That’s What She Said: Sake Rok
By Michele Polci & Shauna B. Lederman, CPCE, CHE
With a name like Sake Rok, we were not sure what to expect. One of us is not a fan of sushi or sake and one us grew up in Los Angeles and had the opportunity to regularly eat at Matushisa and Nobu’s first restaurant, before his days as a celebrity chef. With all of the buzz about this new restaurant we both couldn’t wait to try it out.
Located in the Park, adjacent to the T-Mobile arena, Sake Rok is one of the few new restaurant offerings in the area. Prior to entering, a walk up bar located outside the restaurant caught our eye. Barstools were available during the day but in the evening, they were moved inside. We noticed a lot of people enjoying the perfect spring weather. Overlooking the bar is a 16×9 projection glass. Sake Rok is the first in Las Vegas to have anything of its kind. Standard images scroll through but we were advised that custom images can be displayed on the glass as well. It’s incredible!
Walking in, we first focused on the restaurant décor - it’s amazing! Sensory overload, in fact. Rock and Roll Geishas inspired by the underground graffiti scene adorn the walls. There are two dining areas. The first floor encompassed a large seating area anchored by the sushi bar on one side and beverage bar on the other. The mezzanine overlooks the main dining room and has the best view of Park and the restaurants state-of-the-art video system with the sushi station directly below.
We came in for an early dinner but after 6:00 p.m., the restaurant transforms into “dinner… and a show”. The MCs schmooze with diners and coordinate restaurant wide sake bombs. Our server was actually part of the show! There are sporadic vignettes and service staff breaks into lip sync serenades and small theatrical vignettes. However, service doesn’t skip a beat because other servers step in to assist and make sure everyone’s needs are attended to.
Our server promptly brought out menus, they were 2×3 feet… no reading glasses were needed. We were in a green mood and had to try a number of the vegetable dishes. They pretty much sold the show for one of us. Edamame Rok is out of this world with a little Asian Garlic Butter and chili thread on top, this was hands-down the best edamame! The grilled Shishito peppers were also perfectly executed, with the skin of the peppers expertly charred and topped with crispy garlic, sea salt and lime and served with a charred lime. We also ordered the Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Streusel. We both love Brussels and these did not disappoint. They were crispy and the Asian Pears and honey fish sauce that the Brussels are tossed in was quite the complement to the subtle saltiness of the bacon. They go in one of our books as one of the best things we have ever eaten.
In addition to the starters, small plates, rolls, and sushi there was a solid offering of entrees ranging from Miso Marinated Black Cod to a 42 oz. Wagyu Tomahawk Steak. We knew we ordered a lot of food and shared a Hanger Steak entree. It was the perfect accompaniment to the other items we had enjoyed.
It was presented with lovely Chanterelle Mushrooms and AKA Miso.
How about the sushi? The table next to us ordered the Godzilla Platter. It paraded past us with a 2’ tall Godzilla blowing “smoke” out of his mouth and was complimented by five different specialty rolls and eight pieces of Sashimi and Nigiri served on a huge red platter.
Before we left we went to check out a third floor private event space, aptly named Sakura Terrace, paying homage to the Japanese Cherry Blossom. Like its name, the third floor is sophisticated and the décor is contemporary. Featuring floor to ceiling glass, the space is something quite unique to Las Vegas. The glass opens up completely to the Terrace and you have a complete indoor/outdoor venue.
On our next visit you can expect one of us will be having her share of sake bombs… and that’s what she said.