a little celebration for an unknowing bachelor in the crowd.

Impromptu bachelor celebration
Impromptu bachelor celebration

A little side note: If you’re in the mood for a unique, White Castle-esque burger, pay a visit to Pete & Shorty’s Book and Bar and try their “world famous” Shorty Burger for $1.50 each (or $7.49 for 1/2 dozen or a full dozen for $14.99 dozen). After watching Harold & Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, one of my most favorite movies of all time (yeah, sad isn’t it?), this is probably the closest I’ll get to one of them Slyders until my next trip to the East coast.

Shorty Burgers
Shorty Burgers

(! – If you plan on doing any shopping at the gift shop, be sure you join Hooters’ Player’s Club called Club Orange beforehand. Coincidentally, I had done this and when the gift shop employee rang me up and asked if I was a Club Orange member, I got a $7+ discount on about a $30 purchase. I’m sure results and rules vary, but it doesn’t hurt right? Besides, if you’re like me, you now have bragging rights of being one of the first in your area to join Club Orange! 😛 )

Hooters Hotel & Casino
115 E. Tropicana Ave.
Las Vegas NV 89109 (map)
Phone: (702) 739-9000
Toll Free: 1-866-LVHOOTS
Fax: (702) 736-1120

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Alright, alright, let’s get down to business! Yes, some of you may have heard about Aloha Kitchen, and although new in Vegas, most of you have probably heard of that ol’ Hooters joint too… Now, as they say in Fantasy Football drafts, let’s go for our sleeper pick: Sushi House Manda!

Sushi House Manda sign up close
Sushi House Manda sign up close

Some of you may remember Sushi House Manda from back in the day when they were located on West Sahara Ave, near the World’s Largest Gift Shop. Since then, they’ve moved west to South Ft. Apache Road, sharing property with Doc Holliday’s Saloon. If you’re like (the old) me, you’re probably wondering how fresh fish can be sitting in the middle of a desert. Now before you get your panties in a bunch, give me a chance to show you some pics and explain…

Signage for Doc Holliday's Restaurant & Sushi House Manda
Signage for Doc Holliday’s Restaurant & Sushi House Manda

This all-you-can-eat sushi powerhouse has gone through major upgrades to create the ambience that you will find at their new location. When you enter the building, just turn left to see what you’ve been missing (Doc Holliday’s is to the right). Panning the room from left to right will show you the following:

Inside Sushi House Manda

Inside Sushi House Manda

Inside Sushi House Manda

Yes, I know… Why so empty? Well, we were so excitable and anxious to get there that we arrived way too early! But that leads me to my next hint/tip: (! – Arrive early! You’ll secure yourself a seat and the freshest fish of the night.)

So since we’re here early, let’s grab a seat at the “bar”. From here, we’ll get a good view of the fish, Jimbo (owner) and his crew (all from Japan) preparing the delicacies for you.

Sitting at the bar
Sitting at the bar

Check out the menu and order away! Don’t worry about getting carried away because it’s all you can eat for just $29.95.

Sushi House Manda menu
Sushi House Manda menu

My friend felt like eating “poke” so that’s what we ordered. What we got wasn’t what we in Hawaii traditionally think of as “poke” though.

Poke
“Poke”

Listed #1 on their Nigiri Sushi list, Manda’s Shiro Maguro is their marquee item. Literally translated, the “white tuna” is one of the fattiest portions of the fish. We doubled our order on this one!

Shiro Maguro
Shiro Maguro

Next up, the Jimbo Roll, named after Jimbo, the bossman of Sushi House Manda. The Jimbo Roll contains Tempura shrimp, Asparagus and a special sauce.

Jimbo Roll
Jimbo Roll

One of my favorites is the surf clam called Hokkigai. Hokkigai onegaishimasu!

Hokkigai
Hokkigai

You can’t go to an all-you-can-eat sushi joint and NOT order amaebi (“raw shrimp”), though some places don’t include this in their menu because of the difficulty to prepare. Not Manda! They even included the heads, deep fried to perfection.

Amaebi
Amaebi

If I didn’t order the ahi here, it would be like going to Morton’s and not ordering steak.

Maguro
Maguro

To round it all out, we pounded the Spider Roll (Soft shell crab with special sauce).

Spider Roll
Spider Roll

Jimbo, Leslie, Lisa and the gang make you feel right at home when you dine there. For me personally, Sushi House Manda is one of those MUST-EAT places on each and every trip to Las Vegas. AOL’s City Guide visitors also agreed, voting them the City’s Best Sushi of 2006. I guess the secret’s out!

If you decide to go to Sushi House Manda, “Tell ’em Ed sent ya!”

(It won’t get you anything, but I’ve just always wanted to say that! 😛 )

Sushi House Manda
4790 South Ft. Apache Road
Las Vegas NV 89147 (map)
Phone: (702) 382-6006
Lunch: M-F, 11:30am-1:30pm
Dinner: Nightly from 5pm
$29.95 Buffet, Reservations are suggested.

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Dishes, the buffet restaurant in the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino opened in November, 2004. Hardly new by Las Vegas standards, it seems like an establishment that’s sometimes overlooked.

Dishes Restaurant

For just $15 (Breakfast – $12, Champagne Brunch – $15, Lunch – $15, Sun-Thu Dinner – $20 and Fri-Sat Dinner – $26), one could fill up with an assortment of delightful delectables ranging from sushi, Chinese cuisine, Italian fare, southern food, and more.

Sushi selection
Sushi selection

Fruit selection
Fruit selection

Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine

Pizza options
Pizza options

Italian choices
Italian choices

Italian choices
Italian choices

Salad choices
Salad choices

Mexican choices
Mexican choices

Southern foods
Southern foods

Southern foods
Southern foods

(! – Not so fast! Don’t leave without dessert… The dessert table is a little inconspicuous and out of the way and could be missed without the trained eye, or nose. Take the time, or ask an employee to help you find it. It’ll be worth it!)

Don't forget dessert!
Don’t forget dessert!

Don't forget dessert!
Don’t forget dessert!

Dishes, rumored to be changing their name in the next few months, was the staff’s pick for the 2005 best buffet of Las Vegas by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Dishes – Trasure Island Hotel & Casino
3300 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109 (map)
Phone: (702) 894-7111
Breakfast: 7am to 11am, Mon-Fri
Champagne Brunch: 7am to 4pm, Sat-Sun
Lunch: 11am to 4pm, Mon-Fri
Dinner: 4pm to 10:30pm, Daily

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I hope you’ll agree with my choices above by screaming at the top of your lungs, “World Wide Ed’s Vegas Kine Grindz is da Winnahz!” C’mon, no shame! Alright fine, I’ll settle for your pleasant comments below…

See you next month!

 Part II  | Part II