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Dish Spotlight: Drunken Noodles from Wazuzu

This is one of those moments where I suggest you stop reading this, get your ass over to Wazuzu at the Encore resort, eat the Drunken Noodles, then come back fat and happy so you can shout out “Hell yeah, brother!” a few times as you read the rest of this post, struggling to contain the euphoric foodgasm that is surely to ensue.  Go ahead.

Ok…you back?  Pretty goddamn good, wasn’t it?  See…I don’t lie.

Drunken Noodles from Wazuzu

Drunken Noodles from Wazuzu

First of all, I’m pissed.  I’m pissed off at myself that I waited a year and a half to eat at Wazuzu.  There are a lot of places to eat in this town, and with limited time and limited budget, it’s pretty damn tough to get to everywhere…but I’m sure as hell having a good time trying.  Wazuzu was one of those places that kept getting lost in the shuffle, I don’t have a good excuse why, it just did.  I’ve had Wazuzu’s Executive Chef, Jet Tila’s, food on two occasions, once at a Quickfire Cooking Contest stunt thing at Whole Foods last year (pre-dating the advent of Tasting Las Vegas), and then again at the Vegas Uncork’d food orgy that was the Grand Tasting.  I was impressed with Chef Jet’s food (more so from the Grand Tasting), but nothing prepared me for what I was about to experience when I came (in more ways than one) on his home turf.

Big Ass Crystal Dragon at Wazuzu

Big Ass Crystal Dragon at Wazuzu

The room itself is beautifully appointed.  Continuing the feng shui lucky red from the casino floor into the dining room, the centerpiece is a massive crystal dragon protecting from the back of the room, watching over the happy customers engorged in their plates.  It’s been a while since I’ve studied my feng shui, but I think dragons behind you are a pretty good thing, protecting us from invaders or some ancient Chinese shit like that.

Place Setting at Wazuzu

Place Setting at Wazuzu

The Hippest Water Glass in Vegas

The Hippest Water Glass in Vegas

As faithful readers know, I’m a sucker for hip plates, glasses and other hardware, and the water glasses at Wazuzu are the hippest in town. Somehow they made Clark County’s Finest Tap taste classier.  The place setting in general was beautiful.  Everything from the fold of the napkin to the red translucent chopstick stand doohickey set the stage to let you know you were in for something special.

Roti Panang from Wazuzu

Roti Panang from Wazuzu

Being still slightly stuffed from an earlier meal that day, The Wife and I only ordered a few items, the eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head good Roti Panang ($12) being one of them.  Tila’s Panang curry needs to be a post in and of itself as it taught me that not all Thai coconut-based curries need to taste like meat soaking in heated up Fruit Loops milk.  But I digress, we’re here to talk about some Drunken Noodles, and now is the time to do so.

But first, a word about heat;

Our server asked us the most nerve-racking question you’ll get in a Thai (technically Wazuzu is pan-Asian) restaurant; the “How hot do you want it?” question.  Where one Thai restaurant’s medium will have a pleasant kick while the Thai restaurant down the street serves up a medium that would scorch Satan’s asshole, I’m always nervous in answering this question in any restaurant of the Asian persuasion.  The Wife and I both being famous spice pussies, we went for a bold two (on a scale of one to five) which was thankfully quite tame.  I may step up to a three the next time, although I hesitate to alter the fabulous flavor that I had.  Speaking of the flavor…

Big Bowl O' Tasty: Drunken Noodles from Wazuzu

Big Bowl O' Tasty: Drunken Noodles from Wazuzu

It’s as if Chef Jet and his crew at Wazuzu climbed inside my head and figured out exactly what it was that I wanted to taste.  Where so many times it’s easy to pick out individual spices and ingredients, you know something is perfectly balanced when you have a hard time figuring out exactly what the hell it is that you’re eating, all you know is that you don’t want to stop eating it.  This was my experience with the Drunken Noodles ($18 for Beef or Chicken, $22 for Shrimp).

Pappardelle-like in size, the tender rice noodles were the perfect vehicle to deliver the flavor packed sweet soy based “sauce,” sucking up the flavor-packed liquid and having it let loose across your palate.  Further layered with bell pepper, serrano peppers, onion, scallions, thai basil, miniature yellow and red pear tomatoes and egg, we ordered the Beef version of the dish.  Sweet, tender, melt-in-your-mouth, the beef was exquisite and a perfect compliment to the perfectly balanced dish.  I’m talking multiple dimensions of balance too; texturally, flavorally and even in color.  Savory, sweet, salty and sour, Wazuzu’s Drunken Noodles are found at the intersection of flavor.  Needless to say; we liked them.

For those in need of a Drunken Noodles fix that are unable to make it to our little twinkle in the desert, you can now call up your local Schwan’s Man.

Oh no he didn’t?!?

Oh yes, he did!

While how I’m not one to judge how one pays the bills and how I am one that is an advocate to strike while the iron is hot, I will say that I’m thankful to be able to chow down on the unfrozen variety at my pleasure.  However, the moment I see a commercial of Chef Jet pulling up to a T.G.I. Stabmeinthehead along side Guy Fieri, pimping Drunken Noodles that recently “took the bus to Flavor Town,” I will immediately start heating up my “Soulless Whore” branding iron. Just sayin’

But seriously, head down to Wazuzu at the Encore resort and eat lots.  It’s sure as hell not going to be another year and a half before I make my next visit.  Moderately priced (especially when you consider the quality) and open for lunch service everyday and late night gorging on Fridays and Saturdays, Wazuzu has officially made it onto my Regulars List.



Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
3121 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

(702) 248-DINE (3463)

Follow Wazuzu on Twitter at @WazuzuLV (not used that much)

Follow Chef Jet Tila on Twitter at @jettila

Wazuzu (Encore) on Urbanspoon

Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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2 comments to Dish Spotlight: Drunken Noodles from Wazuzu

  • I need to explore Encore some more. We took a tour when it opened, I’ve partied there a few times since, but have yet to eat anything.

  • Haven’t been to Botero yet. I had the best pork chop in my life at Switch (although it wasn’t a regular on the menu at the time). I also like Society Cafe…the Mac and Cheese Bites and the Piggy Back Burger (a burger topped with chorizo!)

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