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HomeRetailSushisamba wins Bidding War in Venetian, Aquanox On Way Out

Sushisamba wins Bidding War in Venetian, Aquanox On Way Out

When SUSHISAMBA opened in the Palazzo in 2008, taking one of the most difficult locations in the far corner of the casino, many people said the restaurant would fail. Soon after their Chef and chief designer of their award winning menu, Jose Mendin left to open his own South Florida Restaurant group – making more people weary the company would survive at all.  However, eight years later, Sushi Samba is one of the biggest and most loved sushi places in Las Vegas – and they have set their sights on taking over another, albeit much more expensive spot.

After an expensive bidding war that pegged SUSHISAMBA, 50eggs (Owners of Yardbird) and Tao Group against each other, the other two dropped out saying it was too expensive to be profitable. SUSHISAMBA which has a long history of turning difficult and expensive and crazy locations into money makers, decided they wanted the space more.

Sushi Samba will be opening the Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in what was formerly the V Var space in what is called “restaurant” row in Venetian Palazzo.

It will be right across from Aquanox, another seafood restaurant that is known for its raw bar, creating serious competition.

Chef Timon Balloo, will be the head Chef of Sugarcane, bringing his unique mix of Asian, Euripean and Latin flavors to Las Vegas.

Vegas Weekly raved about the sugar cane concept:

Michael Durovsik, Akbar Jumani, Herb Wilson, and Sarah Liss
Michael Durovsik, Akbar Jumani, Herb Wilson, and Sarah Liss

….the energy of Sugarcane pulsates through the room like you’re in a hot club. But unlike at lots of restaurants that blend in nightlife, the food is the star here. Expect lots of pretty people in Vegas eating Brussels sprouts with orange and sweet soy. Don’t be surprised to see adventurous steakhouse regulars trying kimchee beef tartare and Korean BBQ short ribs or oxtail and sweetbreads before balling out with large-format meats. Maybe there will be lamb with harissa or za’atar, because Balloo is into Middle Eastern flavors at the moment.

With Sugarcane competing with Aquanox which opened in 2006, several sources in the restaurant industry on restaurant row told me that Aquanox is looking to close down to make way for a new restaurant, and it’s only “inevitable” that they will close within the next year. What makes this even more interesting is that one of geniuses behind this move is the Director of Operations in the United States, Michael Durovsik, one of the original management members of the Aquanox team who has made his name turning Sushisamba into one of the gems of the restaurant industry in Las Vegas.

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