Bellagio’s Yellowtail: You Had Me At The Walu & Duck Prosciutto

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I was one of the fortunate 20 or so bloggers to be invited to a tasting at the Bellagio’s Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge in Las Vegas last week. Thanks to Babette Pepaj from Bakespace who organized it and to the Bellagio marketing team.  The ‘experience’ included a fabulous view and some mighty fabulous samples, including a yummy dry saki I didn’t catch the name of.

Yellowtail is a Light Group property around the corner from the chic Caramel Bar & Lounge.  The restaurant’s award-winning chef Akira Back, who has worked with national culinary greats, such as Nobu, Morimoto and Nagao, delivered with a variety of fabulous plates.

Designed by world-renowned Rockwell Group, Yellowtail oozes warmth, romance and cosmopolitan lounginess, with elegant wood and stone decor in its main dining room area. We had an unparalleled view of Lake Bellagio and the fountain and light show. While the restaurant has no shortage of sushi and sashimi, more innovative dishes included Big Eye Tuna Pizza with shiso, an aromatic mint-like herb popular in Japan; Kobe Beef Tataki with shaved garlic ponzu; and a Toro Caviar with serrano peppers and osetra caviar.

Among my favorites were the Lobster Carpaccio with sweet shaved onion, cilantro and amazu ponzu, the tai snapper with extra virgin olive oil, shiso and tosazu and Ankimo (monkfish liver pate with citrus soy).

Also worth mentioning is their seared albacore with crispy shiitake mushrooms, onions and a chili sesame sauce, yellowtail Serrano served with micro cilantro and blood orange sauce and the Shikoku Octopus with cucumber and jalapeno vinaigrette. Did I mention the kobe beef tataki with spicy daikon, garlic and maldon sea salt? YUM!

Other wonders included the seared albacore with crispy shiitake mushrooms, onions and a chili sesame sauce and one we didn’t sample, but I hope to try next time I’m there: the Hudson Valley foie gras torchon with kumamoto oyster, Hokkaido scallop and spiced acacia honey.

Other things on the menu were a duck prosciutto with pickles and micro beets (seemingly popular btw), Toro Caviar with kochujang and micro greens and Tataki with shaved garlic ponzu.  His fish dishes were so tender that they melted in your mouth, particularly this one topped with just a dash of mint leaves.

Short ribs with tender onions and root vegetables.

While the venue is over 4,300 square feet, the layout is sectioned off in a way that makes your dining experience feel intimate, yet chic at the same time. My vote would be to return on a future trip to take in some of the dishes I didn’t manage to taste this time around. My ultimate favorite out of all the dishes? I think I’d have to vote for the Grilled Walu with shiitake mushrooms, pearl onions and tosazu. Well done Akira Back!