From Japan to Las Vegas

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Other Mama

The Astounding Journey of Other Mama

Elaine and Scott Harris Speak With Chef Dan Krohmer

Other Mama

Photos: Other Mama

As a food writer, every once in a great while, you run into a restaurant that from the moment it opens, you know it is special. We watched the rollout of Other Mama with great anticipation and have been regulars ever since the West Valley restaurant opened its doors. We sat down with chef and owner Dan Krohmer to get an intimate look at the man who is offering a new take on Asian cuisine in Las Vegas.

Vegas2LA: Other Mama has achieved great success right from the beginning. Why do you think that happened so quickly?

DK: Many people that are journalists, such as yourselves, have experience at dining and reviewing all kinds of restaurants. When you talk about Other Mama and what your experience has been like, it creates a buzz with other professionals and locals. People are excited to see what’s going on off the Strip. People here are invested in their community and looking to bring in a good product and serve it in a non-pretentious (atmosphere) at reasonable prices.

Vegas2LA: What got you to Japan?

DK: I went to Japan and met up with the owners of a sushi restaurant I worked at in Sacramento and fell in love with traditional Japan along with the cherry blossoms and the whole thing, so I stayed. I asked to stay and worked illegally for like $300 a month. I did not know any Japanese at the time. I just kept my head down and absorbed. I think everyone should be a minority at some point in your life.

Other Mama

Dan Krohmer

Dan Krohmer

Vegas2LA: How did you get a chance to work for famed Chef Masaharu Morimoto?

DK: I got recruited as a sous chef after my Japanese training and farm-to-table experience. I worked for him for about two years before I saw that he was not too much into the kitchen, so I transferred to the sushi bar where I gained huge experience from him for two and a half years.

Daniel Krohmer

Dan Krohmer

Vegas2LA: Tell us about the name Other Mama.

DK: My Dads parents weren’t around much, working a lot in Bakersfield. My great grandmother pretty much raised my dad and his brothers and sisters, (so) they called her Other Mama. That’s how she was introduced to us as kids.

Other mama

Vegas2LA: The cuisine at Other Mama is an interesting blend of Asian and American flavors. What is your philosophy on the menu you created?

DK: We take a lot of pride in everything we do here, from our salts to our oils. We care about our customers like they are our family. I wanted to keep it neutral after doing Japanese cuisine for so long. I did not want people coming in expecting certain cultural necessities. We just want to be ourselves and celebrate what ingredients we have at the time. We are not fusion. Obviously we are very seafood based and not following cultural boundaries…We want to be free to do things as we want to do. I want you to walk out satisfied, feeling like you just walked off a yacht feeing sexy, having enjoyed the abundance of the sea. I learned there is a psychology at a sushi bar. Never let your customers leave full. Have them leave satisfied and wanting to come back. I love the artistry and composition of sushi. I learned (things like) don’t have your arms crossed, don’t turn your back on a customer, never have a dirty cutting board, show and give respect to everything you are doing. Sushi is simple but you are always thinking about how you can do it better. Sushi is a lifestyle and s state of mind.

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Vegas2LA: You have traveled and worked for years in this business. What advice would you give someone who is in culinary school or who is an aspiring chef?

DK: Make sacrifices. It’s not an overnight process. The longer you wait to show what you can do, the better off you will be. Become the best chef you can possibly be before venturing out on your own. The more you sacrifice, the better you will be.

Other Mama has become an overnight success. The doors open nightly (closed Tuesdays) at 5 p.m. and we highly suggest getting there early. It’s not long before the bar and restaurants are at capacity with many enjoying a very special experience. The salmon sashimi is one of the best we’ve ever had. Check the menu board for an excellent selection of oysters delivered daily. You can’t go wrong with the Caviar & French Toast with crème fraiche. This dish is an explosion of contrasting flavors that will keep you coming back for more. For kim chi lovers try the Pork Belly Kim Chi Fried Rice with wild mushrooms and fried egg.

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Libations are a big part of Other Mama as well, including their homemade infusions. The signature cocktails are named after fine southern ladies such as the Billie-Joe which is a tasty blend of Hendrick’s Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, cucumber and basil soda. Or dive into the Trixie, a perfect combination of Jameson, Canton Ginger, lemon and cayenne.

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