The unrivaled Asian scene in Las Vegas’ Chinatown boasts over 140 different Asian restaurants. But among them, only one gives you a menu so vast that it requires over 30 pages to detail the incredible selection of high quality imported teas from a variety of provinces in mainland China. That’s Niu Gu for you, a new, spotless Chinese
restaurant located in Chinatown that stands apart from the crowded strip. Niu Gu dazzles with dishes that showcase the authentic tastes of China and a tea menu designed to show the West, that Chinese tea comes in more flavors than just the typical pot of stale black tea that is served in almost every Chinese restaurant from here to New York.
In fact, Chinese tea is much more complex than most people would ever guess. Niu Gu aims to give its guests a true taste of traditional Chinese tea culture by serving organically-sourced teas made by tea growing families and tea masters from the various regions of China. The extensive tea list is more than just page after page of tea – it details everything about each tea including the type, province, geographical location, information about the grower and tea maker, farm altitude, plus harvest and production dates. A farm-to-cup concept of this depth is the first of its kind here in the states and seeks to turn more people into tea connoisseurs.
Most people don’t realize the incredible health benefits fresh-from-the-farm tea can bring. In China, drinking the right tea in the right way is everything. Joe Muscaglione, managing partner, together with Niu Gu’s owners renowned Chef Jimmy Li and his wife Jing Li created the tea service at Niu Gu to stand apart from other restaurants and give diners a taste of one of the most important aspects of Chinese culture - tea. Pioneering something that will probably catch on like wildfire, Li and Muscaglione introduced the farm to cup teas and serve them in traditional Gong Fu ceremony at the restaurant. Li’s wife hails from the Shandong province of China, a place that’s big on tea culture, making her the ideal hostess of the restaurant’s tea ceremonies which involve the presentation of tea leaves to the guests and table-side preparation.
Niu Gu’s tea list includes tasting notes, info and photos of Niu Gu’s artisan tea producers and their tea making steps, including harvest and production pics. The list, quickly approaching 50 pages, features over 30 farm to cup teas, but Joe is quick to point out ”It’s not about how many teas we have. It’s about being sure we know the direct source. That is the only way we are assured that every step, from farm to cup, our teas are chemical free and herbicide and pesticide free.”
Most teas on the market today are hit so hard with chemicals that they do the body more harm than good. Unless sourced directly from the farmer, one can never tell. Regulations in many tea growing regions are lax at best and the use of pesticides is wide spread. Even those who claim they are organic are often not.
“Chef Jimmy Li’s has tremendous culinary skill and his impeccable high standard for quality is something we mirror in our dining service and tea program” states Muscaglione convincingly.
“Our teas are as carefully sourced as our kitchen ingredients. For our tea service we use bottled Fiji Waters and they are served to you in traditional Gongfu ceremony, you are drinking from authentic Chinese tea pots and cups and learning about about our Chinese history and culture too” adds Chef Li.
The standard of excellence is threaded intricately like a fine Chinese tapestry through Niu Gu, from the spotless modern space and impeccable tea presentation to Chef Li’s dazzling and eclectic menu of brilliant Chinese dishes. In addition to Chef Li uses only the finest ingredients, earning several highly-coveted accolades from foodies and food critics alike. Las Vegas Food Critic John Curtas declared ” They are the best new Chinese restaurant ” then added ” I really feel that they are going to start to upgrade Chinese food all along Spring Mountain Rd and in that area. Jimmy Li is a serious Chef. This is serious Chinese food, for serious people who want to taste upscale stuff ”
Foodiehub.tv reports “Li dazzles” adding “upscale Chinese restaurant with decidedly downscale prices. Niu Gu is soon to start showing up on all kinds of best of lists.”
Teas will be served in traditional Gong Fu Ceremony. This incredible tea experience is rather reasonably priced for these rare, hand-picked teas with costs ranging from $7 to $18 per pot for two people. Flavors go beyond basic, with delicate white teas, refreshingly meditative green teas, full-bodied oolong teas, sensual black teas, rare yellow teas, smooth pu’erh teas, and herbal teas including chrysanthemum and honeysuckle flower.. Tea aficionados indulge and look passionately at the tea menu, which reads like an encyclopedia on the tea of China.
The deep tea program is brilliantly supported with knockout dishes from Niu Gu’s kitchen. Standouts include Chef Jimmy Li’s Cumin BBQ Rack of Lamb, his spectacular rice, meat or vegetable stir fry and fesh seafood dishes have had foodies raving. Other not to be missed items are the cold beef tongue and cucumber salad, chicken and scallion salad, garlic steamed oysters, the house made organic tofu and Niu Gu’s signature slow cooked braised Angus beef short rib.
Taste the true beauty of China at Niu Gu, from the end of your chopsticks to the bottom of your tea cup.
Reservations are not required however, they are highly recommended.
Call 702-570-6363 to reserve your dining and/or tea experience.