[The Spectacle Circuit]

Sushi Roku is an excellent example of the Forum Shops’ dining decadence

Going big: Like many restaurants at the Forum Shops, Sushi Roku is about much more than its namesake food.
Claire Thomas
Andy Wang

Sushi Roku, where in 2007 I ate a $225 Ultra Highroller Roll with toro, Kobe beef, spiny lobster tempura, white truffles, Beluga caviar and 24-carat gold flakes, is an OG Spectacle Circuit destination. Despite its difficult-to-find location on the third floor of the Forum Shops at Caesars, it’s been a popular restaurant for the beautiful and well-heeled who purchased those heels downstairs. They come to eat consistently good Asian fusion.

There are creative sushi rolls, of course, like the crab dynamite with curry mayo. There are pristine sushi tastings with fish that’s carefully sauced and garnished. There’s the delightful nori senbei that’s like chips with sour-cream dip, except the chips are made with seaweed and the dip is wasabi cream. There are potstickers stuffed with American Wagyu beef. A meal could also include delicate, nuanced specialties like a colorful tuna and beet carpaccio or oysters with chili ponzu. On a recent visit, I enjoyed a texture bomb of pork belly over crispy rice.

Sushi Roku has thrived at the Forum Shops since opening in 2004.

Sushi Roku has thrived at the Forum Shops since opening in 2004.

Unlike other sushi strongholds, there are Strip views from this perch, which has been enhanced with something the restaurant has wanted for years but finally got clearance to add in 2015: signs on its Strip-facing windows to let the sushi-loving masses walking by know what awaits upstairs.

Even without the signage, Sushi Roku, part of a hip, celebrity-friendly chain of restaurants based in LA, has thrived since it opened in 2004. It makes more money than all the other Sushi Rokus except the one in Santa Monica (although the new Newport Beach outpost should chart near the top in its first year).

The Forum Shops is a perfect, logical place for Sushi Roku. The upscale mall has long been home to grand, familiar restaurants with legacies and ultra-rich regulars around the country. Walk in from the street and you’ll see an outpost of South Beach’s Joe’s Stone Crab and LA’s Border Grill. Enter from the casino side and there’s Wolfgang Puck’s Spago—still one of the dominant players in Beverly Hills—and New York City’s the Palm. Sharing the third floor with Sushi Roku is New York’s Il Mulino.

These are all places where Spectacle Circuit crowds have swarmed for years, in some cases for decades, when the idea of coming to see and be seen didn’t involve tweeting or Instagramming every show-off move. But these places are fun in 2015, too, if you want to post pictures of your colossal crab claws at Joe’s or the endless parade of small plates at Mary Sue Milliken’s and Susan Feniger’s excellent Border Brunch.

By the way, Sushi Roku’s Ultra Highroller Roll—with its ridiculously decadent combo headlined by marbled beef, fatty tuna, and the crackle of caviar—is now available on request for an inflation-adjusted $280. If you’re one of those people who believes that you should pay for experiences instead of things, maybe put it on your bucket list. Go buy a bottle at Omnia afterward and that roll might even feel like a bargain. Even on the Spectacle Circuit, it’s easy to find perspective.

Tags: Dining, Food
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