Ask the chefs at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe’s Gi Fu Loh about the new sushi bar in the same location and they’ll describe it as a restaurant within a restaurant.
That’s because the addition of Sushi Kai, which features traditional and fusion Asian foods, comes with its own extensive menu and set of dedicated staff, officials said. Highlights include 12 new rolls, several new sakes and 20 types of nigiri and sashimi.
“It’s just exciting,” specialty chef Naquilo Williams said. “We’ll be able to offer more to our guests.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday night to kick off the opening of the new expansion. Every food item was lined on the bar, and guests were allowed to sample at will.
Ahi tuna, salmon, albacore and Hamachi sat on small white plates for sampling. Octopus, eel, shrimp and mackerel also made an appearance.
Among the popular fusion rolls were the cream cheese- and crab-filled Tahoe roll; the Spicy Trio roll, with three types of fish, and a classic shrimp tempura roll.
Sushi Kai also features its own signature Gi Fu Loh Roll — a mix of crab, shrimp, crispy scallops, asparagus, rice and wasabi mayo.
“With the rolls,” Williams said, “we put our own spin to it and our own flavor.”
Prices for fusion rolls range from $7.50 for the California roll to $15.95 for the Gi Fu Loh roll. The average cost of sashimi is about $12 a dish, and nigiri costs $6.50 and under.
Receiving great quality seafood was a major emphasis during Sushi Kai’s development, Williams said, and the fish used at the bar is flown in fresh from Hawaii.
Sushi Kai also offers several new sakes to complete the sushi experience, maître d’ Sharon Chen said. Subsequently, more specialty cocktails are being added to the menu.
Ultimately, the expansion of Sushi Kai gives guests more options, said John Packer, Harrah’s and Harveys director of entertainment and public relations. Patrons will now be able to order sushi from the bar or at a Gi Fu Loh table.
“People can now sit down and have a quick round of sushi or whatever they want,” he said.
Dave Monroe, vice president of hotel, food and beverage at Harrah’s, said he is proud of the final product.
“We’ve got an amazing staff,” he said.
Several experienced and award-winning sushi chefs were already on staff before Sushi Kai’s development, Monroe said. So it made sense to open a sushi bar.
“The introduction of sushi just seemed natural to us,” he said.
Sushi Kai is open Thursday through Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.