This is the seventh post in the series titled An Exploration of Asian Food in Vegas. Other posts in this series include Red Rock Casino and Resort, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill, Exploring Downtown Las Vegas, Mr. Chow, and Lotus of Siam.
Tao is best known as a popular nightclub that's located inside the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip. This 10,000 square foot nightclub has seen the likes of Madonna, Usher, Kim Kardashian, and Bono, just to name a few. The nightclub is open Thursday through Saturday evenings.
Another part of Tao that is open all days of the week is Tao Asian Bistro. Tao Asian Bistro is the restaurant side that serves a variety of Asian dishes with influences from China, Japan, and Thailand. The dining space is huge and very impressive, with a multi-story tall Buddha, an infinity koi pool filled with Japanese goldfish, and even waterfalls. It's impressive, over-the-top, and oh-so-Vegas.
I really didn't know what to expect.
Usually when I hear about a restaurant that offer food from so many different Asian countries, I become a bit suspicious. It's hard to execute so many diverse dishes and make them all really good. However, the quality of food on the Strip is quite high, and of all places, I could imagine the Venetian having the resources to hire talented chefs to pull of food from many different geographical regions.
So I was curious to see what the food was like.
Sushi and Sashimi
The menu is massive and covers all types of food. The restaurant has a full sushi bar, thus the menu includes a wide variety of sushi and sashimi. There are also many creative maki rolls with all sorts of fun, crowd-pleasing ingredients, like the TAO Angry Dragon Roll with eel and kabayaki sauce or the Spring Mountain Roll with spicy king crab and lobster, spicy tuna, and avocado.
We started with a Soy Paper Roll ($16) filled with crunchy quinoa, shrimp, tuna, and salmon. I found it light and refreshing (tasted healthy!), but lacking much flavor.
The Small Plates section includes all different types of appetizers, such as lobster wontons, Thai crab cakes, a TAO temple salad, and much, much more. Prices range from $10 to $22.
We started with this creative version of sushi called Spicy Tuna Tartare on Crispy Rice. Shaped like nigiri, the tuna on top of the rice was actually chopped tuna mixed with Asian flavors (maybe some spicy mayo). A crispy rice cylinder, sort of like aranchini, replaced the normal white rice in sushi. The overall bite had classic flavors that were enjoyable, but not particularly exciting. The crispy rice was fun, and I enjoyed the dish.
There is a separate, small Dim Sum section that includes various types of dumplings, baos, and spring rolls ($13 to $19). There are also a few Soups, like Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp Toast, Miso Soup with Tofu and Manilla Clams, and Spicy Thai Dumpling Soup. Prices range from $11- $13 a bowl.
There's a small BBQ section that serves dishes like roast pork, short ribs, and spare ribs ($14 - $19). There's also Tempura that's served a la carte, $4 - $10 per order for deep fried and breaded vegetables (e.g., sweet potato, asparagus, avocado) or seafood (shrimp, scallops).
Noble Treasure From the Sea
There is a sizeable seafood section on the menu that covers all sorts of fish and shellfish ($31 - $48). We loved the Miso-Glaze Chilean Seabass (not pictured - $39),one of their signature dishes that has been on the menu since opening day. It was delicious - super soft and tender with sweet umami flavors.
I also loved the flavors of the Crispy Snapper in the Sand ($42), which was covered with a delicious spice mix that was salt, crunchy, spicy, and SUPER ADDICTIVE. I did not love the texture of the fish (I found it to be a bit tough and "steak-y"), but the flavors of the spicy crunchy topping made up for it.
From the Sky
Bryan loves Peking Duck. In fact, we sought it out almost every meal when we were in Beijing. It's much harder to find in Boston (usually you have to pre-order it), so we couldn't help but be drawn to the Peking Duck for Two ($39 per person).
The preparation here is very authentic and classic, with pancakes and accompanying scallions, cucumbers, and hoisin sauce. It's pretty good. We took leftovers back to our hotel and enjoyed the rest of it at the airport the next day. It was still quite good cold.
From the Land
Their Grilled 12-oz Imperial Wagyu Ribeye with Crispy Onion Strings ($85) was phenomenal. The meat was grilled perfectly. I loved the crunchy texture of the crispy onion strings, which were great together with the tender and rich Wagyu beef. Yum!
The menu also includes other less extravagant options, such as other cuts of Wagyu beef, dry-aged prime beef, and pork dishes ranging in price between $31 and $54.
Sophisticated Noodles and Rice
The Noodles and Rice section has many, many types of fried rice representing Thailand, China, and even Korea. There are several popular noodles, like Pad Thai, Singapore Mei Fun Noodles, and Chinese Sausage Fried Rice (prices range from $13 to $32).
My favorite dish of the evening was, surprisingly, was the simple Thai Duck Fried Rice ($17). I was blown away with flavors and aromas from the herbs. I could taste lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, scallions, basil, and more. It was a lovely dish, and definitely a favorite!
From the Sides
There are lots of vegetable-focused sides on the menu, including stir fried Asian greens, spicy eggplant, and XO Chinese long beans ($9 to $13). The special of the day was Brussels Sprouts with Chinese Sausage, which, unfortunately, I found to be reasonable average (I personally still think bacon works better than Chinese sausage in this application).
Dessert made me laugh. The Giant Fortune Cookie is definitely the biggest fortune cookie I have ever seen and eaten. It was filled with white and dark chocolate mousse and served with fresh fruits and ice cream. The mousse was surprisingly tasty, and it's a fun dessert to share with friends.
There are tons of other Asian-inspired desserts on the menu, like Taiwanese shaved ice, yuzu-sugar dusted doughnuts, and even a mochi tasting.
Tao Asian Bistro - General Thoughts
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food here. I didn't expect a place known for its nightclub to focus so much on food, but there are some really good dishes here. It's a fun mix of classic favorites (like Peking duck, for example), and creative fusion dishes.
Favorite for me include the Wagyu steak with Crispy Onions, Thai Duck Fried Rice, and the Crispy Snapper. Prices are on the higher side (consistent with most restaurants on the Strip), but the food is quite enjoyable, and the space is impressive.
Bryan tells me that if you dine at the restaurant you can guarantee entrance to the club (since you can just walk over). Otherwise you might have to stand in line for a bit. We didn't go on a night when the club was open, so I didn't have a chance to visit. However, the restaurant was still very busy and filled with tons of energy and lots of people.
Tao Asian Bistro Las Vegas
3377 South Las Vegas Boulevard
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.