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Las Vegas Trip Report

Author: Jaco
Date of Trip: April 2008



Our table wasn't quite ready, so we had a few obligatory cocktails. Whale Jo and I opted for the Macha Tini. It's a greenish concoction that was a perfect salve for my wounded gaming soul. Whale Jo-ette had some pomegranate dealio that tasted like it had no booze – the waiter called it a sniper drink. Uh oh.

Eventually we were ushered to our seats – a very nice table with a perfect view of the Wynn water feature. I know I'm drinking the Wynn Kool-Aid, but how can you not like the Zen feel of Okada? As chaotic and claustrophobic as SW Steakhouse was, Okada exudes the exact opposite. There is space, there is perfect lighting, there is architecture that makes SENSE . . . I wish, I really wish, Stevie had opted to put Murphy Beds in Okada . . . I'd pay big bucks to be able to cuddle up in a soft bed after a meal here . . . not for the night mind you – just a little me time to allow my stomach, liver, and brain to take a breather from the punishment.

Allow me to summarize our dining experience:

Appetizers:

We ordered basically the same thing as last year. The blue ribbon prize winner of the bunch clearly was the popcorn rock shrimp – multiple orders – 'nuf said. We also went back to the lobster with uni – it was good – but something was slightly askew with the doneness of the lobster. No biggy – our fault for dipping into the well again. Whale Jo also opted for some sort of goose liver dish – he wanted something decadent. I did not take a bite of this, so I can't report.

Sushi:

An A+ with one little transgression. I ordered for the table and opted for a selection of maguro, chu-toro, toro-oh, kampachi, albacore, and salmon. Every piece, save one, was perfect temperature, perfect consistency, perfect size, and perfectly perfect. I dare say that each fish that gave up its life, so that a matchbox size of its flesh could make sweet love to my mouth, is proudly smiling in fish heaven. That, or I have an overactive imagination regarding good food. Either way – this sushi rocks.

But . . . there was one piece of toro that should have been sent back to the chef. I could see from looking at it that the chef likely cut this one a little to close to the bone or tail or fin – or whatever fishy body part that allows a gigantic piece of sinew to ingratiate itself into the meat. Ugh, I shudder recounting this. But here I go . . .

I reached down with my chopsticks, fully aware that I might encounter something that was completely unchewable. I put the fish in my mouth and commenced masticating. First chew – nice. Second chew – nicer. Hey, maybe my eyes had deceived me! Third chew . . . .

Sound the alarms! Sound the alarms!

It felt like I was biting into the webbed foot of a duck . . . my teeth quickly retracted and I tried a tentative bit. Smooth. OK, maybe that tough piece of whatever had dissolved. I threw some sake in my mouth just in case. I bit again.

Holy . . .

My teeth stuck to whatever it was . . . stuck! Abandon ship! Abandon ship! My eyes started to water . . . if I could just manage to quickly unhook my teeth . . . I tried . . . no luck. I began to get worried . . . it would only be another second before . . . too late.

My gag reflux had been initiated.

I smiled politely at Whale Jo and Joette, pretending that I had the hiccups.

"Anything wrong Jaco?" I shook my head and dumped some more sake in my mouth. Ahhh. That loosened my teeth and I was able to chew again.

But I could not break down the gristle . . . I was left with two choices – either I could discreetly spit it out into my napkin and then worry the rest of the night that it might fall out at some inopportune moment, or I could try swallowing and risk throwing up, or worse, choking. The thought of feeling the jagged edges of sinew rub against my neck made me gag some more.

I had to choose now, or things would get real bad.



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