Bisha Hotel’s Chef Akira Back Eats His Way Across Las Vegas
BY AMANDA SCRIVER
When it was announced that celebrity chef Akira Back would be opening his very own namesake restaurant in Toronto inside the Bisha Hotel, the city buzzed with excitement. After all, Akira Back was at one point, one of the youngest executive chefs to work under Nobu Matsuhisa. Before the Akira Back opening at Bisha, diners would have to travel all the way to Las Vegas to experience his mouth-watering cuisine. In Vegas, Akira Back already had three, extremely successful establishments: Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge in the Bellagio; Korean-American Kumi Japanese Restaurant & Bar, a spirited take on Korean-American; classic Korean dishes at Michelin-starred Dosa.
Now that Akira Back is in Toronto serving up upscale Japanese cuisine, we’re soaking up his food knowledge. His expertise? Las Vegas dining—and it’s not just the fancy stuff. Here, Akira Back dishes on the best local eats and fine dining restaurants that he frequents in Vegas.
WHERE TO EAT LIKE A LOCAL:
HOBAK KOREAN BBQ
Akira Back visits Hobak at least once a week. On the menu, you can find different cuts of meats to grill up on the Korean BBQ, like spicy boneless short ribs, pork jowl, angus brisket and more. But the best value for your money is the family combo, a combination of different cuts of black angus beef and premium heritage pork including short ribs, pork belly, and brisket. Be forewarned: their seasonings and marinades are on the spicy side.
If you’re looking for a dining option that is off the strip, then Chef Akira recommends heading to Raku. It’s one of the hidden gems of Las Vegas, offering traditional Japanese dining stalls; dimly lit private seating for four-to-six people. The plates are small and meant to share, so order several dishes for you and your tablemates. Some recommendations are the house-made tofu, garlic kobe beef, and Yellowtail with glazed soy sauce.
LOTUS OF SIAM
According to Serious Eats, Lotus of Siam is the ‘best Thai restaurant in America’. Getting a co-sign from Akira Back can only adds to its credibility. The menu offers over 150 Northern Thai and speciality menu items ranging from classic curries and noodle dishes. The khao soi crispy duck and garlic prawns, do not disappoint.
WHERE TO DINE FINELY:
JOËL ROBUCHON AT MGM GRAND
Having earned itself three Michelin stars, dining Joël Robuchon’s will garner you the most unique food experience of a lifetime. Serving the finest dishes in French cuisine, diners can try the 12-course tasting menu, which costs upwards of $200 USD. While the tasting menu is expensive, the experience is worth every single penny. With over 12 courses, from sea urchin flan on coffee foam to caviar served with a crustacean gelée, you’ll be using all five of your senses during this meal.
CARBONE AT ARIA RESORT & CASINO LAS VEGAS
Carbone owners Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick brought their pricey Italian eatery, which already has locations in Greenwich Village and Hong Kong, to Vegas. Doors opened in 2015 inside the Aria Resort & Casino. Like their other locations, guests are greeted with a basket of freshly baked bread and pickled things—it’s a down-to-earth touch, for a fine-dining restaurant. The pasta is freshly made in-house—guests rave about the spicy rigatoni vodka.
SCARPETTA, AT THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS
If you’re looking for seasonally-inspired Italian fare, head down to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and you’ll find Scarpetta by Scott Conant. The restaurant overlooks the Bellagio fountain, providing the most idyllic Las Vegas atmosphere. Needless to say, the food however is the main showstopper. The spaghetti is a standout plate—Italian red sauce at its finest. Scarpetta also offers a gluten-free and vegetarian options. Some other plates of note include the duck and foie gras ravioli and diver scallops.