EATER LAS VEGAS
The chef likes to dine at fun Japanese restaurants off the Strip
Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren’t unearthing. To help guide readers to these potential discoveries, Eater Vegas enlisted some of the city’s food players to share their recommendations for a feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Born in South Korea and raised in New Jersey, Sake Rok’s chef Sung Park, admittedly grew up fishing with his father, but when he first tasted sushi at age 4, he wasn’t a fan, at least until he got to high school, when he started to appreciate raw fish. Park worked at a sushi restaurant as an apprentice after high school and by 2008, he moved to Las Vegas to work as the lead sushi chef at SushiSamba at the Grand Canal Shoppes. Five years later, he opened chef Akira Back’s Kumi at Mandalay Bay. In 2016, he joined Sake Rok at The Park. Here the chef shares some of his favorite restaurants in Las Vegas, with a strong emphasis on Japanese fare.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
My first trip to Vegas was when I was 19 or 20 years old. I was visiting my sister to who just moved to L.A. We decided to drive to Vegas together for the weekend. Since we were underage we couldn’t do much. I do remember leaving Vegas to head back to LA and we decided to eat at Golden Steer and it was one of the best meals I’ve had. That’s all I can remember since it was almost two decades ago.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
I decided to move to Vegas so I can work and learn from the best chefs in the world. I packed a few boxes and got a one-way ticket. Luckily I found a job within a week and the rest is history.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
I usually like to eat breakfast and Rise & Shine. My toddler likes their decor and loves their food so I tend to stick to places she’s familiar with. Plus the staff is super friendly.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
One of my favorite places to go to for dinner is Kyara Japanese Tapas. I usually order a bunch of different skewers and their sautéed squid garlic and butter is a must.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
For special occasions I like to go to Lago at the Bellagio. The ambiance and the view is worth it alone especially is you sit on the patio that overlooks the fountains. Their mushroom risotto, lamb ragu, and beef carpaccio are my favorites.
Where do you like to dine that includes good sushi, maybe off the Strip?
Sen of Japan would be one of my favorite local sushi spots. Their food is always consistent and fresh. All of their starters are on point.
Any off-Strip favorite restaurants that are neighborhood gems?
Izakaya Go is a good spot for local chefs. It’s off the freeway so its easy access from anywhere. A lot of local chefs will go there to drink and hang out so there’s a good chance you will run into a chef. Tapas style is the way I like to eat. That way I can try a variety of dishes.