I’m a sucker for the Benihana Village at the Westgate, one of the last vestiges of hokey Vegas lounging on or around the Strip. It’s even easier to enjoy right now, because the Westgate has updated the other mini-eateries surrounding the teppan-yaki palace in this quaint garden setting, most recently installing the cozy robata grill Bar Sake.
Modern, flavorful and fun, this is the ideal way to eat and drink in this venue. If a cool, clean bottle of Sho Chiku Bai Nigori ($18) isn’t your jam, get the sweet-and-sour, tequila-and-cucumber Japanese Daisy ($13) or the robust Ginger Kamikaze ($13) to pair with cold starters like tuna tataki ($13) or spicy hamachi sashimi ($14). Next up is something hot and crispy: softshell crab ($14) or salmon tempura ($17).
Now you’ve got some drinks and snacks in you. Order another round and select the meats and veggies you want on your smoky, charcoal-grilled skewers. Fatty and rich pork belly ($6) and bacon-wrapped asparagus ($4) are absolute musts. Purists will opt for Wagyu beef ($15) and chicken thigh with green onion ($5). For something decadent, check out the miso-glazed black cod ($7), a mainstay in any Japanese restaurant that gets new depth of flavor from the robata grill. Veggie options like shiitake mushroom, shishito pepper and baby corn (all $4) are lovely complements to your meat and seafood choices.
Vegas hotels built quaint corners like the Village so visitors could feel like they were somewhere other than Vegas. After a light, satisfying and sake-fueled meal here, you’re going to feel great no matter where you think you are.
BAR SAKE Westgate, 702-732-5755. Daily, 5-10:30 p.m.