Dish of the Day – Crispy Stir-Fried Goodness!

So I’ve decided that since I need to visit a restaurant a couple of times prior to doing a review, a lot of good meals and dishes are stagnating before I get back to them and I’m not really providing a ton of content for anyone to read. In an attempt to remedy this situation, I’ve decided to highlight a dish of the day since that is an overall less daunting task and I seem to have a lot of dishes that I’d love to talk about. My hope is this is something I can keep up on a daily basis (generally speaking, that is) with a couple of ground rules:

  1. The dish should be readily available to anyone and not something special cooked up by the Chef and unavailable to others, since where would the fun be in that?!? That would just amount to bragging and is unkind.
  2. I will try to keep it focused on everyday menu dishes but every once in a while a special might just have to be highlighted.
  3. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

That’s it…there’s the rules. Without further ado, I present the first dish!


Given it’s previous accolades as the Best Chinese Restaurant in Las Vegas, this place is not a secret and it is widely considered to have some of the best xiaolongbao on the West Coast. Besides the XLB, I could’ve picked any number of dishes off the menu to highlight but I chose the one that the Wife and I always seem to gravitate to – the stir fried crispy beef ($10.95).

Stir fried crispy goodness!

It’s a simple dish consisting of a stir-fried (surprise!) combination of beef, carrots and green peppers. What makes this dish extraordinary is the sauce – a sweet, smoky concoction dished out in ample portions. Ordered with a side of white rice to provide a textural balance while rounding out the sweetness of the dish itself, its the perfect combination. Try it with any of the variety of fruit smoothies available at this former bank building and you’ve got one of the best Chinese dishes in town!

Where’s it at?

China Mama

3420 South Jones Boulevard (on the western outskirts of Chinatown)


The Love Affair Continues

Our infatuation with Sen of Japan continues in this latest article in the Las Vegas Weekly – this is just a focus on one specific dish. Though I typically have a rule forbidding the addition of fruit into my sushi, I’ve to break it for the No. 17 – the spicy spider roll. The sweetness of the mango is muted somewhat with the searing and is a great compliment to the overall dish. We don’t know how Chef Shinji does it, but we’re glad he does!

Sushi 101

As published in the June issue of David LV magazine, a primer on sushi that accompanied that article on Sen of Japan.

Sushi 101

Sushi can be a somewhat intimidating, so here’s our cheat sheet to help get you through.

Typical Types of Sushi

Nigiri (ne-gear-ee)– The most common type of sushi, where a single piece of fish is placed upon vinegared rice with a dab of Japanese horseradish, or wasabi (wah-saw-bee)

Maki (mack-ee)– Rolled sushi with ingredients wrapped in rice and nori (nor-ee, Japanese seaweed)

Temaki (teh-mack-ee)– hand-rolls of nori that look like ice cream cones filled with a variety of ingredients

Uramaki (your-ah-mack-ee)– inside-out rolls where the sushi rice is on the outside


Rice is typically mixed with a dressing of rice vinegar, sugar and salt, and is quite glutinous, allowing for its use as the base for nigiri sushi. You may notice it tastes different than standard white rice.

Nori  (nor-ee) is a common ingredient in many types of sushi. It is usually deep green and thick enough to hold in food while pliable enough to wrap in various ways.


Accompanying your order are soy sauce, or shoyu (show-you); sliced, pickled ginger, or gari (gar-ee) and wasabi.

Shoyu is available in both regular and low-sodium versions (the bottle of the low-sodium one usually has a green top). I’ve never been able to tell the difference in taste so I always opt for low-sodium to benefit my blood pressure.

Gari runs the color gambit from pale yellow to bright pink. I’ve found that the more pale it is, the better, since the pink color comes from food coloring. It is intended to be eaten between dishes as a palate cleanser.

What you’re likely to get on your table isn’t true wasabi, but either a mix of American horseradish, mustard and coloring or wasabi that has been reduced to powder and then reconstituted. The real wasabi served at Sen is grated, not the neon green color that we are used to, and much milder in flavor.

Wasabi and shoyu are combined in a small saucer that you use throughout the meal. How much wasabi you mix in is a personal preference; the real key is how to use it. First, never dip the rice directly into the shoyu. The rice will absorb too much of the sauce and it will start to fall apart. Instead, dip in the fish side, and do it sparingly to avoid overpowering the taste of the sushi itself. If the sushi already comes with sauce, it may not need shoyu at all. If you’re at all confused, feel free to ask your chefs or servers.


If you’ve always struggled with chopsticks, you’ll be happy to learn that it is perfectly acceptable to eat most nigiri with your fingers. The only times you’re expected to use chopsticks is with sashimi and if the nigiri comes with a sauce already on it.