Why We Don’t Serve “All You Can Eat” Sushi

Kai's special sushi plate at Osaka Japanese Bistro

Osaka Japanese Bistro has been part of the Las Vegas food scene for over 50 years. And, all that time, we haven’t offered an “all you can eat” sushi menu, even though we know that’s a popular choice among some diners. We brought the first Japanese food to Las Vegas back in 1967 and we still serve an extensive, authentic Japanese menu. We make more sushi in Vegas than just about anyone, catering sushi for many local events as well as providing quality sushi to casino-resort buffets and restaurants. And of course, we serve a wide selection of top quality fresh sushi in our own restaurants in Las Vegas and Henderson.  So what gives? Why don’t we also offer “all you can eat” sushi, too?

We Can Beat “All You Can Eat”

Here are 4 reasons why at Osaka we don’t offer “all you can eat” sushi on our menu:

1. Osaka Japanese Bistro Serves Only the Freshest Fish

Osaka is proud to serve the freshest fish in Las Vegas. We have cultivated and developed relationships that bring us the best selection of fish from Japan, including seasonal delicacies and hard-to-find varieties. We take pride in using only fresh caught fish in our sushi, delivering rich, fresh taste and quality that set Osaka apart from the rest.

On the other hand, an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant requires purchasing fish in bulk and then freezing it to have large quantities available for producing less costly and faster sushi plates. Once frozen, fish loses its delicate, fresh texture and taste.  And, research shows that besides affecting the texture, freezing can also increase the bacterial content of the fish, which, if followed by improper handling, can lead to illness. When fish is frozen, it loses water and most of the soluble minerals and vitamins. Compromising quality for quantity is not in our DNA, so we stick with the best fish available and prepare it fresh at its peak. If that means serving less sushi, then we are ok with that. Our customers agree and return again and again, excited to see what fresh, new taste might be available each time they visit.

2. We Serve the Better Cuts of Fish

fresh cut sashimi swith lemon and cucumber at Osaka

All you can eat establishments use the whole fish to be able to produce large quantities of sushi at a minimal cost. It is no secret that customers tend to eat or order more of all-you-can-eat, yet the price is usually held to a reasonable level to attract new customers. Since the cost of doing business is important for any establishment, low price and high volume make it necessary for the restaurant to find ways to save money on the ingredients it uses.

At Osaka, our expert, our trained sushi staff carefully select the best cuts of fish in order to deliver the highest quality and consistently perfect sushi to the taste of our discriminating clientele. We have many regular customers who know sushi well and can attest to the quality of the sushi platters served to them. They have their favorite dishes and know they will get the same high quality dish every time they order it. Osaka prefers to stay one cut above and not have to compromise on the quality of the fish we use.

3. Seasonal Availability of Sushi Specialties

Osaka Japanese restaurant Tokujyo nigiri plate

Osaka’s sushi bar is the home of variety and rare dishes. Its menu reflects the restaurant’s focus on offering its clients not just the freshest, but also hard to get, fish species. Osaka’s ability to find and prepare the most interesting and new varieties of sushi has made it home to many local and visiting sushi connoisseurs. Specializing in seasonal varieties and testing new flavors and recipes doesn’t work well in an all you can eat situation, so you won’t find all you can eat specials at Osaka.

Instead, at Osaka, we pride ourselves on our wide and changing menu of sushi, as well as other traditional Japanese dishes. Most all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants settle for a fixed menu that is inexpensive, fast and easy to prepare. That is not our style at all. Some fish species are so rare and hard to find that their price will be higher, and we do pass that along to our customers. But these savvy customers know an extraordinary sushi-eating experience, and they are happy to pay a little more for excellence and the chance to taste a rarely available delicacy prepared by Japan-trained sushi masters.

Certain varieties of fish are only available on a short-term seasonal basis. Just look at a few of the daily specials we prepared one day last fall:

Osaka daily sushi menu board sushi specials

4. Expertise and Care in Sushi Preparation

Besides variety, Osaka prides itself on making authentic, high quality sushi, that we think is the tastiest, freshest and the best sushi in Las Vegas.  Our sushi chefs are trained in Japan, and have years of training and practice. Along with their knowledge of preparing fresh sushi to the highest standards, they have a flair for creativity, style and presentation. Osaka takes pride in its skill at the best sushi-making methods and recipes, and passes this along as a great sushi-eating experience for all its restaurant customers and in its sushi catering business as well. But this high quality and careful preparation means no corners can be cut, making ours an unsuitable place for all you can eat sushi.

Only the Best Quality Sushi is Available at Osaka Japanese Bistro

sushi spring roll fresh sushi from Osaka

A complete focus on quality is why Osaka does not serve all-you-can-eat sushi. Altering selection, ingredients or preparation to accommodate the needs of an all-you-can-eat menu in our opinion is a compromise of quality, taste, and presentation of the food. Our sushi chefs esteem their customers too highly to serve pre-made foods or ones that compromise quality over quantity. We serve only fresh sushi at our restaurants, made to order for each individual customer, just as our founders did years ago, and we take pride in doing so.

Forget “All You Can Eat” and Eat the Best Handmade Sushi at Osaka

Osaka Japanese Bistro is an award winning, family-owned Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas that is well loved among local Las Vegans and tourists alike. Not a few local dignitaries, celebrities and entertainers have made Osaka their night-time spot for a great meal and a good time over the years. Our tasty sushi menu features regular flavors and seasonal delicacies with a selection of sushi rolls, mouth-watering nigiri and fresh sashimi. You won’t find all you can eat, but you can eat all you want at our friendly sushi bar, or enjoy sushi as a complement to your meal at a table or in a traditional tatami room.  Stop by either of our two locations, the original Osaka Japanese Bistro on Sahara Avenue off the Las Vegas Strip or visit Osaka Henderson in Green Valley and taste the difference for yourself.

Celebrate the New Year with Osaka Japanese Bistro

Las Vegas’ Best Japanese Restaurant Off Strip Shares Japanese New Year Traditions

Teappan lobster on the grill with vegetables

No matter how you celebrate the New Year, some traditions are universal. Like the holidays in America, Japanese New Year is about spending time with loved ones to show them how much they’re cherished. It’s also a time to enjoy ancient ritual customs designed to start the New Year off in the best way. And, of course, it involves lots of food and fun.

At Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas, we combine traditional Japanese food and drink with fun and great service every day of the year. To celebrate the New Year, like our ancestors, we enjoy the Japanese philosophy of combining merriment with meaning. If you have not lived in or traveled to Japan, here are a few Japanese New Year traditions that natives enjoy:

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New

Japanese temple bells on the wall ringing for new year celebration

Perhaps the most solemn of all the Japanese New Year’s traditions is the ringing of the bells on New Year’s Eve. These are typically done from within the Buddhist temples. The bells ring 108 times. That number represents the 108 common human sins, according to Buddhist tradition. Visitors may be invited to ring the bells after the original 108 tolls are finished. This privilege symbolically purifies visitors and listeners of those sins as they head into the new year.

Bonfires and Fireworks

Colorful firework over abstract beautiful temple in japanese style celebrate new year at night time

A festive bonfire is a gathering place for fellowship, as well as a gathering place to bring everyone together before heading out to other traditional New Year’s Day activities — going to temple or church just after midnight (hatsumode), and/or staying up to watch the sun rise. Modern Japanese enjoy fireworks much as people do around the world which may take the place of the traditional bonfire gathering.

Once you’ve finally gone to sleep, don’t forget to make note of your first dream of the New Year, known as hatsuyume. This dream is considered an omen of the things to come for the year. So if you’re the type who can “pre-program” your dreams, try to see a hawk, eggplant or Mt. Fuji in your night visions — all are auspicious!

Japanese New Year Delicacies

Osaka japanese restaurant sashimi plate

Of course, food plays a big role in the celebration of the New Year. Small delicacies collectively known as Osechi Ryori, are an important New Year’s tradition. These bite-sized treats can be sweet, sour or savory. Sushi and sashimi are often included, as are the sticky rice cakes known as mochi. In fact, a traditional New Year’s tabletop decoration, Kagami Mochi, involves balancing an orange over two mochi cakes.

kagami mochi cake is decorated in the New Year in Japan.

For those who don’t cook, osechi selections are often offered in Bento boxes, so that you can select items based on the needed variety (there are at least 50 traditional osechi dishes for the holiday!), as well as your number of guests.  

New Year Gift-Giving and Well-Wishing

Of course, children are often the focus of the winter holidays, and the Japanese are not immune to this indulgence. Adults traditionally give a specially-decorated envelope or card with money (otoshidama) containing up to 10,000 yen, or about $85. If there’s just one child in the family, the amount increases as the child gets older. If there are several children in the same family, the amount is the same. A Japanese child often receives otoshidama from parents, grandparents, family friends, and aunts and uncles.

Japanese children's New Year greeting card 2018 Year of the Dog

2018 is Year of the Dog

Another type of card is associated with New Year’s in Japan — nengajo. Billions  of these holiday postcards are sent in Japan alone,  with more being sent by Japanese expatriates around the world. These hand-addressed, traditional greetings, are all mailed in time to arrive on New Year’s Day.

Celebrate the New Year at Osaka Japanese Bistro

 

 

Osaka Japanese restaurant bento box lunch chicken beef sushi sashimi tempura rice and salad

Regular visitors and residents in Las Vegas know Osaka Japanese Bistro serves Vegas’ best sushi and largest authentic Japanese menu, from appetizers to fantastic desserts. Osaka is a hot spot for late night sushi fans or for a light and healhty meal after a show on the Strip or a night at the movies.

Spending Holidays in Vegas? Enjoy a Fabulous Meal on New Year’s or Any Day at Osaka Japanese Restaurant

You could say that Osaka Japanese Bistro has celebrated a few New Year’s Eves in Las Vegas. In 2017, we celebrated our 50 years in the Las Vegas area. Our two locations — just off the Strip on Sahara in Las Vegas, and in Green Valley, Henderson — are favorites of locals and visitors alike. In fact, this year, we were featured by Guy Fieri and the Food Network who enthusiastically recommended us to their viewers!

You’ll feel comfortable and at home at Osaka in our friendly, relaxed atmosphere, with different seating options to choose from, including private tatami rooms, regular Western seating and a fun teppanyaki grill experience. And of course, sushi connoisseurs and fans always enjoy the action at our lively sushi bar where our expert sushi chefs work with our huge selection of the best and freshest fish in town, to deliver delicate and delicious works of art.

Lift a glass of select Japanese beer and premium sake rice wine, or a choice of other beverages, when it’s time for those New Year’s toasts!

From sushi to nigiri and sashimi, Bento boxes to party boats, tempura to hot pot, there’s something for everyone on holidays or any day at Osaka. No matter what your holiday plans, keep in mind that we’re open 7 days a week with a special  late night menu most nights.

What was Las Vegas Like in 1967?

In Celebration of Osaka’s 50th Anniversary: A Look Back at 1967 Vegas

Osaka Japanese Bistro is celebrating our 50th anniversary. If we could take a time machine back to that founding year, besides a hardworking young couple starting up a Japanese restaurant in the desert, what else was going on in Las Vegas?  First, meet Sam and Aiko, then take a look at the big stories out of Las Vegas in the year 1967.

Osaka Japanese Bistro on Sahara Ave Las Vegas with Best of Las Vegas banners

Sam and Aiko Nakanishi Introduce Japanese Food to Las Vegas

Sam and Aiko Nakanishi founders of Osaka Japanese Restaurant on Sahara Ave Las Vegas


In 1967, the Nakanishi family opened the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas. It was named after their hometown of Osaka, Japan and brought exotic new tastes to Las Vegas like sushi, tempura and teppanyaki, all made with the best ocean fresh fish and other select ingredients to the highest standards of Japanese cuisine. Located just off the Strip, it quickly became a hot spot, a favorite for locals, including Strip entertainers and well known businessmen, as well as tourists, who quickly learned where to go for late night sushi.

And, now, 50 years later, it’s amazing how Las Vegas has grown up around the restaurant, still at its original location on West Sahara just off the Strip. From Las Vegas Boulevard to the suburbs, Osaka’s founders and early guests would barely recognize the place now.

For fun, let’s take a nostalgic look back at our founding year, 1967, and see what was happening in Las Vegas.

A Wild Year in Las Vegas History

1967 Opens with a Bang

cartoon explosion "bang"

The year 1967 started out with a bang in Las Vegas when, on January 7, an unhappy army deserter fired into a pile of dynamite constituting a homemade bomb, killing his wife and six others and completely destroying the Orbit Inn Motel in Downtown Las Vegas. The shocking event made headlines in town and across the country for weeks. Once again, wild and lawless Las Vegas earned its legendary reputation.

The Real Elvis Wedding

Cartoon Elvis Presley

Probably the event that got the most buzz in 1967 was the wedding of Elvis and Priscilla Presley on May 1, 1967. Elvis Presley, the highest paid entertainer in the world at that time, married his bride, Priscilla Anne Beaulieu, at the Aladdin, a place that made the sensational event seem even more like a magic carpet ride. The ceremony, needless to say, was the “talk of the town” and pretty much every other major city in America and all around the world. To this day, an “Elvis wedding” is still a tourist favorite in Las Vegas.

Siegfried & Roy Open a Magical Act in Las Vegas

Black and White tiger drawing

The legendary duo Siegfried & Roy first opened their exotic magic and wild animal act at the Tropicana in 1967. The two-man act packed their show nightly and became world famous. Their success in Las Vegas helped open doors for other performers, including a number of now famous magician and illusionist acts, and helped transform the Las Vegas Strip into a world class entertainment and family-friendly destination. All of Las Vegas was saddened when the act was forced to close in 2003 after Roy was seriously mauled by one of his beloved tigers, but their legacy is still felt in the spectacular entertainment choices available up and down the Strip today.

The Las Vegas Marathon Begins its Run

Drawing of marathon runner breaking through finish line ribbon

The Las Vegas Marathon hit the ground running in 1967, and remains one of the oldest ongoing marathons in the US today. While that first marathon attracted fewer than 100 runners, today, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon is a world-class event that attracts the best runners in the world and tens of thousands of serious participants. Of course, in the spirit of Las Vegas, there are always lots of fun costumes, including plenty of Elvi, and many opportunities for selfies along the beautiful Las Vegas Strip. This year’s marathon on November 12 was an emotional and heartwarming event paying tribute to #vegasstrong for the survivors and heroes of the October 1 mass shooting on the Strip.

Evel Knievel Bombs Out

Close up retro helmet with goggles vintage style

Before social media and YouTube, there was one crazy daredevil, Evel Knievel, and of course, one crazy place, Las Vegas. To many people, Knievel exemplified the free, energetic and risk-taking spirit of the people that literally turned a desert into a thriving oasis, so this was a natural place for him to attempt one of his crazier stunts. On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1967, Evel Knievel made a much anticipated and well-publicized attempt to jump over the very expansive water fountains at Caesar’s Palace on a Triumph Bonneville T120 motorcycle. Actually, the jump would have been successful but, due to insufficient speed at takeoff and some other slight miscalculations, Mr. Knievel ended up with some broken bones, lots of bruises and an interesting story to tell. Like a lot of Las Vegas tourists, you could say.

Osaka Japanese Bistro Then and Now

While Sam and Aiko were very busy in 1967 and probably missed many of these big events of that year, we stop for just a minute this year, 2017, to celebrate our half century in Las Vegas.

During these last 50 years, a lot has changed, but much has not. Now in the second generation of passionate family ownership, Gene Nakanishi, son of founders Sam and Aiko, took over the business in the 1990’s. Keeping his parents successful model of serving only the freshest authentic Japanese cuisine, prepared by expert chefs trained in Japan, Gene has expanded on their legacy by adding a Henderson restaurant location, where he also offers a bit of his own personal passion, live jazz music performance evenings.

band playing during jazz evening at Osaka in Henderson, NV

 

And, seeing that demand for Osaka’s delicious selection of choice sushi is never ending, Gene has expanded Osaka’s legendary sushi offerings into the biggest sushi catering operation in the Las Vegas Valley. Always appreciated by loyal Las Vegas patrons, Osaka has been listed 20 times on the “Best of Las Vegas” list and won an international award as one of the top 50 Japanese restaurants in the world.

Kai's Special sushi roll on plate from Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas

Osaka Bistro has grown and thrived thanks in good part to the dedication of our talented sushi, teppan and kitchen chefs and their staffs, our hardworking hosts and hostesses, our office staff who keep things up and running, and our dedicated sushi catering crew.

Osaka chefs

 

And of course we owe a lot of thanks to our many thousands of customers, whether they live, work or visit in Las Vegas. This is truly a unique and special community to be part of, and we hope to keep cooking for Las Vegas and Henderson for at least another 50 years to come.

 

Favorite Japanese Holiday Foods

Anyone who has traveled to Japan, or eaten in an authentic Japanese restaurant knows that the Japanese enjoy a rich, diverse and carefully prepared cuisine. In a country with thousands of years of history and many different regions, each with their own style and specialty dishes, many dishes have long cultural significance. Like most people, the Japanese associate certain foods with family occasions, holidays or festivals. Here are a few special Japanese dishes that are associated with important days on the Japanese calendar.

Japanese New Year’s Favorite: Osechi Ryori

A traditional mix of Japanese New Year's foods called Osechi Ryori.

Oshogatsu (New Year) is the most significant day of the year in Japan. Celebrated on January 1 and usually extended a few days into the new year, Oshogatsu is a time to celebrate and contemplate the New Year. It’s a day when people usually return home to be with their families and gather at the shrines to greet the gods.

On New Year’s Eve, families prepare osechi ryori, a special meal that includes a variety of foods, including dishes like sweet rolled omelet, fish cake with salmon roe, candied sardines, daikon and carrot salad, smashed chestnut and sweet potato paste, and simmered chicken and vegetables. These are prepared in advance to avoid cooking during the first three days of the year according to custom, so they are often vinegared or sugared to keep during that period.

Springtime: Hinamatsuri and Chirashi Zushi

Chirashi sushi bowl

Chirashi

Hinamatsuri or Girl’s Day in Japan, is celebrated each year on March 3rd. It is one of several ancient annual celebrations that go back over a thousand years.  The day is dedicated to girl children and features the display of ornamental dolls representing the Emperor, Empress and their royal court. Hinamatsuri celebrations feature their own traditional dishes with some variety based on the region of Japan. Sushi is usually part of the meal, as well as hishi-mochi, or diamond-shaped rice cakes colored in spring colors representing fertility and good health. as well as hamaguri-zushi which is a small rice ball wrapped in a thin omelet shell, giving it a clam-like shape. Chirashi-sushi is a collection of colorful sushi usually in colors of yellow, green, white and pink.

A Spring Ritual: Cherry Blossoms, Sakura Mochi, Onigiri and Miso

Sakuramochi, japanese confectionery wrapped in a preserved cherry on white background.

Hanami or Cherry blossom festival is one of the most popular holidays celebrated in Japan. The whole country stops work to enjoy and celebrate the blossoming of the cherry trees, called sakura. Most of the parks open their gates for families who hold their parties below the trees. The Hanami celebration includes preparing homemade foods, including onigiri (rice balls wrapped in seaweed), miso (bean paste) and sakura mochi (preserved cherry sweets). Bento meals may also accompany the family  as they picnic among the blossoming cherry trees. The meal may also be supplemented with sake or even a tea ceremony with special teaware and a blend of organically grown sakura, green and black teas.

And, then, there’s KFC for Christmas

In a country whose 99% of the population is non-Christian, the secular side of Western Christmas has been widely adopted and is celebrated with decorations and gift giving. American fried chicken icon, KFC, played a part in the popularization of Christmas. And now, each year, it seems locals can’t get enough of KFC chicken. “Kentucky for Christmas”, a 1974 marketing campaign in Japan introduced KFC, and a holiday tradition took off from there. Today on Christmas, the locals make long queues at KFC or even order in advance to escape the waiting time.

End the Year with Toshikoshi Soba

Japanese toshikoshi Soba noodle ramen in ceramic bowl, Japanese food

At the end of each year, Japanese make sure to have a meal of soba noodles in a dish called toshikoshi soba. The custom can be traced to the Edo period when it is believed to have started at one Buddhist temple that fed soba to poor people to celebrate the coming of the New Year.  Because noodles are easy to cut when chewing, a dish of soba noodles symbolizes the end to the hardships the Japanese people had to undergo as they labored all year round, and it let’s them start the New Year fresh.

To make toshikoshi soba, the soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat flour, are cooked with a blend of soy sauce, mirin and sugar, and then garnishing using onion. The mixture is then heated over a flame until the broth simmers. Once ready, it gets apportioned and served in bowls.

Japanese Pancakes: Enjoy Okonomiyaki Year Round

Japanese food okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a savory version of the Japanese pancake prepared using a variety of ingredients. The dish originated in Osaka but is now popular everywhere and enjoyed year round The term okonomiyaki in Japan means ‘grilled how you like it.’  While Okonomiyaki are enjoyed during matsuri, or festivals, they are popular year round. There are even restaurants that specialize in okonomiyaki where patrons can select and mix their own ingredients. Normally, okonomiyaki is prepared by blending flour, eggs, cabbage, pork belly slices or meat, and then decorated with a variety of toppings for an excellent flavor. Great chefs and homemakers all love to come up with new combinations and topping ideas for this versatile pancake which is also a great way to use up leftovers.

For Your Holiday Celebrations Enjoy Authentic Japanese Food with Osaka

WIth one of the biggest and most authentic Japanese food menus in Las Vegas, Osaka Japanese Bistro offers an extensive selection of Japanese dining for every taste and event. Whether you want to celebrate New Year’s with a late night sushi party or a birthday with a Teppanyaki feast, springtime with a fresh chirashi sushi bowl, or just enjoy the taste of homemade Japanese food like okonomiyaki or a steaming bowl of tasty chicken udon, stop by either of our locations open late in Las Vegas and Henderson and step into a festival of delicious food.

These 5 Common Sushi Myths Will Surprise You

Smiling woman eating sushi with chopsticks in Japanese restaurant

Sushi is an exotic delicacy, and more and more Americans have fallen in love with its unique flavor profile. Yet despite its popularity, most people know few facts about sushi and because of that gap, myths abound on the do’s and dont’s of sushi as well as other assumptions. Even though it’s become wildly popular, many Americans aren’t sure what to believe when it comes to sushi.

These five common sushi myths will catch you by surprise!

Five Surprising Sushi Myths

Osaka sushi roll on plate avocado

Myth: With sushi, the fish is all that matters.

Fact: Good sushi is a marriage of perfectly prepared ingredients. Of course, the quality and handling of the fish is extremely important to good sushi. But the rice, seasoning, sauces, and garnishes play a critical role, too!  The mix of flavors, expert preparation, even the presentation determine the quality of sushi. A top-notch sushi chef is an expert in selecting the perfect ingredients that bring out nuanced and delicious flavors in one another.

Myth: All sushi is raw fish.

Fact: The term “sushi” actually refers to the specially-prepared rice. Sushi rice is usually vinegared and seasoned with a little salt and sugar. In fact, many sushi rolls contain cooked fish, or no fish at all. Sushi can feature other meats or even be completely vegetarian (try a cucumber roll!). The term “sashimi” refers to raw fish that is thinly sliced.

Myth: All sushi is expensive.

Fact: Sushi prices vary widely. The price of a sushi roll depends on many different factors, including the skill it takes to put it together, the cut and species of fish, and how rare the specific ingredients might be. Sushi restaurants typically include lower-priced rolls as well as high-end delicacies on the menu. Whatever your budget, you can enjoy fresh, delicious, artfully prepared sushi rolls.

Kai's Special sushi roll on plate from Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas

Myth: Sushi must be paired with sake.

Fact: Sake and sushi is not a traditional pairing. Sake is made from fermented rice, which traditionally is not considered a good match with rice-heavy sushi. However, contemporary sushi restaurants offer many kinds of sake, several of which go great with sushi – just ask your waiter. If sake isn’t your “cup of tea,”  you can also pair sushi with beer or wine. Speaking of tea, you may want to simply order green tea with your sushi. Green tea helps to clean the palate between bites to sharpen your enjoyment of each bite of sushi.

Myth: Only get sushi on the day a fresh shipment comes in.

Fact: Same-day fresh is not ideal! The perfect fish for sushi is slightly aged. Sushi chefs specialize in serving fish at the perfect time. That means that the fish you are served may have been aged for a day or two to bring out its best flavor and texture. Shipments are timed so that fish are ready to serve any day of the week. So don’t worry about timing your meal – any day of the week will work perfectly!

Enjoy Top Sushi in Las Vegas

tables along the window at Osaka Bistro in Henderson, NV

Las Vegas hosts some of the best restaurants in the country – and sushi is no different! Osaka Japanese Bistro, the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas, features a legendary sushi menu. Located on Sahara Ave just off the Las Vegas Strip and also in Henderson, Osaka’s  has been the top sushi restaurant choice for Las Vegans for decades.  It’s the ideal choice for an authentic Japanese dining experience, or for catering your Las Vegas event, food service or business. Come on in and learn more about sushi as you chat with our expert sushi chefs and enjoy a great sushi experience.

The Best Fish for Sushi

The freshness of the fish is the key to the best sushi. Great sushi restaurants rely on fish that goes directly on ice once it is caught in the ocean. This keeps the fish fresh and safe for shipping. What kind of fish is used can vary, but of course some are more familiar than others. Here are seven popular sushi fish, all of which you can find in delicious sushi rolls at Osaka Japanese Bistro.

Seven Sushi Fish Favorites

Fresh fish in white tiger sushi from Osaka Japanese Restaurant

  • Hamachi (Yellowtail): Also known as Japanese Amberjack, yellowtail is a fatty fish with a mild flavor that is perfect for someone who is new to sushi.
  • Shake (Salmon): People love the deep, rich color of salmon. Its flavor makes it a favorite among sushi buffs and it is loaded with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Saba (Mackerel): This is for the more sushi lovers who don’t mind a more “fishy” smell and flavor. Saba is often cured for several hours in vinegar and salt before serving.
  • Hirame (Halibut): This is a more lean fish, so the rich flavor usually surprises and delights people. Halibut can be chilled on ice before serving or it can be prepared through a process called kobijume, which involves grilling it on the outside and then dunking the fish in ice.
  • Bintoro (Albacore Tuna): This fish lives in warmer water than many other varieties of tuna, which contributes to it smooth texture and delicate meat.
  • Tai (Red Snapper): This white-meat fish is another safe bet if you are new to sushi. It has a very mild flavor and is popular at sushi bars year-round.
  • Unagi (Freshwater Eel): This is usually a grilled form of sushi brushed with soy sauce. Freshwater eel is a fatty fish that is packed with vitamin B.

For the More Adventurous Sushi Lover

Sashimi plate with decorative dried fish

Sashimi plate

  • Ika (Squid): Many people avoid squid because of the tentacles, but the firm texture and rich flavor should not be missed.
  • Uni (Sea Urchin): Sea urchin’s flavor is described as sweet and delicious, and it combines well with many other flavors of sushi.
  • Kurage (Jellyfish): People with the courage to try jellyfish are often surprised to find that is their “new favorite” sushi. The texture actually has a slight crunch which is unexpected.
  • Akagai (Surf Clams): Clams make a soft and chewy sushi. They are usually served in a beautiful flower pattern.
  • Iwashi (Sardine): Sardines are difficult to find fresh, so they are considered a delicacy in a sushi setting.

Selecting Fish for Sushi at Home

Young amberjack fish or buri fish in Japan is hamachi fish frozen in ice from fishery market

Many people enjoy making sushi at home. If you do give this a try, just like in restaurant sushi, the freshness of the fish you use is very important. Here are some tips on having the best and safest sushi-making experience.

  • Never eat freshwater fish raw. You always want sushi that is ocean-caught or responsibly farmed, to avoid parasites.
  • Look for “sushi-grade” fish. This means that the fish was caught, bled and gutted, and then frozen directly on the boat. Fish needs to be frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for seven days, or at -35 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 hours (flash frozen) in order to kill known parasites.
  • If you buy fresh fish, try to serve it the same day that it is purchased. Ideally, you will want to buy fish that is still swimming in a tank; specialty markets will carry “live” sushi fish that is in season.
  • If a fish has cloudy eyes or feels mushy when you press a finger against it, don’t use it for sushi. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • If you want to use any type of shellfish for sushi, make sure the shells are intact. A cracked shell can lead to the meat spoiling much quicker.

Osaka Japanese Bistro Sushi

The sushi fish at Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas are selected fresh daily. We have long-standing relationships with some of the best suppliers in the region. Osaka has been in business for 50 years and we know you will love our fresh sashimi, nigiri and local specialty rolls! Stop by one of our Las Vegas or Henderson locations and enjoy a great sushi experience.

Traditional Favorite Japanese Foods

What are the Foods that Japanese Eat at Home?

Japanese are known to have one of the world’s longest life expectancies,and they have very few case of obesity which contributes to health problems. Japanese women live an average 87 years with men following closely at 80 years. The longevity of the Japanese people is mainly attributed to their healthy diet which is largely made up of fish, vegetables, and plants. One defining quality is that Japanese cuisine emphasizes quality and not quantity.

Traditional and popular Japanese foods for sale in food market in Tokyo, Japan.

The Japanese eat food in moderation and with a lot of variety. Eating lots of different foods is a natural way to get the benefits of a balanced diet. For example, a typical Japanese meal is comprised of 1 soup, 3 side dishes, and a main dish. Japanese often practice the rule to eat until you are 80% full and then stop. Their cuisine and dining focus on the beautiful presentation of food, encouraging people to eat with their eyes. And, chopsticks, unlike the Western fork, tend to slow the eating process, as food is lifted to the mouth in smaller bites, delivering more taste and enjoyment.  All these habits help the Japanese maintain healthy eating habits.

These are the seven pillars of the typical Japanese meal:

  • Rice
  • Noodles (ramen, soba, somen, and udon)
  • Vegetable including sea vegetables and daikon radish
  • Soy (soy sauce, tofu, miso,edamame)
  • Fish such as salmon, mackerel
  • Green tea
  • Fruits, like tangerine, persimmons and Fuji grapes
Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Some of the most common types of dishes served in Japanese cuisine are:

Noodles

Noodles are a standard component of Japanese meals and can either be taken cold or hot depending on the season. There are different types of noodles and their mode of preparation differ depending on the kind of accompaniment.

Rice

Osaka steamed rice

Rice is served with every Japanese meal. Daily rice served with meals is usually steamed and lightly seasoned. But, rice may be cooked in a variety of ways and served with different spices and adding delicacies to make it more nutritious. Some popular rice dishes are:

Rice bowl – mainly served at breakfast. You can mix with raw eggs and soya sauce or eat it with traditional and distinctively flavored, fermented soybean-based natto or other toppings.

Donburi –this is plain cooked rice served with some food on top. It’s found in high-end restaurants but is also common in Japanese homes and local restaurants. You can serve donburi with stewed beef (gydon), tendon, chicken and egg and katsudon.

Onigiri (rice balls) – is cooked rice wrapped in nori seaweed. You can season it lightly with salt and filling such as pickled japanese plum, dried bonito shavings or salmon. It is inexpensive and usually available in convenience food stores. You can also get it easily in general restaurants.

Curry rice – plain cooked rice with japanese curry sauce. Serve it with additional toppings to increase flavor.

Sushi – refers to any dish that contains sushi rice flavored with seasoned rice vinegar.

Fried rice – it’s also known as chahan. You can add a variety of ingredients in fried rice and the most common ones are eggs, peas, negi (green onions), pork and carrots.

Kayu – a form of porridge, deemed suitable for sick people because it is easily digestible. Make kayu by slowly cooking rice in lots of water. It’s thicker than any other rice porridge and you can garnish it with umeboshi.

Seafood dishes

grilled fish

There are a variety of seafood available in Japan from its lakes, rivers, oceans and seas. The different fish species are prepared in different ways and play a big role in Japanese cuisine. Eaten as a staple in most Japanese households, fish may be prepared boiled, deep fried, steamed or grilled.

The most preferred variety is yakizakana, or grilled fish. Fish that can be prepared this way are saba, sweet fish(ayu), sea bream, aje, salmon and mackerel pike. You may also enjoy seafood raw, as long as it’s fresh and prepared correctly. A special art and not commonly prepared at home, raw fish is frequently enjoyed as a treat in specialty sushi restaurants, in the form of sushi, sashimi, nigiri and chirashi.

Vegetables

Apart from the predominance of seafood in the Japanese diet, vegetables play a large part in their diet. Commonly, these vegetables are simmered in dashi broth (the base for miso soup) , steamed, simply boiled or sautéed. They may be served with soy sauce or mayonnaise.

Edamame at Osaka Japanese Restaurant

Edamame

Beverages

Most Japanese meals are accompanied with green tea. During warmer months, meals are served with mugicha (cold barley tea). Beer and sake are alcoholic drinks that may be served with dinner.

Dessert

Sweet Japanese-style cakes with fruits and cream.

The most common dessert includes rice cakes, sweet beans, sweet rice cakes, frozen treats, and gelatins. Manju, for example, is a confection made of a filling of sweetened red bean paste and a chewy outside skin made of flour, rice powder and buckwheat.

Japanese cuisine is very varied and highly refined over centuries of Japanese culture. In a culture that values simplicity, beauty, good health and moderation, no wonder the Japanese cuisine is one of the world’s healthiest and most admired. Whether you have the opportunity to try native Japanese cuisine in Japan, or visit an authentic Japanese restaurant near you, like the original Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas, we hope that you will get to know and enjoy a variety of Japanese foods.

 

Family-Friendly Japanese Restaurant in Las Vegas

The answer to your family’s question:  “is there a great Japanese restaurant near me?”

Osaka Japanese restaurant Tokujyo nigiri plate

Visiting or living in Las Vegas? Looking for a family-friendly Japanese restaurant? You just can’t beat the one that’s been in town the longest: Osaka Japanese Bistro.

Popular Japanese restaurant Osaka is a long-time local favorite, open late and, with two central locations, easy to find. With its lively sushi bar and extensive menu of authentic Japanese dishes, Osaka’s is a place where everyone from local politicians to Strip entertainers may be seen from time to time. But it’s the homey, relaxed atmosphere and seemingly endless choice of dishes that also make Osaka a family-friendly destination any day, for lunch or dinner. For kids, Osaka’s can be a delicious way to explore Japanese culture through cuisine.

Looking for authentic Japanese? This is it. The Asahi Shukan, Japan’s largest weekly magazine, named Osaka among the 50 top Japanese restaurants. Osaka is the only restaurant outside of Japan to win a spot on the list.

Japanese Cuisine for Every Member of the Family

Beef Teriyaki boat with salad, sushi and tempura vegetables

The Nakanishi family, founders and now second generation owners, pride themselves on offering a truly authentic and very extensive selection of Japanese dishes. There are so many dishes that it can be hard to choose. (This is one of the many reasons locals return to Osaka Japanese Bistro again and again.) At Osaka Japanese restaurant, there really is something for everyone on a menu that features more than 30 appetizers and over 75 different sushi rolls.

Are your kids picky eaters? Most kids love noodle soup – they can chow down on a big steaming bowl of udon or soba noodles. With it’s sweet taste, teriyaki unagi over rice is another choice destined to please a young palate. And, there’s a Karate Kids menu section at the teppanyaki grill. Appetizers? Why not order squid fingers – breaded and fried squid slices with our special honey sauce.

More Dining Adventure With Osaka Japanese Dishes

Daring young adventurers might like to sample a plate of sushi or gobble up a plate of gyoza (choice of steamed or fried).

Osaka Japanese restaurant gyoza plate with sushi side

For non-meat eaters, there’s the Vegetarian Special. Its array of edamame, veggie sushi, and vegetable tempura makes it a great choice for family-style sharing. Our hot pots (choose from shabu shabu, sukiyaki or yosenabe) are also meant to be shared. Each comes with Napa cabbage, carrots and leeks, tofu, bamboo, shiitake mushrooms, and rice noodles.

For sushi lovers there are traditional, original and local favorite sushi varieties to enjoy, like Something Wrong, Pocket Aces, Oh My God, Rock & Roll, Kamikaze, and Banzai! Try the Tokyo Express, or ask for the Chef’s recommendation. Each creation is the work of a sushi artist who loves his work and delivers the freshest and most delicate sushi flavors in town.

Time for dessert? Osaka offers an extensive dessert menu, including mochi ice cream, a kids’ favorite. These ice cream dessert balls—including fruit flavors like mango—are wrapped in rice dough and chilled. Or give a try to Osaka’s signature tempura ice cream.

Treat the Kids to an Authentic Tatami Room or Teppanyaki Grill Experience

Japanese hibachi grill or teppanyaki chef in front of flaming grill

Depending on how your family is feeling, choose from a number of dining settings. Kids love taking off their shoes and spreading out in a tatami room experience. Dining on the floor somehow makes the food just a bit more exotic for first timers, so let the kids get a taste of tradition with their own tatami mat experience.

For an exciting dining option, check out the teppanyaki (hibachi style) grill experience. Your very own, specially trained teppan chef will prepare freshly grilled meats, seafood and vegetables in a flaming display of artistry and flavor. This is a great way to celebrate a birthday, graduation or other special event, or just to liven up a boring evening. Call ahead to reserve a table as these experiences go fast.

Of course, every sushi lover enjoys the sushi bar where you can watch Las Vegas’ freshest sushi being prepared by expert sushi chefs before your eyes. Nothing beats freshly rolled sushi. The whole family will enjoy selecting new flavors and admiring the delicious, creative and artistic presentations as the sushi arrives.

For families in a hurry or just looking for a great meal, you can opt for regular, western table seating, too. You’ll get the same warm and helpful service and be able to pick from a number of extensive menus to get just what you’re craving.

Whatever style you choose, our mood is relaxed, laid-back, familiar, and perfect for family outings. Our original location on Sahara has been around a long time, since 1967. We love it for the history and memories, and we think it is now broken in just enough to really allow the food to take center stage and deliver a fantastic dining experience to all who visit us.

tatami room at Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas

A Staff on a Mission to Delight You

Most of the professionals at Osaka have been here for many years. Everybody’s happy you’ve come and that you’re bringing the kids. So take a break from the Las Vegas tourist scene and go where those in the know go.

If you have young children, you might find that an early visit works better for you. Lunch at Osaka is an exceptional family-friendly value, running throughout the afternoon.

After the kids have gone to bed and you fancy a small bite, check out the late night menu. An impressive number of Asian beers are always available. Try a hot sake or house wine from our selection.

Just too busy to get out of the house? You can also order online through our delivery service.

Locations on West Sahara and now in Henderson

Patrons are invited to visit both of our locations, each with its own distinct atmosphere. In Las Vegas, the original Osaka, on West Sahara Ave. (under the miniature Statue of Liberty) isn’t far from the Strip. It’s also a short drive from Summerlin and most Las Vegas neighborhoods.  Get a taste of “classic” Las Vegas with our original architecture and location, as well as some memories of past times that line our walls.

Our Henderson restaurant, an easy drive from the South Valley, is our newest addition. Light and open with room to enjoy art and evenings with live jazz, our Henderson restaurant is a fun experience for all ages.

Either way, expect to be treated with the best, authentic Japanese sushi and food in Las Vegas, a treat for the entire family.

Looking for Best Restaurants in Las Vegas? Osaka is Still the Place to Be!

Sushi roll from Osaka Japanese BistroFounded in 1967 by native Las Vegan Sam Nakanishi, Osaka Japanese Bistro was Las Vegas’ first Japanese restaurant. As a great new option in a town with few ethnic food restaurants, Osaka’s fresh, healthy food and authentic Japanese atmosphere made it the place to be for local notables and regular folks as well. Today, fans agree Osaka remains among the best restaurants in Las Vegas.  Run today by Sam’s son, Gene Nakanishi, Osaka has earned recognition from diners and critics alike for the quality and freshness of its ingredients as well as the diversity and variety of its menu. The restaurant’s award-winning sushi chef, Shingo “Shin” Aihara, leads a team of talented Japanese-trained chefs in creating a memorable and delicious dining experience that qualifies Osaka to take its place in the ranks of Las Vegas best restaurants.

Award Winning Japanese Cuisine in Las Vegas

Under the leadership of Aihara, a one-time National Sushi Competition Adjudicator in Japan, Osaka has Best of Las Vegas banners hanging on the entrance to Osaka Japanese Bistro on West Sahara in Las Vegasbeen recognized and acclaimed by food critics and diners around the world as one of the best Las Vegas restaurants. The Asahi Shukan, Japan’s largest and longest-circulating weekly magazine, named Osaka among the 50 best Japanese restaurants in the world – the only restaurant outside of Japan included on the list. Famed internationally, Osaka is well-known and well-loved by locals as well. Both the Las Vegas and Henderson locations are favorite spots for a tasty lunch or a great late-night dining experience. The local newspaper, the Las Vegas Review Journal, has awarded its readers’ choice “Best of Las Vegas” honor to Osaka 20 times.

Large and Delicious Menu of Sushi and other Japanese Favorites

Authentic Japanese dish served at Osaka Japanese BistroThe basis for this enthusiastic praise rests with Osaka’s extensive and well-crafted menu and dining experience. Offering three Japanese dining styles–including a sushi bar, a teppanyaki grill and traditional tatami rooms–Osaka is designed to meet all of its diners’ Japanese food cravings. Osaka’s authentic dishes include over 30 appetizer options and 75 different sushi rolls. Befitting its stellar reputation, Aihara and his cooking staff use only the freshest ingredients based on seasonality to craft Osaka’s signature dishes, including sayori (halfbeak), awabi (live abalone), katsuo (bonita), kanpachi (rudderfish) aoyagi (live surf clams) and Blue Fin Toro. Many of these exotic ingredients are typically only found in Japan, and Osaka imports them to provide their sushi bar with the widest variety of any restaurant in Las Vegas.

Family-Owned Restaurant Serving Las Vegas for Generations

Family-run since its opening four decades ago, Osaka is not just one of the best restaurants in Las Vegas; the restaurant, its owners and its staff have also become an important staples of the local community. band playing during jazz evening at Osaka in Henderson, NVHaving participated in numerous local charity events, Osaka is also a member of the Las Vegas Host Lions Club, a community organization dedicated to promoting volunteering and community pride. The Nakanishi family carries on its tradition of quality recipes and a passion for service that has sustained the popularity of Osaka with tourists and locals alike.  Many return again and again to enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner, witness the cooking artistry at the teppan table, relax in a traditional tatami room or chat with friends at the sushi bar in a classic Las Vegas atmosphere. Patrons can choose between the historic, original restaurant location on West Sahara Ave, not far from the Strip, or to take in an evening of live jazz at the Henderson restaurant. With its excellent ingredients, authentic menu and dedication to the community, it is easy to see why Osaka Japanese Bistro has become a premier destination and holds its long-standing place among the best Las Vegas restaurants.

Teppanyaki Grill: Enjoy Japanese Barbecue with Style

Osaka Japanese Bistro Teppan GrillWe thought it would be a good time to reintroduce our customers to teppanyaki dining.  With spring and summer’s longer days coming up, our pleasantly warm Las Vegas evenings encourage people to dine out more often. Dinner at a traditional teppanyaki grill is a fun and different dining experience that is also tasty and healthy.

Teppanyaki is a Japanese-style dining experience that gives customers a front-row seat as a chef prepares their meal table-side on a sizzling iron griddle. The Japanese word “teppanyaki” is a combination of “teppan” which translates to iron plate and “yaki” which means grilled or pan-fried. Lunch or dinner at a teppan grill is a crowd-pleasing treat – a flaming onion volcano is sure to put a smile on any diner’s face – with a wide variety of entree choices from lobster tail to Kobe beef.

History of Teppanyaki Grill

While some claim that teppanyaki dates back 200 years, the Japanese restaurant chain Misono is credited with a strong hand in creating modern teppanyaki and in 2015 celebrated the 70th anniversary of their first “teppanyaki steak” served in 1945. Shigeji Fujioka opened his Misono restaurant in Kobe and his teppanyaki steak became popular among American officers stationed in Japan after the war. The foreigners enjoyed the blend of high-quality meat and watching the chef work on the teppanyaki grill. Word soon spread to celebrities and food lovers about this unique dining experience.

Teppanyaki Grill Technique

Chef cooking wagyu beef in Japanese teppanyaki restaurantThe flat, hot cooking surface is key to the flavorful preparation of Teppanyaki dishes.  Teppan grills, which are usually propane heated, can reach temperatures up to 450° C. The solid, griddle-style surface allows for the cooking of small volume ingredients ingredients such as rice, eggs and vegetables that will accompany the main meat dish, so your entire meal is prepared fresh before your eyes. Unlike a typical restaurant meal, which often cools as it is brought to the table, the teppanyaki grill allows for every bite of your meal to be hot and fresh, as you eat while the chef works by your side on his hot cooking surface. The chef prepares the entire meal table-side from soup and salad to appetizers to vegetables, rice and entrees. It takes years for teppanyaki chefs to perfect the knife work and other skills required to cook in front of customers, as well as to learn the presentation style and tricks that make the Teppanyaki an entertainment experience as well as a meal.

Teppanyaki Grill Ingredients

Teppanyaki grilled seafood plateSince teppanyaki started in Kobe, beef is front and center on the menu with diners choosing from such cuts as rib eye, New York or filet mignon. Top restaurants, including Osaka Japanese Bistro, offer certified Kobe beef from Japan. Teppanyaki, however, is not just for steak lovers as chefs also prepare chicken and pork. Seafood teppan grill may feature anything from shrimp to  jumbo sea scallops to calamari.

Teppanyaki Today

In 2006 the Japan Teppanyaki Association was formed with the aim of improving teppanyaki chef skills and promoting the dining style. The association helped implement a system of teppanyaki skills with chefs taking exams and earning certifications all the way up to Semi-Master and Master. Teppanyaki continues to evolve with chefs around the world putting their own touch on the cuisine. You can find teppanyaki grills on every continent from Dubai to Cape Town to Las Vegas.

Osaka Japanese Bistro has a long tradition of preparing teppanyaki for our guests. Teppanyaki is available at both our Las Vegas and Henderson locations. It’s a great experience for groups, so call ahead to reserve a spot and bring your friends for a fun time. With our extensive Teppan Grill menu, you can enjoy a broad range of seafood, meats and side dishes, all prepared in traditional fashion by our trained teppan chefs.  Come in tonight for a memorable meal and fun experience at our teppan grill.

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