Celeb Chef Katsuji Tanabe Spices Things Up With Pig Heads And Octopi At Hussong’s Las Vegas

When Celebrity Chef Rick Moonen introduced Chef Katsuji Tanabe to Hussong’s Cantina owner Scott Frost, it was a match made in… Las Vegas.

Moonen, whose acclaimed restaurant RM Seafood is also located inside The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, wondered when the Top Chef” alum would bring his festive flavor to Las Vegas. The talented Tanabe signed on for an ongoing menu collaboration at Hussong’s soon after.


Tanabe is a successful and passionate restaurateur, running MexiKosher in Los Angeles and New York City and Barrio in downtown Chicago. He recently opened a Mexican steakhouse, Nixon Chops & Whiskey in Whittier, California.

With a winning appearance on the Food Network show “Chopped” as well as appearances on Bravo‘s “Top Chef,” “Top Chef: Mexico” and “Top Chef All-Stars,” the fan favorite loves being on screen and admits that both his wins and losses on cooking shows have taught him, “I have no shame in front of large crowds.”

Even so, he doesn’t believe that television has changed his approach to cooking or running a restaurant. “When it comes time to feed guests,” he explains, “I really have to make sure they love the experience.”


Born and raised in Mexico City to a Japanese father and a Mexican mother, Tanabe is known for creating cuisine combinations not commonly seen in America. His collaborative menu for Hussong’s features lively creations like Braised Octopus served with Peruvian beans, chorizo and garlic crema or rock shrimp and Suadero Tacos made with Serrano aioli and charred onion relish.

The authentic Mexican taqueria, MexiKosher, is one the country’s most successful kosher restaurants, yet the guest chef’s showstopper on the Hussong’s menu is his Half Pig Head Carnitas Tacos, which is definitely not kosher.

Tanabe’s love for kosher cooking dates back to his early days as a chef, but his love for pork dates back even further. “In Mexico every weekend,” he remembers, “my dad would always bring amazing carnitas.”


Tanabe describes the menu he created for Hussong’s as accessible to guests, despite its fun and feisty pairings. “Technique is universal but flavors are not,” he adds. “The best thing is to find the mixture that makes sense and tastes amazing.”

Hussong’s Cantina Executive Chef Noe Alcala agrees. “With Chef Tanabe’s unique twist on Mexican cuisine, we know that our guests are going to love this new menu,” says Alcala.

Hussong’s has locations in Mexico and two locations in Las Vegas, including The Shoppes at Mandalay Place on the Las Vegas Strip and Boca Park in Summerlin.