The Bromberg brothers are well known in New York City, where over the past twenty years they have grown their empire to cover all sorts of different restaurants concepts. These include everything from a French brasserie and a bakery to a fried chicken joint and even a bowling alley! All of these restaurants bear the Blue Ribbon brand, which was inspired by Le Cordon Bleu, the culinary school both brothers attended in France.
The Vegas location of Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill was the Bromberg brothers' first foray outside of New York. It opened in 2010 together with the opening of the Cosmopolitan. Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill combines several of the concepts from the smaller New York restaurants into one large restaurant. The combined "Sushi Bar and Grill" serves everything from their famous "Blue Ribbon Style" fried chicken (with wasabi and honey) and various types of grilled steaks to a full sushi and sashimi bar, thanks to a partnership with Chef Toshi Ueki.
The menu consists of several sections. The full sushi bar menu includes all different types of maki, including many creative rolls. There are fun sushi platters, with most people recommending "Toshi's Choice" ($100/person) as the best way to enjoy a variety of the day's best fish.
The menu also has a lot of really creative appetizers ($10 - $22.50), many of which have Japanese influences. There are also cooked entree dishes that are Asian-inspired ($19.50 - $38), as well as a "Tempura & Fryer" section (hello "bucket o'wings") and a substantial "Steak, Chops, and Lobster" section (which is more reminiscent of a steak house).
It was tough to choose between so many things, but we managed to sample several items across the menu, including Toshi's Choice (we split one), several Wagyu-inspired dishes, and some other fun appetizers.
We started Wagyu Beef Tongue ($22.25), an appetizer that came with four slices of tongue topped with stewed daikon, shiitake mushroom, and a black truffle teriyaki sauce. The beef was soft and the flavors were fun.
Though it was expensive, the Seared Wagyu Shikaku ($38) was phenomenal. Four perfectly seared cubes of meat came topped with a tiny bit of scallion, crisped shiitake mushroom, and just a touch of truffle sea salt.
For fun, we tried a special type of sushi made with pan-crisped rice topped with toro tartare, avocado, and caviar. Although the flavor combination was delicious (how can you go wrong with that combination?), I would have preferred normal sushi rice here. In this case, adding another pan-fried component to already very rich toppings just made the whole bite a bit too rich.
We were have a hard time deciding between Toshi's Choice ($100/pereson) and the Blue Ribbon Special ($200). The waiter strongly suggested Toshi's Choice, which he said came with much more interesting and exotic pieces. We considered ordering two orders, but he advised that one would be plenty, since several of the pieces come in pairs or threes anyway (he was right!).
The plate was most certainly very impressive. You can see Toshi's signature cucumber sail boat filled with uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe).
Other exotic items included geoduck (mirugai), and a deep fried prawn head, torso, and legs. And yes, you are supposed to eat the whole thing (crunch crunch)!
There was plenty of sashimi, including salmon, yellowtail, tuna, and various types of white fish.
The tail of the deep fried prawn became part of a roll topped with fatty tuna and avocado.
Here's a photo of the Blue Ribbon Special ($200), which looks insanely impressive and best reserved for much larger parties.
All in all, the food at Blue Ribbon is very good. I wouldn't necessarily come specifically for the sushi (it's solid, but there are better places), but overall it's a fun restaurant that offers a really nice variety of Asian-inspired dishes that are all done quite well.
One important thing to note is that the restaurant in its current incarnation will close soon. A very famous London-based Japanese restaurant Zuma and David Chang's Momofuku will be opening at the Cosmopolitan very soon. In view of the overlap in cuisines, Cosmopolitan has already issued a note stating they they are working with Blue Ribbon to develop an "exciting new concept" for the space. The restaurant will temporarily close in late 2016 for these changes. Hopefully we'll hear more soon.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill
3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
This trip (food, lodging, transportation) was sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. I was not paid to write this post or any other post in this series. All opinions are my own.