By Jacqueline Monahan
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Encore’s Wazuzu is a Winner for Wynn

The first thing you notice is the dragon.

Wazuzu means “nine dragons” in Chinese, and although you’ll only find one on the premises, it’s a spectacular display.  The 27- foot, pure crystal creature (90,000 Swarovski crystals to be exact) adorns the entire back wall of the casually elegant eatery as if it had the dexterity of a fly.  The fire here comes not from its breath, but from the icy inferno its sparkling serpentine shape emits when struck by the 2400 twinkling lights on an accent wall.

Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

The restaurant has an open air feeling as if you’re sitting in a very elegant front porch, unwalled on two sides and facing the casino floor.  Large golden pear sculptures adorn the entrance and the décor reflects the Chinese belief that the color red is good luck.  Chairs, walls, draperies and the carpet proclaim their vivid presence in that majestic shade, while bleached wood wall panels and beige booths soothe the eyes with a charming contrast.

wazuzu dragon

Executive Chef Jet Tila incorporates Thai, Japanese and Indian influences to the cuisine, which he refers to as Pan Asian Bistro.  That means that the food is kept in its purest form, reflecting the flavors of individual regions, including China, Korea and Viet Nam.  Tila’s varied offerings include Chinese Dim Sum, Thai Beef Salad, and Korean Galbi Short Ribs.  A Roti Panang is served with Indian flatbread.

Sushi and Sashimi are prepared by Master Sushi Chef Masaru Matsuura.  A daily tank-to-table special is offered for those who like their fish so fresh it’s still moving on the plate (no kidding).  Traditional and innovative offerings feature flying fish roe, sea urchin, fluke, eel, and octopus.  There’s no shortage of shellfish either.  Lobster, crab and prawns all have starring roles on the menu.  Here Toro does not mean bull, but a prized, fatty bluefin tuna belly from which countless creations can be fashioned.  Such culinary seafood magic at work in the middle of a desert makes the feat all the more impressive.
As an entree, the Steamed Rockfish with ginger and scallions (market price) makes a remarkable presentation in a bowl rather than a plate. Served whole, it is a tender, white-fleshed fish, and although you must navigate its many bones, you will find the delicate taste so worthwhile you’ll hardly mind.

wazuzu sculptures

The Miso Marinated Black Cod was moist and firm, and came in a thick filet.  Ginger and sake got to the white flesh before I did, leaving their mark in a most flavorful way.  Thai-style Panang Chicken Curry (an aromatic coconut curry) arrived with seasonal vegetables and brown rice, always a pleasure to find on the menu.

House-made Coconut Crunch Ice Cream and Mango Sorbet do more than clear the palate after dinner.  They are taste sensations that will have you praising tropical regions for the fruits they produce.  These frozen confections seemed to distill the flavors into more intense versions of themselves when left to melt on the tongue.

Wazuzu’s dragon may not be able to fly, but its chef’s creations continually strive for new heights, whether by season, region, or imagination.  And that’s just what you’d expect from a man named Jet.

For further information:

Encore/Wynn Las Vegas
3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV, 89109
(702) 770-7000
Sunday - Thursday, 11:30 am-10:30 pm.
Friday & Saturday, 11:30 am-11:30 pm.

Reservations Optional

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