The white rounds that decorate the outer walls of Jean Georges Steakhouse represent bone rounds.
Masa Takayama may well be the most famous sushi chef in the United States. He has impressed diners on both coasts with his four-star menus, unassuming charm and artistic dexterity. Now he brings his renowned charisma and cuisine to Las Vegas, joining the impressive restaurant line-up at ARIA Resort & Casino with barMASA and Tetsu.
After graduating from high school, he moved to Tokyo and was hired by a reputable sushi restaurant, Ginza Sushi-ko, as a dishwasher. Intrigued by the genuine joy he perceived in diners, he began to develop an equally genuine interest in the restaurant and its culinary craft. Before long, he moved his way up to sushi chef.
Eight years later, Takayama visited Los Angeles, intent on seeing expanses of flat land entirely antithetical to Japan’s island mountains. He worked at a number of small Japanese restaurants before opening his own Ginza Sushi-ko in Beverly Hills in 1983. Small and intimate – and located in an unglamorous mini-mall – Ginza Sushi-ko quickly attracted a cult-like following and a rare four-star review from The Los Angeles Times. Takayama became famous for sourcing the very best ingredients available and, in the early years, would fly to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo himself each Saturday.
Soon after the turn of the millennium, Takayama received an offer to open a restaurant in New York City’s newly built Time Warner Center. Encouraged by Thomas Keller, along with a strong economy and the excitement of an even bigger food city, Takayama opened Masa in 2004. The restaurant soon won four stars from The New York Times (the only Japanese restaurant to do so in 20 years) with respected food critic Frank Bruni declaring, “Masa engineers discrete moments of pure elation that few if any other restaurants can match.” A Mobil five-star rating and Michelin’s top rating of three stars soon followed.
Now, five years later, Takayama returns west to join the culinary explosion taking place in the unprecedented ARIA in Las Vegas. barMASA and Tetsu, sister properties to his New York establishments, have enabled him to return to his loyal West Coast clientele, as well as express the shabu-shabu concept he has been developing for some time