Wynn Las Vegas Magazine by MODERN LUXURY

Wynn - 2011 - Issue 2 - Fall

Wynn Magazine - Las Vegas

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Page 114 of 123

Soft-shell-crab roll of highly skilled chefs, who rely on the integrity of the products rather than the flashing of knives. The reverence for nature reflected in the restaurant's design is com- plemented by Devin Hashimoto, Okada's new executive chef. The chef has rethought the basic core menu and augmented it with Japanese twists on Continental fare. As a result, the menu retains most of the favorites that have made it a popular destination with resort guests, while adding many new creations. Hashimoto, a thirtysomething Hawaiian-born chef of Japanese ancestry, is a protégé of Alex Stratta. He cooked with Stratta at his namesake restaurant at Wynn and at Renoir at the Mirage, and worked his way up the ranks. Hashimoto is bringing something new to the table altogether, in part thanks to his having worked in a French kitchen. If he comes by your table, he might insist you start a multicourse meal, known as kaiseki in Japanese, with his exquisite heirloom-tomato tofu salad. The dish is good enough to dispel any qualms you may have about trying a tofu dish, but if you're still hesitant, try the chef's off -menu salad crowned with crunchy salmon skin as a brilliant alternative. One of Hashimoto's new creations is king crab Napoleon, cleverly layered with thinly sliced jicama. Another cold course to try is the sushi bar's soft-shell-crab hand roll, the soft, yielding meat protruding out from a sea of tangy rice. The most highly prized item on the menu is toro, or fatty tuna belly. One of Okada's specialties is robatayaki (the term is used to describe charcoal-grilled delicacies served on long wooden skew- ers). Hashimoto has added to the robata menu: Big-eye tuna tsukune, for instance, a dish normally made with ground chicken, substitutes ground tuna instead. He's also introduced five-spice-cured duck along with several other original dishes; organic jidori chicken is especially delicious. Ditto the bacon-wrapped asparagus and Korean-style pork belly brushed with an unctuous chili sauce. As in all Wynn restaurants, several vegan options are available. One is sushi with Japanese eggplant pickle, a royal purple vegetable with texture similar to a rare steak. Another is the fried vegetable roll with vegan tempura sauce. Five vegetables—asparagus, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato and kabocha, a Japanese pumpkin—go into this dish. Hashimoto has added a slew of hot entrées to Okada's menu, as well. Okada "Oscar" is a riff on the classic veal Oscar, here made with crab, béarnaise sauce and asparagus but with an Asian twist. The chef's béarnaise employs wasabi and shiso, giving it a faint green tinge, and tender Angus beef tenderloin replaces the veal, along with tempura king crab. An unusual option is the Japanese pancake okonomiyaki, a specialty of Hiroshima. Hashimoto makes a highly fanciful version with three dif- ferent sauces, using chunks of scallop, cuttlefi sh and shrimp in the bat- ter. He has also created a Japanese-style lamb dish of Colorado lamb chops with a red miso glaze, dusted with sesame seeds. It's crazy good. For all Okada has going for it, it seems an embarrassment of riches that the pastry chef from Alex, Jennifer Fournier (formerly Witte), is creating sweets here. The green tea crème brûlée and candied ginger nougat are both so good, the competition might as well pack it in right here and now. We shouldn't forget that everyone who dines at Okada has access to the hundreds of wines in the Wynn cellars, several types of sake and a riot of frothy imported beers. Okada has truly arrived. ■ WYNN 113 PHOTOGRAPH BY SABIN ORR

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