It's been a month since I was there, but the great food memories are still with me.
I didn't have reservations and just dropped in, taking a chance i might get a seat at the bar. When I arrived there were many empty seats in the front dining area and two open seats at the bar, but the hostess told me, "sorry", everything was reserved. I asked what the earliest opening might be and before she could answer an older Japanese lady came up and had a brief conversation with her in Japanese. At that point I was told that, yes, I could have one of the spots at the bar. Fantastic! (The empty seats all filled quickly).
When I was shown to my seat I was asked if I had ever been there before. When I said no, an obvious "regular" at the corner of the bar told me I had to try the "half and half" tofu. Raku makes it's own tofu and the "half and half" starts with a cold half-moon of fresh tofu. It came with green onions and dried onions sprinkled on top. The helpful waitress showed me the green tea salt to sprinkle on top. Wow. I never truly appreciated the taste of tofu until now. The second part of the order was hot deep fried in a dashi broth and topped with some roe. This was also fantastic.
By the way, on the other side of me were two older Japanese businessmen who had arrived in a huge limo. They were being cared for with great deference.
When I sat down, the waitress had showed me a small chalkboard of nightly specials, written in Japanese. She explained what each one was. I ordered baby octopi from this list. This sashimi-like presentation was a completely different taste than grilled octopus that I have had.. The octopus had that slightly briny taste you get from a good fresh shucked oyster.
I then ordered several skewers from the robata "charcoal grill" menu...enoki mushroom wrapped with bacon...pork ear...kobe beef outside skirt...and a lamb chop. These are all very inexpensive, so you can try several. The pork ear was the surprise....chewy, gelatinous, and crunchy all at once. The waitress suggested some chili oil for the top, which was a great combo.
I had a couple of glasses of Sapporo on tap to go with all this. The food was first rate, the three waitresses who fussed over me were wonderful, and the bill was insanely cheap for this level of dining.
5030 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89146