Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Nozomi is a hole in the wall Japanese restaurant and sushi bar located in the same shopping center as the Omelet House on Charleston just East of Rancho. I have been going to this spot for as long as I can remember, and it may have even been the first place I ever had sushi. It also may have been one of the first sushi restaurants in Las Vegas, however, back then it was run by sushi chef Roy and was called Kifune. The interior hasn't changed much in 22 years, so it's a comforting place to eat for me. In my visits to Nozomi I have found the sushi to generally be very good, sometimes excellent, and sometimes not so good. One time Ian and I went there and they had the sushi bar cooler set at too low a temperature so the fish began to freeze, which caused the cell walls to break and destroyed the texture. The horror! Anyhow, that only happened once and every other time I've been pretty happy with my overall experience.

After sampling many different items on the menu I have settled on a favorite, and that is the Chuckster Salad, pictured above ($14). This salad is unique from anything I've had elsewhere, and because a lot of care has gone into the selection of the individual components the end result is a success. The first time I ordered it I thought, "Wow, what a clever way to use the extra pieces of fish you can't use for sushi or sashimi," but after watching them prepare it I saw that this was not an economical way to use leftovers, but rather a special dish in and of itself. The salad starts with chunks of freshly cut fish, including yellowtail, salmon, and tuna. I'll agree that these are your garden variety species that you can get anywhere, but they are certainly fresh here and their growing popularity makes this salad pallet pleasing to even the novice sushi eater. To these hearty bite-sized pieces the chef adds shredded daikon radish, sweet pickled cucumbers, and tempura "crunchies," all of which add perfect counter textures to the fish. That's pretty much all there is to it, with the exception of a delicious creamy dressing and garnish of daikon radish sprouts. If you are looking for a low carb alternative to your ordinary rolls, this is the perfect choice.

On this visit, we also tried something new that we will definitely order again, the Shrimp Wraps ($9). These reminded me of the Japanese version of Koong Sarong at Lotus of Siam. Instead of bacon, however, these have a filling of cream cheese. They are also wrapped in wonton wrappers rather than egg roll wrappers, and are served with a sweet hot wasabi sauce rather than sweet chili sauce. The dish is executed well and even though it is simple, the flavors go together wonderfully. Between the Chuckster Salad and the Shrimp Wraps we were satiated and pleased. Even more pleasing was that both items totaled $23, not bad for a Frugal Foodie dinner. I won't make the claim that Nozomi is the best sushi restaurant in town, but it is a charming place and these dishes are both worth going for.

Tonight's Food Ratings:
Chuckster Salad: 9
Shrimp Wraps: 8

Restaurant Rating: 6.75


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