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Where to sip Japanese whiskey, and even a Wagyu-infused cocktail, in Vegas

Where to sip Japanese whiskey, and even a Wagyu-infused cocktail, in Vegas


Sushisamba has to be Las Vegas’ ultimate fusion restaurant, blending Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine. Now it’s drawing shout-outs for the Japanese whiskey, not sake, it serves straight up or in cocktails.

The restaurant, in the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Palazzo, has made some of Japan’s finest malts the centerpiece of a seven-course fixed-price menu.

The Japanese Whiskey Experience starts with a Wagyu cocktail, in which premium whiskey is allowed to absorb the flavors of the beef before being blended with maple and salted caramel.

The meal then begins with an appetizer described as “crispy Minter Sweet oyster with butter lettuce.” Caviar, scallions and a spicy sauce complete the dish. It’s paired with a passion fruit whiskey sour.

Next comes smoked ocean trout roe served with rice tuile (cookies) and plantain chips. During this course, guests sip on Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt whiskey.

Other dishes include whiskey-soy marinated robata pork ribs, a Waygu and portabello mushroom roll, and braised beef cheeks.

The meal, priced at $250 per person, requires a four-person minimum. It must be ordered 48 hours in advance. Info and reservations: (702) 607-0700.

Japanese whiskeys date to the early 1900s. Sushisamba serves 29 varieties, including those from three early distillers.

Shinjiro Torii, the founder of Suntory, began creating Western liquors around the turn of the century that would appeal to Japanese palates. He was followed by Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka. As a young chemist, Taketsuru in 1918 traveled to Glasgow, Scotland, to study the making of Scotch.

Kiichiro Iwai’s family had been in the liquor business for 100 years before he bottled their first whiskey in 1949 at the Mars distillery in Shinshu, Japan. Two of Mars’ whiskeys — aged three and 25 years — are served at the Vegas restaurant.