Hubby is lathering up in the shower and getting ready for a nice meal out. I’m thirty minutes into my Googling and still need to pick out a restaurant. There’s just nothing calling to me tonight.
It’s only my second time in Sin City, and I’m already starting to tire of the flashing neons and large crowds. What I need is some good food and a drink that doesn’t glow.
Where can I find the best food in Las Vegas? Best lobster in Vegas?
I’m always in charge of choosing the restaurants and treasure this marital responsibility. Get it right, and you have an unforgettable meal to talk about for years. And what a shame to miss out on that tonight — did we come to Las Vegas to eat banquet food swimming in nondescript sauce in the main dining room of some hotel casino?
No, so that’s why I’m doing this homework. Reading all the menu items, checking the reviews, and looking at the photos.
The photos are especially important. Crab and lobster fried rice with seasonal ingredients might sound delicious, but if you don’t check the photos, you might spend your evening washing down a sad Styrofoam bowl of pink pulverized fish and week-old rice with low sodium soy sauce.
Then again, it’s a Saturday night, and we don’t have a reservation, so I might need to get creative.
Where to eat fresh fish in Las Vegas? Best seafood in Las Vegas?
Sure, there are delicious choices all around us. Maybe I could go for some sushi. Are there good sushi restaurants in Las Vegas?
Caesars Palace hosts the incomparable sushi restaurant Nobu from Nobu Matsuhisa. We could swap olive oil for sesame oil and dine on fresh Mediterranean fish at Amalfi from Bobby Flay. But is the best seafood only to be found at Caesars Palace?
You see, hubby and I live in LA, and there is no shortage of eastern and western flavors to enjoy. We’ve already basked in the Omakase options at Nobu Malibu and indulged in the one-of-a-kind small plates and mouth-dropping Japanese dishes at n/naka.
So, that’s not the Las Vegas experience I’m searching for right now.
Best sushi Las Vegas with no reservations? Local sushi bars in Las Vegas?
There are a lot of sushi options popping up on and outside the strip. But an expansive menu with creative rolls and a sushi counter doesn’t always mean good Japanese food or even fresh seasonal fish. Anyway, this isn’t the night for spicy tuna rolls and teriyaki salmon. I want something different.
I’m down for a culinary tribute to Japan, but I want it to wow me. I’m talking about fresh ingredients and delicious cocktails. Don’t get me wrong, food isn’t the only measure of a good night out. We’re dressing up a bit — it’s Las Vegas, after all — so we still want a memorable environment. A Koi pond wouldn’t hurt.
Ideally, it should be somewhere I can lean back with a martini and say, “This is great.” Oh, you know what goes great with martinis? Oysters! Can you get oysters in the Nevada desert?
Best oyster bars in Las Vegas? Best oysters and sushi in Las Vegas?
And there it is — Other Mama — the raw bar of my dreams masquerading as one of the many sushi restaurants filling the outskirts of the Las Vegas Strip. It’s just sitting there on a “Top 12 List” like an uncharted peak at the end of a spring mountain road. Sitting and waiting for any daring adventurers looking for more than the typical spicy avocado roles and tuna nigiri.
My heart excitedly skips a beat as I start to dig in. Other Mama doesn’t look like the other sushi restaurants in Las Vegas. There aren’t any teppanyaki tables, and the menu isn’t full of eel sauce or yellowtail sashimi poke.
In fact, it seems like the inside of this sushi restaurant is fashioned more after an ocean-themed gastropub than Sushi Kaya (a familiar casual sushi joint in Las Vegas). I can probably still dress in a sundress and sandals without needing to break my ankle in exchange for some fresh fish.
As I peruse the menu items, I see sashimi plates that are as refined as those from Masaharu Morimoto and Nobu Matsuhisa — check.
And yes, a little more digging, and I see this is a chef-driven sushi restaurant — check — that blends eastern traditions and Japanese food with modern trends — double check.
I see fresh fish and a creative drink menu — check, check — and it seems to cater to local sushi lovers and industry folks — check.
OK, that’s the last criteria checked off. The only potential problem — it’s a 20 minute Uber ride, the next available reservation isn’t for two hours, and we’re already STARVING. But that’s easily forgiven once I remind myself that I’ve found the best seafood and cocktails that Las Vegas offers without the upcharge.
I grab the only reservation left on OpenTable, and it’s my turn for that shower.
Trust Me, Go Inside
The sun is starting to set, and as we Uber away (or maybe it was Lyft, I pick the best deal) from the bright lights of the strip, I feel my body starting to relax. I heave a deep, happy sigh of relief as my husband starts his rideshare ritual of peppering the driver with questions.
Are you from here? Do you like it? Do locals visit downtown?
It’s a familiar and comfortable dance, and my mind starts to drift off as I take in the neighborhoods zooming past my window. Suddenly, we’re pulling into a nondescript strip mall, and the driver is looking back at us, unsure.
Is this the place?
Well, the address looks right, so we hesitantly open the car door to exit. The boiling Las Vegas air rushes into the air-conditioned backseat. I’m searching for a sign to tell me that we’re in the right place. The driver sits idling in the parking lot. I think he’s worried we might end up needing a ride back sooner than expected.
It’s not Caesars Palace, true — I’m comparing a lot of things to Caesars Palace — and it honestly doesn’t even present itself to the outer world as a restaurant, but we’re not going to be deterred by a little real estate. We’re hungry, and we were promised lobster, sushi, and oysters! We wave our driver on and open the mirrored doors to the restaurant.
Ambiance Makes or Breaks a Restaurant
As we step into the dim lighting of the dining room, we’re greeted cheerily by a host and immediately seated in the middle of a charming room. The lights are low, and dark wood fills the room with a warm and welcoming embrace. I immediately feel like we’ve been invited into the hull of someone’s 1897 ship embarking on a journey to Japan. All apprehension birthed in the parking lot swiftly washes away as we set sail.
Another friendly staff member swoops over to our table and — down on one knee — walks us through the menu. Happily, he introduces himself as a veteran industry professional with a loyal streak for his favorite restaurant. When asked what he recommends, he cheerily responds “everything” but, in particular, points us towards the raw bar. Next, he gestures at the tiny chalkboards on the far wall.
Jackpot! Daily selections and seasonal favorites are squeezed together in white chalk, begging us to experiment.
Before we settle into our menu reading, he guides us through the bar program — named Sea ‘Tails, in homage to the tasteful sea theme making itself known throughout.
I’m sold when I see horseradish and vodka in the same description. The Svetlana immediately becomes my drink, and she doesn’t play around. House-infused Horseradish vodka, Becherovka (a Czech herbal liquor that lends a hint of bitterness to this masterpiece), lemon and ginger syrup meld together in sweet, spicy, and savory harmony.
I order one to go with our oysters (which we’ve already expressed our interest in), and it quickly becomes the drink I know I’ll dream about for years.
If vodka isn’t your cup of “Sea,” you’ll find plenty of other brews, wines, and “Virgin ‘Tails” to whet your whistle. The sake program is strong, and the drinks are uniquely crafted to pair with the food menu.
It doesn’t strike me as an expansive menu, but that’s not a negative in my book. Japan has more to offer than sushi, and I came to this restaurant for the raw bar and creative drinks. I feel validated when I see that the Raw Bar fills a quarter of the menu.
Order the oysters, of course, but the paper-thin Seared Albacore Tataki floating delicately in garlic, ginger, daikon, and scallion will reshape your understanding of tuna sashimi.
Sushi Menu / Sashimi Menu
Rolls, Specialty Rolls, and Signature Rolls
It doesn’t look like sushi rolls are the main event at this decidedly low-key restaurant. The menu isn’t filled with cute but indecipherable names like Vegas Bomber or Spider Roll (there aren’t any spiders, right?).
That’s OK — I don’t want to spend 15 minutes translating a creative vision to eat sushi. Sushi restaurants are far more enjoyable when the chef curates the selection for their guests.
If you eat sushi, you should eat sushi made with good rice, love, and fresh seafood like salmon, yellowtail, crab, or tuna. I’m happy to let Head Chef Dan Krohmer highlight the fish in his maki rolls without the fancy names: rock shrimp tempura + spicy tuna + avocado or eel + blue crab + avocado.
Nigiri and Sashimi
Tonight, I want to eat sushi that is delicate and refined. Sometimes, sushi rolls don’t deliver that melt-in-your-mouth, velvety dream like nigiri and sashimi do. I typically lean towards the Edomae Sushi style. Individual pieces of raw or marinated fish, like yellowtail or salmon, are featured alone atop vinegar-marked rice. Edomae Sushi is similar to or synonymous with nigiri, and I’m happy to see that I can enjoy the chef’s choice of daily sashimi or nigiri for a reasonable price.
From the Kitchen
Other Mama has much more than sushi rolls to offer its guests. The second half of this menu is dedicated to entrees from the kitchen.
Some dishes surprise me, like the umami bombs found in the French Toast Caviar and the completely vegan Agedashi Tofu — an impossibly soft tofu, lightly breaded and wading in a flavorful ginger soy broth. You’ll be finished in a flash and wish you ordered two more portions of both. Don’t turn back now; there are many more treasures to discover.
Many of these items are small plates and portioned to be enjoyed in the plural. However, if you’re looking for a heartier portion, there are some great options like the Chicken Fried Lobster and Spicy Miso Ribs. You can enjoy the spicy, bright bite of lemon zest in the Shishito Peppers (also vegan) to cut through the richer dishes.
There might not be a turf roll on this mostly surf menu — you’ll find that in spades at the popular Jjanga Steak and Sushi nearby — but if you’re craving red meat, you can still enjoy a taste of Japan with the Prime New York Steak served with miso hollandaise and hand-cut Togarashi waffle fries.
Don’t Skip Dessert
We’re seven dishes and four drinks in by the end of our sea journey, but we have the excellent sense to order the homemade key lime pie. If you’re lucky enough to sail the seas at Other Mama, I hope you have the good sense to do the same. You’ll be savoring it the whole way back to your hotel.
Miranda, a food and travel blogger for Travel Breakdown, loves to travel the world with the love of her life, eating and drinking her way through different cultures. Her ultimate joy stems from the simple yet profound act of relishing a delightful meal in the company of people she cherishes.