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By R. H. Duke

Asian cuisine with California and French influences are the specialties of the influential Chef-Restaurateur Wolfgang Puck at Chinois.  Puck, credited with reviving California culinary heritage, recently opened his Las Vegas eatery based upon the original Chinois in Santa Monica, California.

A two-story restaurant designed by Barbara Lazaroff (Puck's wife and business partner), the first story is a casual cafe that features an extensive menu of sushi selections and sashimi.  Appetizers include hot and sour soup, potstickers (vegetable, shrimp, pork), satays, spring rolls (chicken, shrimp), clams, mussels, and crabcakes. Flavorful dishes, featuring noodles, rice, seafood, poultry, meat, and vegetables, capture the essence of Asian cuisine accented with Californian and French flavors.  Entrees are creative and artistic, both in preparation and presentation.

The second story dining room, accessible via a beautiful staircase, displays welcome messages in Chinese and English--"good fortune, good friends, good good" and "the world of imagination is boundless" setting the stage for a memorable dining experience. The decor is casual/chic; inviting and attractively accented with colorful Asian banners, accents of brilliant hues, and authentic antique and contemporary artwork.  All of this leads to a complimentary setting for Master Executive Chef Munehiro Mori's, whose Asian and European experience has brought fusion cuisine to new heights.

As to be expected, the cuisine in the dining room is much more elaborate, both in execution and appearance.  Appetizers include sautéed shrimp, duck breast, lamb, calamari, classic oysters, baby pork ribs, sea scallops and ahi tuna.  Entrees are tantalizing and flavorful, and include roast venison loin, sautéed sea bass, whole lobster ravioli, grilled Matsuba crab, and Mandarin-style quail. Be sure to follow the Chinois philosophy and share dishes with your dining companions; it is an excellent way to experience the wide variety of tastes and textures available.

Cafe prices are moderate--appetizers $5.50 - $12.50, sushi $5.00 ($25.00 for assorted plate), entrees $11.00 - $14.00.  The dining room prices are on the high end, but well worth it--appetizers $13.50 - $21.50, entrees $20.00 - $28.00. Wines are available both by the bottle and glass, as well as a selection of premium sake and Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese beer.

R.H. Duke is a former restaurateur and a Las Vegas restaurant critic who says “Fine Dining is one of Life’s Greatest Pleasures!”


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