Taste

Kabuto: The new sushi standard

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Simple design equals seriously amazing sushi.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

Kabuto Edomae Sushi is an unabashed gem. The attention to detail at the latest restaurant from local Japanese mogul Takashi Segawa—who also owns Monta, Goyemon and Sushi Mon—is remarkable. From the hint of citrus wafting from the Japanese cypress sushi bar to the 3-year-old imported artisan shoyu (soy sauce) to the wooden fish-cooling boxes, Kabuto is unlike any other sushi outing you’ve ever experienced.

Minimalist doesn’t begin to describe Kabuto, which sits sign-less like a speakeasy in the Chinatown plaza that’s also home to Monta, Raku and Nakamura-Ya. Kabuto serves two meals—the nigiri course for $48 and the omakase course for $80—both designed nightly by the chef. Nigiri (pieces of fish over rice) and some sides are also available a la carte, and the remaining menu options are beverages. That’s it.

The nigiri and omakase courses both feature an aperitif sake, an appetizer, nigiri, a hand roll and dessert. The omakase also includes sashimi, a grilled offering and soup. The other main difference: the number of nigiri. The omakase comes with six, while the nigiri course gets you 10. With either, you’ll have the chance to order additional pieces. Trust me, you’ll want to.

The Details

Kabuto Edomae Sushi
5040 W. Spring Mountain Road #4, 676-1044.
Monday-Saturday, 6-11 p.m.

The sushi list changes daily, and while akami (bluefin tuna) and ma-aji (jack mackerel) are usually on it, there are lots of outliers. Houbou (gunard), anyone? How about renko dai (deep-sea porgy)? Or isaki (striped pig)? Is that even a fish?

The nigiri—most of which feature fish direct from Japan—are served individually and intended to be eaten immediately. The fish is meticulously set atop warm, vinegary rice. A hint of the storied shoyu arrives with your sashimi, but it’s whisked away for the nigiri. Kabuto doesn’t give you an opportunity to ruin your meal.

The best seats here are at the sushi bar, where the surgeon-like showmanship of second-generation sushi master Gen-san is evident. His preparation is meticulous, and the deliberate exclusion of the ubiquitous sushi refrigeration case allows for an up-front view of his knife skills.

Kabuto seats just 18 (10 at the bar, the rest at two tables), but reservations aren’t impossible to come by—not yet, at least. When you make one, keep this in mind: Gen-san receives his Tokyo shipments on Tuesdays and Fridays, so selections are bound to be best those nights. Consider yourself part of the in-crowd now.

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Jim Begley is an avid food lover who began writing about his Las Vegas dining adventures to defray his obscene ...

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