The plan for our last family dinner in Vegas was sushi.  I had been craving it and Allison will never deny it so the deal was done.  Except the restaurant couldn’t accommodate us during the time slot we wanted and we didn’t have any wiggle room since Allison had a red eye flight to catch.  My Mom and I were left in the hotel room with our cell phones and imaginations and had to figure out where to go in a very short time frame.  We knew we wanted seafood so we turned to good old fashioned Google for help.  My Mom thought Aquaknox looked good enough and was in the right price range so she booked it.  I was a little concerned.  Vegas is where all the best chefs go to open the second outpost of an already famous place or a new concept with their vision.  But wait – I didn’t know anything about this restaurant or chef.  When you hear so much about all the other places, it must mean a no-name can’t be good.

But it can.  It can be so good.  Aquaknox’ reputation didn’t precede it, but it was just as fabulous as any of those big-name chef places.

First of all, they do all the right things, like an amuse bouche and a cute little mini hot toddy after dinner.  For the food, we all wanted little things, but we ended up ordering so many that our meal was anything but the “light seafood supper” we had imagined.  Let’s start off with the best.  seafood tower.  ever.  I’m serious.  I’ve seen plenty of raw seafood towers in NYC.  This topped every single one thanks to an impressive variety.  The regulars (oysters, clams, prawns, and crab) were all present and accounted for.  But then there was lobster, a shrimp ceviche, and ponzu oyster shooters.  We ordered it for four which brings the total to $160…not cheap but I think there was definitely more food on there than I normally see so it was sort of a good deal.  Proportionately, at least.  I hope.  Oh whatever; it was good.

Of the other dishes ordered that night, there was a lobster bisque, octopus carpaccio, crab cake, and tuna tartar.  I tried and enjoyed every dish.  And then there was the prawn and couscous entrée that Allison and I each ordered.  We each overlooked it at first because we were originally looking for “true” fish dishes.  But something drew us back in.  I think it was the lobster cream.  Shrimp dishes at restaurants are not usually very filling for me.  Growing up on the coast, I am used to being offered about 30 shrimp at a time, whereas restaurants give you about four and call it a day.  It makes for a pretty plate, but I’m always like, “ugh, more!”  Here, there were 6-8 shrimp and they were huge.  The couscous was like a rich lobster-y risotto, and there were juicy cherry tomatoes in there like delicious seashells.

And, like most of our Vegas experiences, the service was on point.  We became besties with our waiters, one of whom claimed this really was his favorite restaurant on the strip.  Normally I would call b.s. since they pay his bills.  In this case, however, I think he may be telling the truth.