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Fú: Versatility venturing toward extravagant at the Hard Rock

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This all-around crowd pleaser has yet to make its mark on the Strip’s Asian dining scene, but is well on its way with alluring food, service and prices. Whether local or visitor, this place can easily become your hangout for novel tastes and value rarely found anywhere near Las Vegas Boulevard.

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An open-air arched tunnel entrance unveils a stylish, spacious layout that speaks to the Hard Rock Hotel’s hip yet classic vibe. Cultural lighting hangs over an artistic assortment of tables and wrap-around booths, casting an ambiance just dark enough for intimacy with soft beats that keep the trendy vibe going. What follows is an interesting combination of Americanized fare [found at the top of each section] interlaced with more authentic Mandarin cuisine [toward the bottom] to accommodate palates at both ends of the spectrum.

Appetizers introduce Fú’s appeasing motif of colorful presentation and sizeable portions. The spicy wontons are a definite winner along with the curry lobster puffs, a variation of crab Rangoon with yellow curry-infused cream cheese. Those adventurous enough should check out the chilled shrimp with jellyfish, where what looks like noodles is actually the wafting sea creature, bold sauce offsetting its otherwise rubbery texture. Oxtail soup continues the exotic trend, with meat right on the bone that flavors its rich, sweet broth.

Noodle and rice dishes present all the familiar favorites. The Hong Kong chow mien combines most of them, serving chicken, scallops, barbecue pork and shrimp atop thin noodles, though you’ll need the assorted chili sauces in front of you to give this dish the same power as the rest of the menu. Chicken fried rice holds all the elements you’d expect, ditto for the sauce concept.

Several eye-catching signatures make their mark in the entrée selection. The spicy Mongolian beef melds a zesty sauce into tender slices of beef, served atop crispy rice noodles that absorb the same flavor over time. Don’t write off the spicy Kung Pao chicken, as it packs tremendous flavor that you’re not going to find in its more typical counterparts. Miso-glazed Chilean sea bass nearly melts in your mouth with its naturally buttery texture, but sadly is among the only dishes on the menu where a small portion becomes an issue. The honey walnut shrimp, however, does deliver a large number of breaded shrimp with candied walnuts and lemon aioli.

Cocktails are fun and festive, named after every animal on the Chinese calendar. Excellent Lychee and acai martinis, cucumber-elderflower drinks and Tiki concoctions with entertaining glassware keep the fun going. Even the dessert drinks, whether the chocolate martini or the raspberry beer [read: actual beer] float, pair with a rich bread pudding to wrap things up.

Fú is open Sunday - Thursday: 11:30am to 10:30pm, Friday and Saturday: 11:30am to Midnight. Out-the-door price for shared appetizer, entrée, shared dessert and 1-2 drinks is ~$40/person. This review was comped. For more information call (702) 693-5000 or visit Fú online.

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