Because we visit Las Vegas about 4 to 5 times a year, we’ve started to eat most of our meals away from the casinos, looking for good, small, locally owned restaurants that have good food and service; where our business is appreciated and welcomed.
Talk about serendipity. The places that we normally frequent were closed that Sunday evening. While driving on Sahara, we spotted a sign that said "Japanese Restaurant" tucked in the corner of a mini strip mall. While the outside decor was uninspiring, the inside was tastefully done with a traditional Japanese theme.
The food was very authentic and beautifully presented with the flavors of Japan. More surprising, the prices were very reasonable.
The Soft Shell crab was delicious, with a light crispy shell that let the flavor of the crab shine. Most westernized Japanese restaurants have a thick batter and or strong sauce so you wouldn’t know if you’re eating crab or vegetables if you were blindfolded. This is also the only place that we’ve found Hokke, a delicious fish (although somewhat boney) that we discovered in Japan about a year ago.
We were so impressed, we went back for lunch two days later. Again we were not disappointed. They even tried to accommodate our requests that were not on the lunch menu, such as the "Hokke" fish. We capped of lunch by sharing a Green tea mochi ice cream. It too was wonderfully presented and sat on a bed of melted chocolate that was the perfect mate for the ice cream.
The main difference between Kiku Hana and other Japanese restaurants we've visited is that it's all about the food, with minimal western influence. No overpowering sauces, thick batters or crazily named dishes.
The place also allowed quiet conversation which is a definite plus when dining with good company.
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