Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay: do not eat
(Feel free to skip the cathartic narrative and scroll down to the food. I know I would.)
The morning after a much-too-long night at a surprisingly friendly bar called "PBR Rock Bar," which is right on the Vegas strip across from the Cosmopolitan, with an outdoor bar I should add, all I wanted was sushi. Comforting, salty, fatty--sushi.
We were heading to the largely unexceptional Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay when I saw Kumi, right off the casino floor--a restaurant that was on my list of places to consider. It was open, inviting, and empty. I could picture myself right there at the bar, enjoying a crisp white and fatty tuna. But it was only 11.30, and we figured we could check out Bodies at the neighboring Luxor before lunch.
After waiting some time for the tram to get to the Luxor, we decided to bail, and get some sushi. But, we thought we'd head back up the strip to Blue Ribbon, since it was only 11.45. We enjoyed Blue Ribbon a few nights before, and thought it would be perfect for a casual sushi lunch. Off we went to the Cosmopolitan, by $20 cab.
Finally at the Cosmopolitan, we run up the escalator, barely able to contain our excitement and hunger, and we're met with Blue Ribbon's closed doors. The fucking place isn't open for lunch. We turn around to go to Comme Ca, which has a fine burger, and they're closed too. WTF? OK, now what. I figured we could go downstairs and grab a burger at Holsteins. Well bloody hell, the place is packed, and that's a 20 minute wait. We're now flustered, and blood sugar levels are dipping, and patience is running thin.
The missus said something about Sushi Roku. Said she heard it was pretty good. And it's at Caesars. At this point I didn't want to admit defeat by going back to Mandalay Bay (the only sure bet in this game), so I (smartly, this time, if you can believe it) call to confirm that they are open, and back in a cab to Caesars it is.
We're dropped off at Caesars, $20 poorer, and try to find a map to tell us where this restaurant is. I review the map and don't see Sushi Roku, but I see Nobu! I'll take Nobu in a pinch any day. We run down to Nobu, which is apparently in the Nobu Hotel, which is a hotel within a hotel I suppose. I ask the nice people if this is where Nobu the restaurant is, and they say "yes!" I ask if it's open, and they say "no!" Well fuck me, back to the map to find Roku. Can't find it. It's not on the map.
I call them back and they tell me they're in the Forum Shops at Caesars. If you're not familiar with it, The Forum Shops at Caesars is a largely depressing mall with depressing people looking at stuff they can't afford, and at the same time getting in my damned way. I'm running around the Forum, looking for a map, trying to figure out where the hell I am in relation to the restaurant, and end up backtracking. Twice. And did I mention there are hundreds of meandering people in my way?
I finally get my bearings. Now I'm walking full steam, not letting anything stop me. Some wandering d-bag is walking right toward me (and the fountain which I'm walking next to), looking up at the painted clouds on the ceiling as if it's the Sistine Chapel, like some perfect version of a dopey clueless tourist sent to Earth specifically to annoy me. I'm watching him, waiting for him to come back to reality, see me, and alter his course. But no. He doesn't. When this lummox gets within 2 feet of my airspace, I let out a quite loud and direct "BRO!" This 6'2" fucking guy recoiled and almost fell over himself clearing my right-of-way. "Sorry, sorry," he stuttered, stumbling away, aimlessly. I didn't have time to respond. I saved him from walking into the fountain, the big goofy fucker, and that was enough.
Finally get to Roku, on the third floor of this dreary-ass mall, and it's kinda not very nice at all. Sort of unkempt. Not the sexy sleek place that you see on their website. But fuck it, we're hungry, and this is going to be it. I ask to be seated in the large main room, which is empty other than 1 large table. At least the room has windows and a nice view of the strip rather than a view of the mall. Vegas restaurants with views are very rare indeed.