VegasEats: Wazuzu at Encore Las Vegas
Pan Asian Samurai With A Side Order Of Kung Fu Girl
Wazoozoo. Wazhuzhu. Wajuju. Three different - yet accurate - ways to pronounce the name of Chef Jet Tila's restaurant at Encore Las Vegas, Wazuzu. It's fitting for a restaurant that explores dishes from at least three Asian culture cuisines would be saddled with a consonant-flexible and sonorously spicy name. All we can hope going in is that Wazuzu's attempt at pan-Asian cuisine is better defined than the 'throw all asian cuisines into a pan and mix it up' that has given eastern fusion a bad name.
We arrived at Wazuzu and were seated immediately at one of the tables in the center of the restaurant. In addition to traditional table seating, Wazuzu offers high tables and booth seating with lay-z-susans for family style dining. My dining companion, Rich jumped on the wine list (which makes sense - he is the official wino tripper) and jumped for joy at the sight of Kung Fu Girl, a 2008 Riesling from Washington based winemaker Charles Smith - and exclaimed that this light sweet wine would be a great companion to a spicy meal. Done and done.
We decided to forego appetizers and jump right into entrees. Rich ordered the Cantonese Style Fried Rice with chicken, and I ordered the Drunken Noodles - fresh rice noodles with Thai basil, sweet soy sauce, chilies and onions, spicy - which arrived in two large bowls, perfect for sharing family style.
The Cantonese Fried Rice (right) was light, fluffy, slightly sweet and tangy. The shreds of egg were like mini pillows of creamy yum tossed about within. The chicken was cooked perfectly - tender and juicy inside with a very subtle crust. A perfectly balanced dish whose subtleties gained in complexity as the meal progressed.
The Drunken Noodles (left) was a bold cascade of flavors, sweetness of the soy sauce balanced by the tangy onions and acidity of the occasional cherry tomatoes driven home by firecracker hot chilies. A perfect counterpoint to the Cantonese Fried Rice and their Kung Fu Girl Riesling accompanist.
Throughout the meal, Rich and I bellowed on and on about every forkful that touched our lips, scooping spoonful upon spoonful of these delicacies onto our plates until both bowls were literally scraped clean of nearly every morsel served us.
Total bill, with wine + tax : $67 + gratuity... which we both felt was a bargain. Highly recommended.