Las Vegas has great restaurants to eat sushi. Consider Osaka Japanese Bistro for your next sushi craving.

What is Umami? More Than Just “Delicious”!

If you regularly eat Japanese cuisine, you may have heard this phrase, umami, in the past. It is a term that is commonly used to describe a delicious and savory sensation, such as biting into a juicy burger or taking a sip of piping hot meat broth.

Osaka Las Vegas el pollo loco sushi roll on a plate

Umami is rich in fish, meat, and soy sauce. Sushi is a natural source of umami-packed nutrients. (El Pollo Roll)

Is Umami just a word to describe something delicious?

Umami is more than just an adjective for delicious food, it is actually a food taste we can distinctively detect.

This is significant because, for many years, food taste was broken down into four categories: sweetness, saltiness, sourness, and bitterness. Everything we eat is either one or a combination of these food tastes.

Kikunae Ikeda

Chemist Kikunae Ikeda discovered the fifth taste sensation, umami.

It wasn’t until the early 1900s when Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda discovered a fifth food taste, and coined it umami, after the Japanese term for delicious (Umai).

Umami sensation is triggered when the tongue detects a chemical compound called glutamate. You may be familiar with monosodium glutamates or MSG. Since the discovery, many restaurants choose to use MSG to trigger an umami sensation.

What type of food contains Umami?

Well, sushi and Japanese cuisine, in general, tend to be packed with umami-rich sources such as fish, broth, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms…Even soy sauce! You’ll be pleased to know that because Osaka’s menu items offer natural glutamates from foods without the need for MSG.

Osaka Japanese Bistro teppanyaki chefs at their grill portrait of three teppan expert chefs

Osaka chefs explain the sensation of umami.

The savory taste that you recognize and love from Osaka’s food are thanks to its abundance in umami and other delicious ingredients.

“Umami offers a distinct food taste,” Green Valley sushi chef says. “We are mindful of it and try to incorporate umami into our dishes.”

Does Osaka Japanese Bistro offer Umami-rich selections?

Choose from the following if you are looking for a delectable umami meal:

fresh sliced aji sashimi presented by Osaka Japanese Bistro

Fish is naturally packed with umami.

Sushi – Any nigiri or roll (with Soy Sauce for added umami)

Nabeyaki Udon

Miso Soup

Seaweed Salad

Green Tea

See Our Online Menu

These are some of the available options at Osaka where you can dine a highly nutritious and umami-filled experience. See all of Osaka Japanese Bistro’s umami-rich dishes on our online menu.

Favorite Nigiri in Las Vegas

A simple question with multiple different answers–What’s your favorite nigiri in Las Vegas? Do you favor a popular choice such as salmon, or something more adventurous like scallop or sea urchin? Despite your answer, you can be rest assured that you are receiving the highest quality nigiri when you dine at Osaka Japanese Bistro.

Yellow Tail (Hamachi)

Yellowtail - Osaka Japanese Bistro

Yellowtail is a common favorite in most sushi restaurants.

I know many people that claim yellowtail (hamachi) is the best nigiri, and rightfully so. The yellowtail does so many things correctly. First, it is a generally neutral flavor with a subtle sweet after taste as you chew and swallow the fish. This cannot be said with some of the more dominant choices such as red caviar or more widely known as ikura (Also brilliant but in a different manner). Because of its rather neutral base, the yellowtail is one that is enjoyed at the beginning or the end of the course of the meal.

Sea Urchin (Uni)

Sea Urchin - Osaka Japanese Bistro

Sea Urchin (Orange colored fish at center). Not a common favorite, but a must for a sushi connoisseur.

Personally, my vote is the sea urchin (uni). Not only do I enjoy the rather fishy taste of the sea urchin, it’s also my “screening” nigiri of choice. When fresh, sea urchin is one of the most enjoyable nigiri you can select. However, it is quite expensive and succumbs to a rather short shelf-life. Thus, if you want to gauge how fresh (or not fresh) a restaurant really is, your best bet is to try the sea urchin and taste the quality. If the color is rather dull and its flavor overly fishy, chances are the restaurant is not very good at ordering fresh ingredients or keeping up its stock.

Conclusion

How about Osaka Japanese Bistro’s yellowtail and sea urchin? It’s been in business for decades and you’ll find many food critics claiming it as Vegas’ best when it comes to taste, quality, and service. Can you count on Osaka to serve exceptional yellowtail and sea urchin? You betcha! Come down and see for yourself.

Pairing Sake and Sushi in Las Vegas

Sake and Sushi in Las Vegas

Sake and Sushi in Las Vegas

It seems like sake and sushi has gone hand in hand for centuries. Traditionally speaking, the two hasn’t been enjoyed together routinely until the turn of the century. The reason? Eating rice and drinking distilled rice liquor was believed to be a huge no-no. It wasn’t until sushi was introduced to the West when it became common for individuals to enjoy sushi with a serving of sake. Naturally, it became integral within western civilization and Las Vegas to enjoy these two together.

What is the best combination for sake and sushi?

Choosing the right combination of sushi and sake can truly make the difference from a mediocre dinner to an exceptional meal. Here is a general rule of thumb when eating sushi and drinking sake:

  1. Sashimi goes best with a clean and crisp sake, such as Junmai Ginjo. Sashimi is not commonly eaten in the United States compared to Japan. However, most seasoned sushi connoisseur will agree that sashimi is sushi in its “purest form”. To complement this, critics will often recommend a smooth, clean sake such as Junmai Ginjo. Osaka Japanese Bistro serves a variety of Ginjo-style sake. Never had sashimi before? Read about it more here.
  2. Nigiri is enjoyed with a dry sake such as Junmai. Nigiri is my personal favorite amongst the three sushi categories. Sashimi is wonderful, but the composition of rice and a touch of wasabi with the fish is how I enjoy my sushi. For frequent nigiri diners, Junmai sake is the way to go for its dry, rich finish.
  3. Rolls should go together with Honjozo sake. Who doesn’t like a saucey, sweet roll? Because rolls tend to have many layers of flavor, it is commonly recommended to enjoy rolls with a richer sake like Honjozo.
Fresh Sake at Osaka Japanese Bistro

There are multiple options for sake. Make sure to choose the right one to drink with your sushi.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is effective to pair the type of sake with the style of sushi you are eating. Remember that not all sake is created equal, exactly like sushi. Take a look at our sushi menu and see what sake combination may work best for you. You can be rest assured that when you dine at Osaka Japanese Bistro, you are receiving the best quality in terms of sushi, sake, service, and more. Osaka Japanese Bistro is one of the longest standing Japanese restaurants in Las Vegas, thanks to our commitment to excellent service and culinary offerings.

You can read more regarding sake on our extensive post here.

Citations/Sources:

https://www.truesake.com/blogs/true-sake/14104133-ask-beau-what-s-the-rule-for-pairing-sake-with-sushi

Top 3 Sushi Rolls You Need to Try in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is home to many unique attractions such as the iconic Las Vegas Strip, acrobatic Cirque De Soleil shows, exciting nightclubs, and more. Because Las Vegas is such a hot spot, you’re bound to find plenty of unique restaurants and eateries on and off the Strip. Naturally, restaurants strive to find new and creative ways to meet the expectations of the tourists and locals in the valley. Osaka Japanese Bistro is no exception. With the recent explosion of popularity in Japanese cuisine and primarily sushi, Osaka Japanese Bistro is always looking to improve its menu. Operational for over 50 years, Osaka Japanese Bistro has created award-winning sushi rolls over the years. Today, we want to share 3 sushi rolls that you need to try in Las Vegas.

3. Cajun Crunch Sushi Roll

A personal favorite of mine, the Cajun Crunch Sushi Roll is an explosion of irresistible flavor. The roll contains crispy shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and spicy crab topped with fresh albacore and Tataki & Banzai sauce. My first bite into the Cajun Crunch roll, I was met with the crunchy texture of the shrimp tempura. The oozy consistency of the cream cheese, however, was a nice contrast in comparison. The crab delivers just the right amount of spiciness to balance out the sweet and salty taste of the Tataki & Banzai sauce. The Cajun Crunch beautifully executes albacore, shrimp, and crab in one delicious roll.

2. Asakusa Sushi Roll

I had the pleasure of visiting Asakusa earlier this year during the Spring. While many temples are scattered throughout Japan, Asakusa is home to some of the most iconic temples in the bustling part of Tokyo. Though integrating modern buildings and roads without damaging the hundred-year-old temples were certainly a challenge, Asakusa is a clear example that old and new can seamlessly blend in today’s age. The Asakusa Sushi Roll does not exist in Asakusa, and sushi rolls, in general, are not nearly as popular in Japan compared to the United States. However, the Asakusa Sushi Roll served in Osaka Japanese Bistro is a perfect blend of Japanese-American sushi while containing the elegance and simplicity of Japanese sushi. It is served with spicy tuna, fresh albacore, and scallions topped with Tataki sauce. This fairly subtle but delicious roll is bound to impress you!

1. Roppongi Roll

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as numerous celebrities, media, and Guy Fieri has raved about the Roppongi Roll. The Roppongi Hills in Japan is equivalent to that of Beverly Hills in the United States. If the prestigious class of these two neighborhoods is directly representative to the taste of this roll, then I cannot find a better name! The Roppongi Roll contains spicy tuna, shrimp topped with another serving of tuna, masago, scallions, and drizzled with Tataki and Yum Yum sauce. This beautiful combination of sauce and fish with a sprinkle of masago on the top of each roll is simply a masterpiece. If you haven’t tried the Roppongi Roll at Osaka Japanese Bistro yet, you should, especially if you are a constant sushi connoisseur.

In conclusion, these are the 3 sushi rolls I recommend trying in Las Vegas. You can find all three of rolls only at Osaka Japanese Bistro.

Osaka: The Ultimate Street Food Scene

Japan is known for many things–Eye-popping scenery, cutting-edge technology, unique culture, and more. But many can argue that Japanese cuisine stands above all else. Any fan of Japanese sushi and ramen should pay a visit to Japan to experience the food for themselves. More importantly, if you are a self-acclaimed foodie, you need to visit the eating capital of Japan, which is Osaka.

image of Tokyo skyline during twilight in Japan.

Tokyo is impressive, but what about Osaka?

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Japan earlier this year in the Spring. It was my second time visiting Japan in a span of six months. Prior to visiting Osaka, I had stayed in Tokyo. Near my hotel, I had probably the best beef tonkatsu I’ve ever had in my life. The tendons are so soft your brain may think you’re eating sashimi rather than beef, even for just a few seconds. Of course, no visit to Tokyo is complete until you visit the famed Tsukiji fish market, where you can find some of the best fish in the world. If you’re unfamiliar with the type of fish in sushi, you might want to check out our article about it here. Then I visited Kyoto and had Kyoto-style ramen. I’ve had many bowls of ramen in the United States and in Tokyo, specifically around Shinjuku where its ramen are popular. However, nothing compared to the ramen I had in Kyoto.

Dontonbori during the Spring, 2018.

I thought I had a pretty good idea of Japanese cuisine…until I visited Osaka. There was nothing that could’ve prepared me for what I experienced at Osaka. As soon as you get off the bullet train and enter Osaka, it’s almost like you’re visiting another country. There are ancient castles that pierce through the skies along with modern skyscrapers and the dazzling lights of Dotonbori will impress even those accustomed to the Las Vegas Strip. As you step inside the streets of Dotonbori, the allure of the city will absorb you.

There is no doubt that Osaka is known for its marvelous street food. Whether you are a fan of okonomiyaki, takoyaki, or yakitori, you will be in street food heaven. Everywhere you turn is a tent smoking with a scent you simply can’t resist.

japanese chicken grill Yakitori set with leeks

Japanese Chicken Grill Yakitori set with Leeks

While Osaka Japanese Bistro here in Las Vegas is well known for its excellence in sushi, they boast a diverse menu that brings the elements of Osaka itself. If you can’t make a trip to Osaka in Japan anytime soon, that’s OK. You’ll find many common favorites such as takoyaki, kaarage (fried chicken), and gyoza from our late night menu. Are you a yakitori fan? Come and try our one of the dozen selections we offer at Osaka Japanese Bistro. Nothing will close to the food from Dotonbori for me, but Osaka Japanese Bistro is real close. But don’t just take my word for it, I urge you to come and try for yourself.

Best Japanese Food in Henderson at Osaka Japanese Bistro

Street view of Osaka Japanese Bistro restaurant in Henderson, NV

Osaka Japanese Bistro has provided one of the finest dining experiences in Las Vegas since 1967. Thousands of tourists and locals know they can get the freshest and best selection of sushi in town at Osaka, along with a huge selection of great, authentic Japanese food in a great, classic Vegas setting and location. But a lot of locals don’t realize we also now have a Henderson restaurant, and it’s definitely got its own vibe and atmosphere that Osaka fans should not miss.

Authentic Japanese Cuisine Selections at Osaka Japanese Restaurant

Located on Eastern and Sunridge Heights Pkwy in Sunridge Village Plaza, the Henderson Osaka Japanese restaurant has a spacious and contemporary style. The suburban location means you’ll find easy access and ample space for parking. Inside, there’s a trendy and modern space, with a generously-sized sushi bar and plenty of table seating, as well as multiple teppan grill tables for your own exciting live action food preparation experience. And of course, the restaurant also features traditional private tatami room dining. Osaka Henderson serves the same great menu as the original location, along with a wonderful side of live piano and jazz on weekend evenings for your enjoyment. What could be nicer?

Fine Japanese Dining on your Doorstep

Selection of yakitori skewered chicken served at Osaka Japanese Bistro Henderson NV

 

Osaka has always been known for serving the freshest, most authentic sushi in town, along with a huge menu of authentic, expertly prepared Japanese dishes. From slightly exotic appetizers, like tako wasabi (baby octopus in wasabi and sweet wine), to filling entrees, like shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot) and indulgent desserts, like tempura banana, our menu has something for every taste and appetite. We have so many choices we put them on five different menus:

  • Sushi – our famous, award-winning sushi, nigiri and sashimi selections, including seasonal and rare items, fresh daily with the the best cuts of native fish from Japan. Come in for some Osaka original creations like the Rock & Roll (tuna, salmon, yellowtail,crab in cucumber) or the Kamikaze (eel, spicy tuna and avocado).
  • Teppan Grill – our teppan master chefs will wow you by preparing your delicious hot meal before your eyes. Choose filet mignon, New York or rib steak, or enjoy grilled chicken. Our special selections include WAGYU beef, the very best Grade 5 beef from Japan, and tender Iberico pork from Spain. Enjoy your teppan grill meal with appetizer, soup, salad, fresh grilled vegetable and steamed rice. Reserve a teppan table for a memorable birthday or anniversary event, or just a fun evening out with friends or family.
  • Lunch Menu – just coming off the golf course, on a lunch break from work or heading out for a lazy afternoon paddling on Lake Las Vegas? Then stop by our Henderson restaurant for a delicious lunch that will fill you up and not weigh you down. Start with a sushi roll of your choice, then pick from a selection of bento box lunches that showcase our wide range of authentic Japanese dishes prepared fresh for you. Or enjoy a dish of tasty noodles or a filling bowl of ramen and be on your way.

Kai's special sushi roll at Osaka Japanese sushi restaurant

 

  • Kitchen Menu – our kitchen menu is everything but the kitchen sink. Find everything your mom cooked for you (if you’re from Japan) or try something new. This is our biggest menu with old favorites, like oyako don (egg and chicken over rice) and, the new, including 14 flavors (who knew?) of yakitori, or chicken skewers.
  • Late Nite Menu – looking for a late night snack on your way home, or in between parties? Find appetizers, sushi and seafood dishes, as well as fried rice and yakitori specials. We have plenty of light meal choices at tempting prices during our late evening hours (after 10 pm).

Live Jazz in Henderson?

live jazz performance at Osaka Japanese Bistro Henderson NV

One of the best kept secrets in Henderson, our live jazz evenings add a musical spark to your dinner outing. Our owner Gene Nakanishi’s great love of classical and jazz orchestral music is showcased in our specially designed Henderson restaurant. The jazz corner is a cozy space for our live musicians to play their hearts out for your pleasure. Enjoy live piano and jazz performances every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, accompanied, of course, by great dining and friendly service. Check out recordings some of our piano and jazz performances.

Convenient Location for Henderson and Las Vegas

View of ample parking at Osaka Japanese Bistro Henderson location

Whether you’re already an Osaka Japanese Bistro fan, a Henderson local or a true-blue Las Vegan, what could be better than great food, good music and a lovely ambience? For those visiting Henderson area casinos such as the M Resort Spa Casino, the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa or the Green Valley Ranch Resort, or if you are on your way out to Lake Las Vegas, taking the Hoover Dam tour, or on a golf outing at one of our fine local golf courses, Osaka’s Henderson restaurant is conveniently located on your way, not far from the 215 Beltway. Make your way to Osaka Japanese Bistro in Henderson and taste a bit of old Japan in style.

Learn About Sashimi, the Fresh Japanese Delicacy

Sashimi plate fresh raw fish presented by Osaka Japanese Bistro
Have you run across sashimi fans who tell you how much they love eating raw fish on a plate and wondered what was so special about it? If you’re a sushi fan, chances are you’ve encountered sashimi at a sushi bar. But what do you know about this distinctly Japanese and very special delicacy? We’d like to share some facts about sashimi so you’ll be able to really appreciate it next chance you get to sample it at your favorite Japanese sushi restaurant.

Sashimi is a traditional Japanese dish of carefully selected and sliced raw food. It is mostly served as thinly sliced fresh fish. However, other meats such as beef can also be served as sashimi, although this is rare in authentic Japanese restaurants. Some people confuse sashimi and sushi even though the difference is a simple one: sashimi is a piece of raw fish while sushi is sashimi (raw fish) accompanied by vinegared rice.

Origin of Sashimi

The eating of sashimi can be traced to the 14th century. The term means “pierced body.” (The more accurate term would have been Kirimi (“cut body”) but the Japanese avoided it so as not to use the word ‘Kiri,” meaning “cut” which is considered a bad word.) Sashimi eating became popular in the Tokyo region in the 17th century as fishing techniques became more advanced and the arrival of the use of soy sauce helped enhance its flavor and popularize it more widely.  To properly prepare and enjoy sashimi, the fish must be completely fresh in order to retain its delicate flavor and for food safety.

How to eat Sashimi

Most Japanese people are introduced to sashimi at a very young age. Foreigners may, however, take a while to get accustomed to the taste and texture of raw fish. Because it can be an acquired taste, condiments are a common accompaniment to sashimi, even in Japan, enhancing the overall taste experience and reducing the fish taste to only its best and most delicate flavors.

Spearing the fish in the head and tail is a traditional way of identifying the fish that will be served.

Osaka sashimi aji speared fish indicating fresh and ready to eat

A common garnish is called tsuma, which consists of pieces of perilla leaves, seaweed, and daikon radish. They are usually cut into pretty shapes though they are always eaten together with the sashimi. Other edible wild plants, vegetables, and flowers are also used as garnishes.

Some types of the sashimi are eaten with a bit if horseradish (wasabi) or ground ginger, plums and mustard paste (karashi). The dish is often seasoned with soy sauce in which the diner dips a piece of the meat before eating. It is good practice to take only as much sauce as needed as the flavor may overwhelm the taste of the fish.

Popular types of sashimi

The sashimi served in most Japanese restaurants is purely seafood. Meaning, it is either from fish, roe or other sea animals such as octopus, shrimp, and jellyfish. Some popular types of this delicious Japanese dish are:

Maguro

Maguro is sashimi prepared from tuna. It is on the menu of nearly all restaurants that serve sashimi. The whole fish is edible, but the price of the sashimi dish varies depending on the fat content of each part. The lean, firm, and fleshy red flanks or akami are the cheapest. The most expensive part is the meat from tuna’s fatty belly, toro. It is available in two grades based on the fat content, chutoro, which is the medium grade and otoro, the premium grade.

Sake or shake

Shake is salmon-based sashimi and is common in many Japanese restaurants. The delicious bright orange fatty belly is also called salmon toro in many menus.

Tai Sashimi

fresh sliced aji sashimi presented by Osaka Japanese Bistro

Sea bream or tai, is the best white-fleshed fish in Japan. In sashimi cuisine, tai is often served during celebrations such as New Year’s and weddings. To the Japanese, it is symbolic of new beginnings.

Other Popular Types of Sashimi

Other fish that are served as sashimi include mackerel (saba), skipjack tuna or bonito (katsuo), and amberjack (kanpachi). Sashimi is also prepared form squid (ika), shrimp (amaebi), and octopus (tako). The highly prized jellyfish, kurage. is also served as sashimi.

Another option is caviar or salmon roe (ikura).

ikura fresh sashimi roe

Uni Sashimi: A Rare Delicacy

The most expensive roe-based sashimi is the uni (sea urchin roe). It has a creamy, buttery texture and a sweet, briny flavor. Uni is the edible part of the sea urchin and has to be carefully harvested as the meat tends to fall apart. It is also a seasonal item and so is only available for part of the year, generally late fall and winter.

Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas for Authentic Japanese Sashimi

With our award-winning staff and authentic, traditional recipes and preparation method, Osaka Japanese Bistro offers the best fresh sashimi outside Japan. As the oldest Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas, we specialize in offering a broad menu as well as carefully selected and hard to find fresh fish from Japan to create authentic tastes and textures hard to find anywhere else. We even offer uni sashimi when it is in season and of the high quality we demand. Our sushi is enjoyed not only in our restaurants, but is the preferred catered sushi at many top Las Vegas casino buffets and restaurants who we supply daily with top quality fresh sushi, as well as sashimi and nigiri selections. For the very best in Japanese cuisine, stop in next time you’re in Las Vegas for a plate of fresh sashimi or nigiri and delicious sushi rolls.

 

Steak and Sushi: A Great Combination

Osaka Las Vegas teppan grill sizzling steak

When it comes to indulging in a great dinner, steak and seafood usually top the list. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that not all seafood is created equal. If you want a truly incredible experience, elevate your plate with an award-winning combination: steak and sushi.

Las Vegas just happens to have one of the country’s premier Japanese steak and sushi houses right here in town. Osaka Japanese Bistro features masterful sushi creations that could stand alone, but why should they have to?

Take a look at a few of our favorite reasons why steak and sushi offer the perfect food pairing.

Great Japanese Steakhouse and Award Winning Sushi

Fresh aji sashimi by Osaka Japanese Bistro

Osaka’s amazing sushi is an experience all by itself. Award-winning sushi rolls, and fresh perfect cuts of sashimi and nigiri provide an infusion of flavor sensations worthy of a night out on the town.

At Osaka in Las Vegas, we like to up the ante, so to speak, on the experience we offer our guests. We also offer a full menu from our Teppan grill, which features everything from outstanding appetizers to filet mignon that will make your heart melt. Best of all? We invite you to perch yourself alongside our Teppanyaki chefs so you can enjoy an interactive experience with your steak and sushi selections.

Pairing Steak and Sushi for a Mouthwatering Dining Experience

White Tiger sushi by Osaka Japanese Bistro

White Tiger

Steak and sushi certainly have very little in common. But, together they’re a great combination of flavors and, when done right, they’ll both make your mouth water. Why are they so great together? Great steak doesn’t require a ton of seasonings and spices, as the meat should speak for itself. On the other hand, creative sushi invites folds of flavor that play upon each other by way of sauces, toppings, and textures. After you enjoy a bite of succulent steak, your taste buds will be excited to receive the fish-inspired flavors coming their way next.

Naturally, you could go the simple route, opting for traditional rolls that have simpler ingredients and lighter flavors. Either way, if you enjoy food made fresh by craftsmen skilled in their culinary specialty, the flavors of steak sizzled to perfection by our teppanyaki chef and sushi crafted by our sushi master, you will be rewarded with an amazing dining experience.

Don’t Decide Between Steak and Sushi!

Osaka Menu Image 27

Nobody said you need to decide between a steakhouse and a sushi experience. These two elements are the perfect marriage for a great night out, and thanks to Osaka’s extensive menu, there are plenty of items for you and your dining partners to sample and share throughout the evening.

Osaka Japanese Bistro is Las Vegas’ premier steak and sushi establishment. From unbeatable date nights to family-friendly outings and group get-togethers with friends, we’ve happily been serving locals and visitors to Las Vegas since 1967. In fact, Osaka was the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas, and we’re proud to say we’ve accumulated quite a collection of awards since that time. If you’re craving incredible steak and unforgettable sushi, we invite you to stop by and see us! Feel free to ask our servers and chefs which combinations are their favorites!

 

Authentic Japanese Sushi Reflects Japanese Culture

Authentic Japanese sushi meal with sushi roll, green tea, wasabi and soy sauce artistically arranged

Sushi plate

Sushi is a dish loved around the world. Once it left Japan, sushi became a magnet for food lovers everywhere, with sushi bars and sushi restaurants popping up across the US, in Europe and basically just about everywhere. Japanese sushi is a complex and refined culinary specialty that truly reflects the Japanese culture it came from. Translating it abroad brings challenges, but true aficionados recognize and appreciate authentic Japanese sushi when and where they find it.

Japanese Pursuit of Perfection

japanese pursuit of perfection symbolized in perfectly trimmed bonsai tree in a container in a Japanese garden

The Japanese culture is steeped in a search for perfection, whether in the craft or profession they practice, in school, or even in simple day to day activities, like cultivating the perfect bonsai tree. The Japanese value in themselves and others a high degree of devotion and capacity to deliver excellence in all that they do. This tradition is probably related to the historical practice of Confucianism, when everyone was given a place in society and a task to accomplish. All tasks were valued, no matter the person’s status. This tradition has only deepened over the centuries. The Japanese have shown themselves to be capable of rising to the top in a number of industries by delivering consistently high quality products, such as we’ve seen in industries like automobiles and electronics.

In Pursuit of Perfect Sushi

Fresh fish in white tiger sushi from Osaka Japanese Restaurant

Nowhere in Japanese culinary arts is this passion for quality and perfectionism greater than in the realm of sushi-making. Sushi is a culinary salute to Japanese ingenuity and precision. Through its long history in Japan as this fascinating delicacy was perfected, sushi became one of the world’s most loved and sought-after dishes. In the wisdom of one of the world’s most renowned sushi chefs, Jiro Ono, a primary principle of personal endeavor toward higher degrees of perfection in life is to master the art of simplicity. Great depth and purity follow from simplicity, hence, the finest sushi is simple.

This passion for perfection became an art form in its own right in sushi’s creative recipes and presentation. The best world-class sushi chefs painstakingly master this Japanese culinary art to apply exacting standards of freshness and a perfect balance of flavors and textures. And sushi-lovers everywhere never stop delighting in the new varieties of sushi they discover to sample and enjoy.  

How Do You Know Its Authentic Japanese Sushi?

Aji nigiri one piece tuna sushi

Sushi is loved worldwide, and no place more so than in America. Americans love sushi, and eat over $2 billion dollars worth every year. But, sushi made in America may differ significantly from traditional Japanese sushi.  Many chefs are not Japan-trained and so may not achieve the standards of knowledge and preparation that every sushi chef in Japan will master. In Japan, a sushi chef trainee may spend two years just learning to prepare sushi rice correctly. Most schools in America will not have patience for that kind of extensive practice.

American sushi recipes are adjusted to satisfy American tastes, which includes milder and sweeter tastes. Differences in the amounts and ways that soy sauce is used and various other differences in flavors distinguish the two culinary cultures. Americans like soy sauce, but it’s important to use only a small amount, and dip the fish end of the sushi into it as too much soy sauce will make the rice fall apart. Americans prefer their rice on the outside of a sushi roll, while in Japan, rolls may be wrapped in seaweed, neatly enclosing the rice and other ingredients. Sushi rolls tend to be bite-size and simple in Japan. In America, they are preferred to be larger and packed with more ingredients.

And, the “all you can eat” sushi bar, which is common in the US, is a concept that does not really exist in Japan. Whereas the US may expect to focus on being able to serve large quantities of sushi quickly, quality and presentation, rather than volume, are paramount in traditional Japanese sushi preparation.

Perfect Sushi Rice is Fundamental

Roppongi

A very important indicator that your sushi is authentic Japanese sushi is the quality of the rice. Preparing just the right mix of rice and vinegar balances the taste perfectly with the fish that graces the sushi. The rice must be of the right texture and perfectly cooked so that it never falls apart on the plate, yet will melt deliciously in the mouth when eaten.

Sushi rice should be made in small batches as rice ages quickly and loses its perfect texture within a short time. This is one reason many connoisseurs avoid large “all you can eat” establishments that have to make their sushi rice in bulk which makes it hard to a keep rice fresh and of the highest quality. Sadly, a lot of American sushi does not achieve the quality of rice needed to call out the flavor of the fish and deliver a great sushi experience.

Japan-Trained Sushi Chefs

To achieve the highest level of sushi master chef, the Japanese sushi student must apprentice through up to ten years of training. A Japan-trained sushi chef has learned to deeply understand and use the best and freshest species of fish to create unique and beautiful sushi. He (or she, although most Japan-trained sushi chefs are still men) is expected to add his own creative flair and special touches that makes their clients come back for more. Sushi connoisseurs seek out sushi restaurants that employ Japan-trained sushi staff because they know that is where they will experience the true tastes, textures and pleasures of authentic sushi.

Authentic Japanese Sushi on Sahara in Las Vegas and Green Valley Henderson

Kai's Special sushi roll from Osaka Japanese Bistro

The Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas is an authentic, family-owned Japanese restaurant, established in 1967, and now operated by the second generation of the Nakanishi family. Recognized by Japan’s largest weekly magazine, the Asahi Shukan, as one of the world’s 50 best Japanese restaurants, Osaka is widely known for our quality sushi. We serve a wide selection of authentic sushi, nigiri and sashimi to satisfy even the most thrill-seeking and experienced sushi-lovers, and specialize in serving exotic fish, usually found only in Japan. Indeed, our specialty is our large, authentic Japanese sushi menu, including daily and seasonal specials and hard-to-find sushi varieties, prepared by Japan’s former National Sushi Competition Adjudicator, and award winning sushi chef, Chef Shingo “Shin” Aihara and his professional Japan-trained staff. We also serve an extensive menu of traditional Japanese dishes, including a teppanyaki grill experience.

Osaka now has two locations, in Las Vegas on West Sahara and our Henderson location in Green Valley. When in Las Vegas, if you’re ready to try something new and adventurous, Osaka probably has it! Come in and experience Japanese-style sushi and other delicacies that represent the very best Japanese cuisine.

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.

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.

 

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.

What are the Different Types of Sushi?

El Pollo Loco sushi roll example of uramaki sushi

Osaka’s El Pollo Loco Sushi Roll

Japanese cuisine is now mainstream and wildly popular throughout this country and much of the world. However, whether you’re a seasoned sushi connoisseur or a novice looking to order your first roll, terms on Japanese restaurant menus can be confusing. From nigiri to maki, here’s a rundown on the different varieties of sushi you may encounter in Japanese sushi restaurants.

Different Types of Sushi

Simply put, the term sushi in Japanese cuisine describes any dish prepared with vinegared rice. This distinctive and specially prepared sushi rice is combined with a variety of other ingredients. Raw seafood is the most recognized sushi ingredient. However, sushi is also prepared with cooked seafood, vegetables, egg, tropical fruit, and even meat. Sushi is commonly served with soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi (Japanese horseradish).

Sushi was originally prepared by street vendors as a snack food. The bite size pieces were perfect for eating on the go. As sushi rapidly grew in popularity and spread across Japan, different varieties were introduced. Now, sushi-making is an entire art in itself, with hundreds of different varieties of sushi available around the world. But these will all fall into several main categories that you can recognize anywhere you go.

Maki

Maki, or makizushi, literally translates to “rolled sushi”. It is what most people envision when the word “sushi” is mentioned. The tube-shaped rolls are created using a bamboo mat referred to as a makisu. Maki is generally wrapped in seaweed (nori), but the seaweed is occasionally replaced by cucumber, soy paper, or shiso leaves. Rice is located directly inside the wrapping, and the filling is in the center. Maki rolls are usually cut into six or eight pieces.

8 piece futomaki sushi roll on a plate

Maki can be broken down into even more specific types:

  • Futomaki – Futomaki translates to “large, thick, or fat rolls”. Like the name suggests, futomaki sushi rolls are wide (usually 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter). They are filled with multiple fillings, and seaweed is usually on the very outside.
  • Hosomaki – Conversely, hosomaki means “thin roll”. These maki rolls have one filling, surrounded by rice and seaweed. Tuna and cucumber are some popular fillings in hosomaki sushi. Due to the convenient, bite-sized pieces, hosomakizushi is a popular snack item in Japan.
  • Temaki – Temaki means “hand roll”. Temaki is a cone-shaped piece of seaweed filled with ingredients that spill out of the wide end of the roll. Temaki is eaten by hand and should be consumed relatively quickly, as the seaweed absorbs moisture from the inside ingredients and becomes soggy.
  • Uramaki – Uramaki translates to “inside-out roll”. This Westernized sushi variety differs from traditional maki in that the seaweed is inside the roll and rice is on the outside. The common California Roll is an example of uramaki sushi. In Japan, where sushi is traditionally eaten by hand, this maki variety is rather uncommon.

Nigiri

Osaka tokujyo nigiri

Osaka Tokujyo Nigiri

Nigiri, or nigirizushi, means “hand-pressed roll”. It is the most traditional sushi type. Nigiri consists of an elongated mound of sushi rice that has been hand pressed by the chef. The mound of rice is then draped with a single topping. Some common toppings are tuna (maguro), salmon (sake), octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), and egg (tamago). A small amount of wasabi is oftentimes placed under the topping. In most restaurants, including Osaka Japanese Bistro, one order of nigiri is two pieces.

Gunkanmaki is a type of nigirizushi that has a piece of seaweed surrounding the perimeter. This strip of seaweed helps contain a loose or soft topping, such as sea urchin (uni) or salmon roe (ikura).

Chirashi

Chirashi bowl fresh seafood in ricebowl

Osaka Chirashi Bowl

Chirashi, or chirashizushi, means “scattered sushi”. It is a bowl filled with sushi rice and a variety of different toppings. Toppings generally include raw fish and vegetables. Chirashi sushi is popular in Japan, because it is filling and comparatively easy to prepare.

Sashimi

Osaka sashimi platter of fresh sliced fish arranged in beautiful display

Osaka Sashimi Plate

While not technically sushi, sashimi is on most Japanese menus near the sushi. Sashimi is simply fresh, raw fish or meat cut into thin slices. Sashimi is not served directly with rice, but it is often served over a garnishment, such as shredded white radish (daikon) and/or shredded carrot. Like sushi, sashimi is eaten with soy sauce and wasabi. While it is considered appropriate to eat sushi by hand, it is proper to eat sashimi with chopsticks. There is a lot to know about sushi, as there is about Japanese cuisine, but with some basic knowledge you’ll be able to find your way through just about any sushi menu.

Find the Best Sushi at Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas

Osaka Japanese Bistro was the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas. Based on authentic Japanese recipes and never compromising quality, we have become the largest sushi-maker in Las Vegas, serving everyone from our guests in our restaurants in Las Vegas and Henderson as well as many of the food buffets up and down the Las Vegas Strip. With our award winning chefs and large selection of sushi, including maki, chirashi, nigiri and sashimi, you could say we know sushi.  Stop by Osaka today and enjoy the best fresh sushi in town.

5 Ways to Know you’ve Found a Top Sushi Place

Five Qualities of Top Sushi

8 piece futomaki sushi roll on a plate

A top sushi place is hard to find, but when you find one, you’ll know it. At Osaka Japanese Bistro we’ve spent over 50 years perfecting the art of great sushi. Our sushi recipes are perfected using traditional methods of sushi-making, prepared by classically trained and experienced sushi chefs, and using only the freshest fish and finest quality ingredients. This is why so many Las Vegas casinos depend on us to provide sushi to their guests at buffets and other venues. We think we know a thing or two about great sushi and we’d like to share that knowledge with you.

While good sushi may satisfy your palate, the best quality sushi is a delightful and exotic experience that ignites your senses. Rather than merely a meal, the best sushi is a unique combination of art and science, crafted with attention to detail that leaves a lasting impression. Each sushi order is made fresh, created specifically for you, the customer. The sushi chef’s years of experience, training, knowledge and passion are reflected in each and every plate of sushi that is served.

But what are the key factors that separate merely good sushi and truly amazing sushi?

Five Signs you’ve Found the Best Quality Sushi

 

1. Presentation

More than any other food, sushi presentation matters almost as much as taste. Visit the sushi bar itself where the work si done. You should immediately see an impressive display, the sushi chef’s iced case with his supply fresh fish full of luster and shine and never any fishy odor around. An array of other fresh ingredients should be neatly arranged in the display case. The same care taken to make ingredients visibly appealing is likely taken in preparing your dish. When your entrée arrives, a truly perfect plate of sushi will look fresh and carefully composed, full of vibrant colors and a purposeful presentation and overall artistry that demonstrates the chef’s careful use of his tools and ingredients to deliver a beautiful dish.

Nigiri fresh roe and shrimp arrangement

2. Sushi Rice

The rice is a critical element in sushi and never an afterthought. It is so important, that a master sushi chef may spend years learning to craft the perfect rice. Typically dressed with seasoned vinegar, sushi rice should have a glossy sheen.

Sushi rice has the perfect texture to play off the fish. It should be sticky so that it holds together as you take a bite, but should still separate into individual grains once in your mouth, delicate enough that it brings out the flavors of the other ingredients. No matter what kind of sushi is on the menu, the rice is the core ingredient and starting point for great sushi.

3. Fresh Sushi Ingredients

Daily access to fresh, high quality fish is the mark of a superb sushi restaurant. To put it simply, the fish should be extremely fresh, usually delivered daily. It should never smell “fishy” which is a sign the fish is no longer fresh.

tiger roll Osaka Japanese restaurant sushi roll

Each piece of sushi should have a clean taste, with a variety of textures that melt smoothly in your mouth. Ingredients like seaweed should be crisp, not soggy or rubbery.  The restaurant should serve high-grade soy sauce that is mellow in taste, and should be made from freshly grated wasabi root.

4. Technique and Skill

The sushi chef is the heart and soul of the sushi experience. With years of training, a skilled chef will have excellent knife skills and manual dexterity, many years experience with a range of menus, flavors and recipes, and a personal, unique style that contributes to the uniqueness of the restaurant. In addition, the sushi chef’s commitment to the art of creating sushi is evidenced through a constant drive for self-improvement. An artist to the core, a sushi chef takes great pride in pleasing his audience.

Shinjuku sushi at Osaka Japanese Bistro Las Vegas

5. Creativity

The best quality sushi will reflect the restaurant’s unique style and personality. This will be reflected in the creativity of the menu. The sushi chef’s artistic vision should entice customers with a variety of culinary selections built around many types of fish and other ingredients. Many develop specialties using local ingredients or to please local tastes. Others perfect old classics with flair and extra touches to add variety and style. To truly appreciate a great sushi chef, look for the “chef’s choice” on the menu. It indicates that they are excited to inspire your palate with innovative cuisine. A changing menu is also a great sign. This means that the restaurant is constantly experimenting with new combinations to tantalize your taste buds.

Great Sushi is in How it Tastes

Of course, the final test of your great sushi experience will be when you actually consume the sushi.  But first, a true sushi experience is more than just eating your food. It is an experience of many senses – visual, because a beautiful presentation will whet your appetite; your nose, because fresh and delicate smells will prepare your taste buds, and of course taste, the most perfect, melt-in-your-mouth sushi rice will make room for all the accompanying ingredients to deliver a wonderfully delicious sushi experience. The best quality sushi will always deliver fresh and exciting tastes that make you linger over the sensation and then go back for another bite.

Enjoy Top Sushi at Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas

The ideal piece of sushi combines a variety of fresh ingredients to achieve a delicate balance of flavors. While the taste should be fantastic, the presentation, chef’s expertise, and the originality of the restaurant’s menu and ambiance are just as important.

It is rare to find a sushi experience that meets each of these criteria, but here at Osaka Japanese Bistro we are proud to have achieved this feat. Try our unique menu and dare to be inspired!

Making the Best Sushi is All in the Training

Kai's special sushi roll at Osaka Japanese sushi restaurant

As you sit back and enjoy that exquisite sushi roll at Osaka in Las Vegas or your favorite Japanese restaurant in your hometown, have you ever wondered just what it takes to learn and master the delicate art of making great sushi? Turns out that making sushi is a lot more complex and subtle a specialty than you might think. Skilled sushi chefs who prepare truly authentic Japanese sushi go through years of rigorous training, often up to 10 years, to become an itamae, or sushi master.

Becoming an Itamae or Sushi Chef

In Japan, the title of a head sushi chef, or itamae, is an exceptionally prestigious and revered title. It is not loosely awarded and only the best of the best get to have it. The term Itamae translates to “in front of the board”, that is this is the person in charge of all that happens on the board where sushi preparation takes place. They are charged with the responsibility of preparing sushi, ruling the sushi kitchen, and pleasing the guests. An itamae in Japan is highly revered and honored.

Fresh mackeral and hocho japanese knife on sushi master cutting board

Aspiring itamae students must come prepared for grueling training and the challenges of the trade. To begin with, great sushi making demands excellent manual dexterity. Sushi makers must have expert knife skills and be able to achieve absolute precision. And the art of sushi making demands creativity in order to build a distinct and memorable sushi menu and reputation.

Expert knife skills are important to be able to cut fish different types of fish expertly and precisely in order to bring out the best pieces of the fish. In sushi preparation, rice and the careful mixing of sauces and arrangement of other ingredients must also be very exact. Neatness and accuracy are crucial.  Each sushi making session must result in perfect rolls, including carefully prepared sushi rice with exactly the proper balance of vinegar and salt, that present a visually stunning and deliciously perfect piece of sushi for the guest with each bite.

Mackarel fish sliced on sushi cutting board

 

 

With so much to master, the road to attaining the itamae standard is long, tough and requires complete professional devotion of time and skills. Here is the path the future itamae will most commonly take:

Sushi training school and apprenticeship

There are many schools today offering courses on how to train as a sushi chef. However, while these courses may equip students with the concepts and some mechanical skills of sushi preparation, the journey to becoming an expert and revered itamae requires extensive experience and apprenticeship. Programs limited to school training often fail to engrain the intense devotion and discipline, or allow time for learning, making mistakes and trying again, that makes for a truly master sushi chef. In Japan, the real way to become a respected sushi chef is to learn on the job; starting from the very bottom and working your up to the top.

Start with cleaning duties

In Japan, an aspiring itamae must learn the discipline of hard work.  He will start in his first sushi kitchen job with cleaning duties which include washing, scrubbing and general clean-up.  These duties are part of the training and prove the student’s devotion to becoming an itamae. This period may go on for a few months depending on the master, who will assess the young worker’s abilities from afar and know whether he has what it takes to become an itamae.

Graduate to preparing perfect sushi rice

Preparing sushi rice is a special process that requires precision and consistency.  Every master sushi chef has his own unique and secret recipe for the sushi rice preparation. In this step, the student learns how to make the rice, a careful blend of rice, vinegar and salt. The student’s itamae master guides him in each step, under careful supervision, until the student’s work meets the master’s own high standards. After demonstrating the ability to make perfect sushi rice consistently without supervision, the student will be rewarded with a move to the level of wakiita.

Sushi chef apprenticeship as a wakiita

Reaching the level of wakiita is one step closer to becoming a sushi chef. In Japanese, wakiita literally means “close to the chopping board”. However, it’s good to note that some wakiita may work for years and years under their itamae before they can become an itamae on their own right because there is plenty to master.

As a wakiita, the trainee can expect a wide variety of duties in the sushi kitchen, all of which may have to be completed rapidly and with precision. The tasks typically vary depending on just how much his itamae trusts the trainee. The duties may include preparing ingredients, preparing fish, slicing scallions, or even preparing sushi takeaway orders.

Also at this stage, with adequate experience, the junior sushi chef may have the capability of wielding his own sushi knives, referred to as “hocho” in Japanese. Permission to wield a hocho in a professional sushi kitchen is a sign from the itamae that the student is ready to go to the top.

cucumber roll sushi spring green on traditonal green mat

A new itamae is born

After many years of training and apprenticeship, the sushi master student will finally have the skills and experience to be appointed as an itamae. The new master sushi chef will have by now developed his own style for how to handle ingredients and wield the hocho. He will also have become very comfortable interacting with guests and working closely within the sushi preparation team. The world awaits the new itamae who will surely leave his mark on sushi menus somewhere around the globe and be remembered by many happy, satisfied sushi fans.

To see a great sushi chef in action, view the Food Network’s video that shows Osaka’s master sushi chef at work at our Sahara Ave Las Vegas restaurant, or stop by our West Sahara or Henderson locations and watch our master sushi chefs prepare the most authentic Japanese sushi in town.