There has been a new addition to the lineup over at the M Resort, the “casino-themed casino” perched like a very early starting point at the beginning of the Strip on the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard. Jayde Fuzion, a “contemporary Asian” concept, is occupying a space left vacant by… whoever.
In a property of a handful of restaurants no one can name, plus a Hash House A-Go-Go for your Guy Fieri-watching flyover state tourists, Jayde Fuzion looks like they may be trying for a bid at something to stick in the public conciousness.
The adhesive in this equation is one dose of Chef Seonkyoung Longest, winner of Restaurant Express, a Food Network venture.
For those of you that haven’t watched all 240 of the Food Network’s competition shows, this one is hosted by that British bodybuilder fella, where they play out a The Apprentice-style situation where they are given a handful of peanuts and are told to feed 200 hungry sixth graders. You know the kind. I can’t speak to how well game-show winners do when thrust into a place with a budget (I recall a Hell’s Kitchen winner that did the retro thing and put it up their nose), but Chef Seonkyoung Longest would have to be tenacious to say the least.
The lead-in to the spirit of these dishes is supposed to be Japanese/Chinese/Korean dishes with the chef’s “signature Mississippi flare,” which here I guess means adding yuzu to most dishes? I don’t know if the personal twists had anything to do with a down-south style, but there are actually some very surprising twists on this menu. For example, the bulgogi Korean Street “Tacos” ($8) have this kind of soft korean scallion pancake as the tortilla, and an addictive sriracha-lime dressing. An interesting appetizer, and definitely a fun way to have a pretty tasty bit of bulgogi.
They have a particularly good fried rice, quite a distance from the by-the-pound stuff that even some upper-class places dish. Instead of whatever leftover rice and frozen vegetables you can mix in a wok, the Emperor Fried Rice ($16) is done with XO sauce – a Cantonese mixture of dried seafood and chilies – and big lumps of crab meat. It’s finished with a sprinkle of teeny tiny dried shrimp, and makes for a very competent and interesting version of the traditional side. It definitely warrants the price tag, which might make it the most costly fried rice off-strip.
Now, certain dishes like the butter lettuce salad ($7) may have fun touches like shaved beets and yuzu vinaigrette, but can come off a little flat. Ahi Poke ($10) had this same issue, attempting to get perked up by a dash of peanuts, but no-go. On the other hand, their basic wonton soup ($8) or spicy Korean seafood soup ($14) were very traditional, but were made in a very high-quality way.
Dishes like these I imagine were the family recipes too perfect to start fiddling around with them.
The only thing I really couldn’t stand was the honey walnut prawns ($18). A prawn (which was so pencil-thin, there was no way it wasn’t a shrimp) that was already battered with something thicker than pancake mix, was then doused with gobs and/or globs of mayonnaise “sauce.” I honestly couldn’t handle this one more than a few bites. Luckily, a real winner of a dish, Korean-style lobster ($30) actually was an interesting treat, tossed with fermented chili black bean sauce and a sherry-soy glaze.
The merits of the good dishes definitely outweighed the transgressions of the bad here, but not by too wide of a margin. I just hope their guests won’t be too bashful to hammer home which dishes are which, because a young chef in her first big-business space will need precisely that kind of honest feedback.
JAYDE FUZION is located inside M Restort, 12300 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-797-1000. MITCHELL WILBURN is a food and drink writer in Las Vegas. You can read his other food news and reviews at EatingLV.com.