TETSU: Chef Masa Takayama Provides Unique Dining Experience

Michelin-decorated chef Masa Takayama has opened Tetsu, at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. It's a venue within a venue located inside Takayama's famed Japanese restaurant, barMASA . This breathtaking venue features four blackjack-style tables and two communal teppan grill tables seating 20 and 19 people. Teppanyaki chefs oversee the evening's culinary showcase, prepping, cooking, and plating orders specific to each guest's request. A produce table is the room's centerpiece, displaying the finest quality meats, seafood, and vegetables and also allows guests to interact with their chef and hand-select the proteins of their entrée.

Tetsu executive chef and creator Masa Takayama said, "With a passion for the finest-sourced ingredients, I have always been intrigued by the sizzling vegetables, meat, and seafood prepared on a teppan grill. The act of choosing your ingredients and interacting with the chef as he prepares them elevates the conventional dinner creating memory which is how food is meant to be experienced."

Just walking into Tetsu, experiencing the aromas and the sounds of proteins and vegetables sizzling on the teppan grill, gets you in the mood for an evening of interactive culinary delights from the East. Taking our seat alongside the teppan grill, we were greeted by our chef for the evening with a smile as he placed the menus in front of us to start exploring what our culinary journey could entail.

Our eyes danced over the menu like a tap dancer, scanning quickly at first and then settling down to continue our exploration. We were pleasantly surprised to see a variety of dishes, such as the toro tartare with caviar, Wagyu beef steak tartare, and Pacific lobster sashimi ceviche, in addition to the Tataki selections. The word Tataki, meaning "to pound," is a traditional manner of preparing fish and meat so that they better absorb other flavors enhancing the protein in the dish. The cuts are briefly seared over a hot pan, marinated in vinegar, sliced thin, and seasoned with ginger.

Main course offerings include prime cuts of beef such as center-cut lamb chop and filet mignon and Wagyu rib-eye. Enticing seafood dishes jump off the menu, such as butterflied Scottish langoustine, Mediterranean turbot, and always decadent fatty tuna. Guests have the opportunity to choose sides like Kobe garlic fried rice, yakisoba noodles, and seafood udon just to name a few.

After looking over the menu, we decided to put ourselves in the very capable hands of our chef and let him drive our culinary odyssey for the evening. As he began his prep, we sipped on some very nice sake suggested to us by our very pleasant sommelier.

Our journey for the evening started with two very nice sushi dishes as the grill started to warm up. Our chef walked up to us with our first surprise of the evening, a gift from the sea, a very delectable looking live lobster that would soon be on the grill for us to enjoy. Our second treat from our knowledgeable chef came from Down Under; a perfectly marbled Australian Wagyu rib-eye would be on the grill for us as well.

The grill was hot and ready to get started. The chef divided the grill surface with a cornstarch mixture that when spread upon the grill allows several items to cook at the same time without their flavors intermingling with each other. He added that this was a technique created and developed by Masa Takayama himself.

While enjoying some tasty caviar and toast we watched as the chef placed the lobster on the grill along with some very lovely scallops. Aromas began to jump across the table to us as we watched a piece of culinary artistry created in front of our eyes. Within minutes, our succulent lobster and perfectly seared scallop course was plated and enjoyed immensely.

Two perfectly cut Australian Wagyu rib-eye steaks were all ready sizzling on the grill along with fresh vegetables as we finished our lobster course and sipped on sake. In a cloud of steam and exceptional knife skills, we could see our course taking shape as our palates jumped with anticipation. The Wagyu rib-eye melted in our mouths with the fresh vegetables and mushrooms providing a nice accent to the dish.

Our chef and his knives conducted dish after dish on the grill like an orchestra conductor providing music to our ears, but in this case our palates. Tetsu has several refreshing desserts, such has the signature truffle ice cream and the yuzu sorbet, to put a sweet end to an evening of interactive culinary joy. We just had to indulge just one more time with one of each which was a great way to punctuate the evening.

Chef Takayama's Tetsu provides its guests an intimate, interactive dining experience that will keep patrons coming back again and again. The ARIA resort has yet another star dining venue to provide guests a unique and engaging dining experience.