Paid In Full pays tribute to the Japanese gastropub

Updated February 17, 2018 - 4:25 pm

The chef-owners of Paid in Full clearly like to play with their food, and all the better for anybody who wanders in.

Mike Plourde and Jason Olson — Strip veterans whose history includes Bellagio and MGM Grand — have said their restaurant is based on izakayas (Japanese gastropubs), and the influence is clear. But they’ve taken the tradition and leaned it onto its side with flavors and textures that create fresh, new combinations.

One example is Udon Fries ($5) Animal Style. Thick Japanese udon noodles were fried and, when hot, end up puffy and crispy, with a pleasingly chewy interior. The “animal-style” designation is a wink at the same-name fries on the “not-so-secret”menu at In-N-Out, which have become a cult favorite. At In-N-Out they’re topped with grilled onions, melted cheese and the company’s Thousand Island-esque “spread;” Paid in Full’s udon would be weighed down with all that but get flavor and textural contrasts from the latter.

Textural contrasts also were hugely appealing with the sweetbread katsu ($10). Sweetbreads (the animal product, not the bread) are sort of creamy when properly cooked and these were, emphasizing the crunchy coating on the half-dollar-sized pieces. The plate was completed with a crisp tangle of frisee mix, the austerity of which might have been too much of a bounce off the richness of the offal were it not for the diced bacon sprinkled throughout. The bulldog sauce on the side — served with the katsu in any self-respecting Japanese restaurant — was just the right touch.

Crab croquettes ($9) also played up the contrasts, the crisp coating yielding to a creamy treatment of the sweet crustacean, flavored with Old Bay Seasoning. A blistered shishito pepper draped over the four croquettes brought it all back to earth.

The hits just kept on coming. Crispy tapioca ($5) was the starch finely ground, molded and cut into flat squares and fried, then graced with a deeply flavored Parmesan and a sprinkle of nori. Paid in Full specializes in the izakaya favorite takoyaki, of which the octopus version of these fritter-like balls is the classic. But if octopus isn’t your thing there are four other choices, and in the smoked salmon variation ($10), the four balls rested on a pool of dill cream and were sprinkled with red caviar for literal pops of flavor.

For dessert, black sesame panna cotta ($6) was topped with a conserve of tart cherries and stabbed with a shard of black and white sesame brittle, just the right mix of their sweet and mellow natures.

Service was great but be advised that dishes arrive in the Asian style — as soon as they’re ready.

Plourde said the restaurant’s name, which comes from an ’80s hip-hop song, is a reference to having worked your way up to having your own place, and they’ve certainly achieved that. Finding Paid in Full after dark is a bit of a challenge because the quasi-industrial sign that matches the vibe of the place isn’t lighted. But at least until that’s remedied by Daylight Savings Time kicking in or somebody buying a spotlight, it’s a challenge worth meeting.

Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.comcomcom or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella onTwitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like