Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub, Las Vegas NV

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Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub

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Dulong x2 – Silver fish sautéed in Saffron Garlic and Squid Ink, served with Garlic Baguette

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Escargot in Spicy Coconut – Julienned Vegetables, Jalapeno, Garlic Baguette

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Garlic Rice – Scallions and Fried Onions

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Fried Plantains – Powdered Sugar

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Crispy Pata – Crispy Pork Hock with Slaw, Soy, Lechon Sauce

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Crispy Pork with Egg Sisig – Belly with Onions & Jalapeno in House Sauce

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Oxtail Kare Kare with Tripe – Grilled Vegetables, Peanut Sauce, Fish Sauce

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Pacit Bami – Chicken, Shrimp, Sausage, Vegetables with Garlic Noodles

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Lengua – Mushroom Cream Sauce with Olives and Peas

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Bibingka Souffle – Milk Cream, Salted Egg Yolk, Fresh Cheese

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Turon a la Mode – Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, Hot Plantains

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Suman – Sticky Rice with Ube, Mango, Crispy Coconut

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Born in the rural Midwest and spending the better part of thirty-two years there while in school, suffice it to say that it very well be that I’d never really engaged in conversation with a person from the Philippines until moving to Las Vegas just two-and-a-half years ago, the island’s cuisine no less underrepresented in my dining history but also in the United States as a whole considering the number of their hard working people that make up the population in 2016 – the chance to dine with two local Chefs, one of them actually Filipino, plus a friend providing more than enough impetus to check out Cutting Board on Saturday afternoon.

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Officially titled “Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub,” the extended descriptor part invitation to those unfamiliar and perhaps a bit cautionary to natives that the food is not exactly “authentic” to the style served back home, the restaurant took over an Asian buffet on Rock Springs Drive just off Lake Meade Boulevard near I-95 just a few months prior and having gained mixed reviews from trusted persons it was with a wide focus that a menu already undergoing several changes that an order was compiled, the dozen plates largely successful with portions that are not only generous, but often quite excessive.

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Decorated in a manner not particularly ethnic, but more befitting a “gastropub” with limited décor aside from televisions showing sports, the layout of Cuttingboard features several hightops with backless industrial stools plus those uncomfortable steel shop-chairs at many standard four-tops, the better bet being to request one of the larger options suited for groups or communal dining that provide padded seats beneath the din of Pop-staples like “No Scrubs” from the 90’s and early 2000’s.

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Listening to several specials while also seeing plates come out from the kitchen to others, the clientele largely Filipino families early before transitioning to a mix of Caucasians, African Americans and Latinos closer to two o’clock, it was merely minutes before the order started arriving, the $170 all-in cost without drinks quickly flooding the table with first bites of both the Silver fish and Escargot in Spicy Coconut proving to be robustly flavored even before being spread on slices of baguette liberally soaked in garlic.

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Unable to resist fried plantains, the ripe fruit lent a gentle savory note here that was replaced by a crisp Shell plus sweet Chocolate Sauce in the Turon a la Mode served for dessert, attention was immediately diverted to a duo of plates that would prove amongst the best of the meal both in terms of size as well as portion, the sizzling Pork Belly Sisig served on cast iron quickly filling the air with a delectable aroma of Onions and Peppers while the Crispy Ham Hock was easily enough to be split by a family of four as the shattering skin gave way to the melted fat and collagen plus rich meat beneath it.

More than a little impressed by the complex Sauces native to the Philippines, everything from the Spicy Coconut to Lechon/Liver Sauce and Aged-Soy going well with both the items they arrived with as well as fluffy Garlic Rice, another surprise was found in the funky Fish Sauce that added another dimension of flavor to the rich Oxtail Kare Kare with tender bits of Tripe mixed in, the meaty Pacit Bami another intense dish chockablock full of Garlic while a daily special of thick-cut Beef Tongue was almost French in its inspiration, bathing with Peas and Olives in a Mushroom Cream Sauce.

Heavily pushed to by servers to taste the Bibingka Souffle, a dish that others have declared as everything from “delicious” to “disappointing,” opinions at the table tended to feel the latter more accurate as mild sweetness did little to mask the nearly raw, eggy center – a far better concept presented by a dish described as Suman with Mango Sauce and Toasted Coconut served over a roll of Sweetened Sticky Rice with mashed Ube at the center.

FOUR STARS: Taking on the difficult task of reinterpreting the cuisine of a nation with deeply ingrained traditions, Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub performs admirably with portions well suited for sharing amongst guests of any race while offering a whole lot to investigate for those who are willing to be adventurous.

RECOMMENDED: Crispy Pata, Lengua, Pork Sisig, Oxtail Kare Kare, Suman.

AVOID: Bibingka Souffle, dining with less than a party of four, and sitting on those awful stools or too close to the front windows where speakers blare.

TIP: Recently opened for lunch, 11:30am-9:30pm Su-Th and till 10:30pm on Friday-Saturday.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.cuttingboard.vegas

Posted in Cutting Board, Cutting Board Filipino, Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Souffle

Downtown Summerlin Farmer’s Market, Las Vegas NV

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Downtown Summerlin Farmer’s Market

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Indoor Farmer’s Market

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Canele

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Sweet Potato Awesome

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Rooster Boy Granola

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Living just three-minutes from Downtown Summerlin, but generally underwhelmed by the restaurants with no particular needs for their shopping selections, it is rare that there is an impetus to visit the nearly two-year old center that continues to thrive despite naysayers predictions, but taking the opportunity to visit the Saturday Intuitive Forager’s Farmer’s Market during a day dedicated to the Culinary Interns at MGM there is no doubt the Market has improved since its inception as Kerry Clasby and her team continue to bring together some of the best in our local food community.

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Now spread across perhaps three-dozen vendors, the Arts and Crafts that seemed to dominate in the past replaced by innovative artisans making everything from Vinegars and Jams to Breads and Jamaican Grilled Meats, it was after a brief history on Kerry’s background that Fiamma Chef Pawan Pinisetti and Ms. Clasby herself led the team of young faces from vendor to vendor discussing everything from their growing techniques to packaging concepts, a few highlights along the way being Romano beans currently being used by Christopher Palmeri at Naked City Tavern and the Rooster Boy Granola featured by Geno Bernardo on the Herringbone Brunch Menu.

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Particularly impressed by the passion of each vendor, a baker inside the Farms section selling a truly impressive Raisin Walnut Sourdough and a Canele that is rivaled only by only a fresh one at Bardot for the city’s best, other unique options include the aforementioned Granola formulated by Chef Sonia El-Nawal to meet any number of dietary needs and discretions, the freeze-dried chips from Joshua Kingdon at Sweet Potato Awesome truly defining a “Super Food that tastes like junk food” with each crackling bite the sort of thing perfect for a low-glycemic snack.

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Offered from 9a-2p on Saturday’s, the produce on the pricey side but certainly a “get what you pay for” sort of thing with Tomatillos, Dragon Fruit, Herbs, and Fairy Tale Eggplant all no more expensive than those at Whole Foods, those in the know are encouraged to arrive early for the best quality and variety of options, not to mention a chance to chat with Chefs like Hemant Kishore of the soon to open Toddy Shop or to purchase one of Jonathan Pluvinet’s fantastic Almond Croissants while still warm.

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http://www.downtownsummerlin.com/visit/

Posted in Dessert, Downtown Summerlin Farmer's Market, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Hummus Factory, Las Vegas NV

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The Hummus Factory

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Housemade Pita with Herb Butter

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Factory Hummus – Garbanzo Beans, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Sesame and Olive Oil (plus a small sample of Ghost Pepper Puree)

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Baba Ganoosh – Smoked Egglplant, Garlic, Tahini, Lemon Juice

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Falafil – Cucumbers, Olives, Tomatoes, Tahini, Housemade Pickles

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Gyro with Zucchini Fries and Pink Sauce

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Combination Plate – Beef Kabob, Kafta, Sujuk, Kibbi with Eggplant Fries and Pink Sauce and Yogurt

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Baklava – Filo Pastry, Walnuts, Sugar, Sweet Butter

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Shabiet – Filo Pastry, Milk Custard, Honey, Crushed Pistachios

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Rice Pudding – Rosewater and Pistachio

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Located on West Sahara Avenue, an area that seems to be growing by leaps and bounds with Eatt and Paradise India recently showing signs of life, The Hummus Factory from Tony Tabet represents the first Brick and Mortar location for a former Food Truck that gathered fans by way of delivering healthy Mediterranean fusion in a scene typically dominated by fried fare, tacos and burgers with odd toppings.

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Bearing no association to Hummus Factory’s elsewhere, the restaurant owned by Tabet and his wife’s only “relation” being that the Chef’s Aunt brought Khoury’s Mediterranean to Las Vegas several years ago, The Hummus Factory occupies a lengthy space just West of Buffalo Drive and with seating for a tepproximately eighty stretching backward from a foyer flanked by a bar that displays the open kitchen the restaurant takes on a sort of non-descript feel that does little to convey its ethnicity by way of several pieces of art designed by the owners themselves, the music a bit more appropriate to the style of the menu, though at times the chants or singing do become a touch too loud.

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Serving large portions across the menu, Mrs. Tabet acting as Maitre D’ and waitress explaining that the goal was to feed people as it is done back home, prices trend higher than most of the Valley’s Mediterranean options in part due to the fact that almost everything offered is meant for sharing, the ability to order samplers and substitutions a welcome addition for those who do not wish to fill up on rice with the average cost for a meal-for-two probably somewhere in the range of fifty dollars.

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Dining as a duo with a goal to sample widely from sections ranging from dips and salads to sandwiches and entrees, it was with a few questions asked that the order was settled, a substantial three-course tasting comprised of approximately nine items with an all-in cost of just under $90.

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Beginning with house-made Pita, certainly one of the best in the city with four fluffy puffs per basket, round one consisted of the restaurant’s eponymous dish that offers a creamy base with light herbs gently slicked in Olive Oil with an underlying bit of Citrus, the oddly spelled “Falafil” appetizer getting away from the neon green hues of some with a dense nuttiness that plays well off Tahini and housemade Pickles, the Baba Ganoosh another great flavor that does wonders for anything it is spread on by adding its satin texture as well as a touch of smoke.

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Chuckling at the ridiculousness of Ghost Peppers, perhaps 1/8tsp causing a spontaneous cough and hiccupping fit from one at the table, it was with palates ready that more meaty options arrived for round two of the evening, the Gyro relatively standard fare flanked by gently fried slices of Zucchini (a $2.95 addition) that paired well with the sweet n’ savory “Pink Sauce,” while the Combination Plate was a far more fulfilling option highlighted by Spicy Sujuk and reference standard Kibbi alongside Eggplant fries that will leave all but the most strong-willed picking at them until the pile is reduced to nothing.

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Offering three desserts, each charged $6.95 with everything, again, made in-house, The Hummus Factory’s Baklava is quite different from the standard in that each of the five fingers is only lightly touched in sweetness and thus extremely crunchy with a focus on the Walnuts and strips of Phyllo, a more traditional Rice Pudding dialing up savory notes with Rosewater and Cinnamon playing off Pistachios while the warm Shabiet happily steals the spotlight by way of creamy Custard tucked inside layers of crisp Pastry beneath a veil of Nuts and Honey.

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THREE AND A HALF STARS: Priced a bit steeply for what it is, though taking the time to do everything from scratch no doubt warrants a premium for labor as well as skill, The Hummus Factory proves that the transition from Truck to Restaurant remains as possible as ever in the current restaurant climate, though the space itself could still use a bit of work before it feels like it has a true identity while dishes better suited for solo diners would be welcomed as well.

RECOMMENDED: Pita, Baba Ganoosh, Sujuk, Eggplant Fries, Shabiet.

AVOID: Gyro is average, Rice Pudding is overpriced, Ghost Peppers are dangerous.

TIP: Closed on Sundays, Yelp! Check-In scores a free Factory Hummus.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://hummusfactorylv.com/

The Hummus Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Hummus Factory, Las Vegas, Nevada, The Hummus Factory

Chantilly’s Bakery, Las Vegas NV

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Chantilly’s Bakery

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Bear Claw

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Cinnamon Roll

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Chocolate Chip Cookies and Snickerdoodles

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Raspberry Crumb Cake

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Butterfinger Cheesecake

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Filled to Order Cannoli

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Cream and Custard Éclair

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Butterscotch Pecan Streusel Muffin

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Tucked into a shopping plaza on South Jones with its view from the street obstructed by a small Pho parlor, Chantilly’s Bakery is the sort of place that can easily be missed by even those searching for it, a desire to visit the place additionally compromised by a complete lack of seating and weekday-only hours.

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Locally owned and operated, everything scratch-made on-site with a focus on custom orders including elaborate Cakes, it was just past noon on a Friday that Chantilly’s was entered and with the lone baker hidden somewhere in the back a buzzer alerted him to a patron, the young man emerging with a smile and describing each of the items on display with the sort of passion of a team that is justifiably proud of its work.

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Far lower in price than other bakeries in the Valley, large wedges of Cheesecake only $3.50 with $2 laminated Pastries and Macarons just a buck, the decision was made after lengthy perusal to sample a wide variety totaling nine different items plus two duplicates, the total cost just $20.50 with some quite delicious, though the tiny 50-cent cookies were unfortunately dry and practically inedible.

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Slowly enjoyed across the course of the afternoon, the filled-to-order Cannoli going first since Chantilly’s actually puts forth the additional effort that so few bakeries do, it was nice to feel the crisp shell shatter around smooth Mascarpone dipped in Chips of Dark Chocolate, the Éclair tasted next a surprisingly excellent rendition with crunchy Pate a Choux sliced and stacked like a Cream Puff, both the Custard and the Cream filling going light on the sweetness making for a complex and refined composition.

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Giving the Cinnamon Roll and Muffin a short time in the microwave, a personal preference that undoubtedly benefitted the later, it warrants mention that better lamination can be found at several places in Sin City than what was seen in the $1.50 Roll of $2 Bear Claw, though both were still decent, the buttery Muffin a far better investment of calories and finance with a top of crunchy Streusel and interior studded with Butterscotch Chips.

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Keeping Cheesecake cool for last, the slice easily 10oz or more, first tastes of the cardboard lined Crumb Cake made me wonder exactly where the advertised Raspberry was hidden, a deeper spoonful quick to reveal a seedless puree that was unfortunately underwhelming despite the overall quality of the base that it was mixed in, the Cheesecake taking the exact opposite route by going all-in with Butterfinger and a dense Graham Cracker crust that still somehow managed to allow mild sour notes to stand out.

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THREE STARS: Challenged by location, décor and hours, though the staff is friendly and prices are a true bargain, Chantilly’s is worth the visit for those in the area looking for something sweet to curb a craving, the Muffin and Cheesecake perhaps even worth making a workday diversion.

RECOMMENDED: Cheesecake, Butterscotch Muffin, Éclair, Cannoli.

AVOID: Cookies, Bear Claw.

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TIP: Monday to Friday, 8a-6p. Look for “BAKERY” on Signage on the East Side of South Jones near Pho 87.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.chantillybakery.com/

Chantilly's Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Chantilly's, Chantilly's Bakery, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada

Standard & Pour, Henderson NV

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Standard & Pour Friends and Family

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Scallop Crudo – Ruby Red Grapefruit, Avocado, Bagna Cauda

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Garden Tomato – Stracciatella, Watermelon Radish, Thai Basil

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Crispy Oyster – Sriracha Egg Salad, Smoked Trout Roe

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A beautiful space and a lively scene with music plus passed hors d’oeuvres, Simon Hospitality Group’s Standard & Pour officially opened its doors on August 24th 2016, but for a select group of friends and family the events of one night prior spoke to a space ready to light Henderson on fire with the sort of creative cuisine featured at Carson Kitchen in a larger space with more sophisticated décor.

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Headed by Cory Harwell and reinventing the old Firefly on South Eastern into something chic and fresh, first bites at S&P consisted of small bites from a clever menu using Simon’s idea of refinement neets accessibility, the silky Scallop kissed with briny capers sure to be a hit amongst those looking for light bites or appetizers to go along with cocktails, a Tomato Salad with soft white Cheese rich in herbs alongside crisp rounds of Radish.

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As much a ‘fun’ menu as it is a serious foray into new multicultural ideas, other menu highlights look to be the Wellington-style Escargot and Korean Pancake Tacos, both of them joining a clever riff on Firefly’s signature Bacon-wrapped Dates plus a briny Oyster cooked crisp atop spicy Egg puree and smoke infused Trout Roe.

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Now serving 4pm till 11pm, but with likely plans for midday meals as the word of Standard & Pour grows, post-sunset crowds will be happy for the cool weather pending as the restaurant additionally offers an outdoor patio for wining and dining, the privilege of a second floor setting allowing for an excellent Strip view.

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Standard & Pour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Food, Henderson, Las Vegas, Nevada, Standard & Pour, Standard and Pour

Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 [2,] Las Vegas NV

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Mr. Lucky’s 24/7

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Shake

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Breakfast Bloody Mary – Served Spicy with Shrimp, Deviled Egg, Bacon + Sausage + Cheese Waffle Slider, Beef Jerky, Celery, Pickle

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Donut Hole Donuts – Cinnamon, Sugar, Nutella

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Butterscotch Pecan Pancake Shortstack – Vanilla Butter, Maple Syrup

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Home Skillet – Two Sunny Side Eggs, Ham, Sausage, Bacon, Bell Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, Tomato, Fried Potatoes, Melted Cheddar, Sour Cream with Whole Wheat Toast

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Cornflake Crusted French Toast – Vanilla Butter, Strawberries, Mascarpone, Maple Syrup

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Breakfast Quesadilla – Scrambled Eggs, Aged Cheddar, Pork Sausage, Flour Tortilla, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Sour Cream

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Barnyard Burger – Double Stacked 8oz. Beef and Turkey Patties, Brown Sugar Bacon, Hollandaise, American Cheese and Arugula on a Pretzel Bun with Fries

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Red Velvet Cake – Caramelized Pineapple, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Sticky Toffee Pudding – Praline Tuille, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Skillet Peach Cobbler – Streusel, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Originally visited in December of 2013, an early morning watching late-night revelers return to their rooms offered by a location overlooking the gaming floor at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Mr. Lucky’s has consistently remained one of the best 24/7 bets for a good meal amongst the Resort based options, a recent look showing plenty of clever innovation in a comfortable setting decorated in the way only the Hard Rock can.

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Featuring a collection of Comfort Foods concocted by Hard Rock Executive Chef Marcus O’Brien, and manned by a dedicated team from front of house to the kitchen crew, Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 sits Casino-center in a sprawling space that features punk-rockers like The Ramones and Circle Jerks set beneath a soundtrack ranging from Funk to Classic Rock, the menu taking a similarly aggressive yet all-encompassing approach.

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Focused largely on the All-Day Breakfast section, a few half-portions requested in order to sample widely without wasting food, the meal got started with a glass of ice water alongside two items certainly not undersized in their proper format, the daily “Pie Shake” seeing a fresh slice of Peanut Butter and Chocolate pureed into a Vanilla Ice Cream base with crust as the garnish – an even more eye-popping embellishment offered by way of The Hard Rock Bloody Mary with a hefty bit of spice tucked beneath a top-heavy skewer complete with Shrimp, Deviled Eggs and a Waffle Slider plus several types of Meat.

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Told that the recently reformulated Sweet Cream Pancakes would now be featured with traditional toppings as well as a “Pancake of the Week,” suffice it to say that at $11.99 for a Full-stack the fluffy Flapjacks offer a significant deal for those looking to share, even the two-cake Shortstack large enough that most will not put a dent in it despite the current offering of Butterscotch Chips and toasted Pecans being especially delicious even without butter or additional accoutrements.

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Continuing the sweet theme with a fryer-basket of airy Cinnamon-Sugar Donut Holes and a sidecar of Nutella, savories from Mr. Lucky’s Breakfast are highlighted by the kitchen sink-style Home Skillet with an assortment of Meats and Vegetables layered amidst skillet Potatoes beneath two Eggs and Melted Cheddar, the Breakfast Quesadilla offering a similar concept well-suited for those wishing to eat something lighter.

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Still offering the same delicious French Toast as 32 months prior, a true case of “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” with Mascarpone and Strawberries atop Brioche made crunchy by way of Cornflakes, a taste of one of Mr. Lucky’s Specialty Burgers showed a good sear on both Beef and Turkey Patties beneath Bacon, Cheese and Hollandaise, the Pretzel bun standing up admirably to the heft of ingredients, though those looking to not make a mess may still wish to indulge with a fork and knife anyways.

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Extending the comfort food concept to desserts, American favorites like Cheesecake and Banana Splits joined by several more plus the aforementioned Shakes and Pies, suffice it to say that Mr. Lucky’s does not scale back when it comes to the sweeter part of the morning, afternoon or evening – the wedge of Red Velvet separating dense layers by ribbons of Cream Cheese Frosting while both the steamy Sticky Toffee Pudding and reference standard Cobbler are even stronger offerings with the former not dissimilar to a Bacon-spiked version at 35 Steaks + Martinis and the later perhaps trumping Yardbird for tops in Sin City.

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FOUR STARS: Not fine dining by any stretch, but going the extra mile to be better than it has to be, Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 again proves the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to be an underappreciated property in terms of its dining options, and almost universally a bargain compared to similar Strip-based entities.

RECOMMENDED: Sweet Cream Pancakes, Barnyard Burger, Cornflake Crusted French Toast, Skillet Peach Cobbler.

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AVOID: Acknowledging food costs, the Syrup is unfortunately not 100% Maple. Additionally, in the face of the Home Skillet the Breakfast Quesadillas fall a little flat.

TIP: A menu update is upcoming with several new savories as well as boozed-up shakes. Several daily deals are also offered via the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino website, $2 Pie Shakes on Thursday just one of the bargains to be had.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

https://www.hardrockhotel.com/las-vegas-restaurants/24-7-diner

Mr. Lucky's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Mr. Lucky's, Mr. Lucky's 24/7, Nevada, Pancakes, Pork, Tasting Menu

Wendy’s Noodle Café, Las Vegas NV

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Wendy’s Noodle Café

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Preserved Egg Congee with Pork

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Curry Fish Ball Skewer

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Honey Glazed Eggplant with White Sesame

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Sweet Potato Fries with Black Sesame

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Kung Pao Mushrooms

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Pan Fried Noodles

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Shanghai Soup Dumplings

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Spicy Steak Cubes and Rice Cakes with Ramen

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Rice Omelet with Seafood Alfredo

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Honey Walnut Prawns

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Chef’s Special Fried Chicken Wings

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Grilled Ox Tongue

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Mango Crepe

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Fresh Fruit Napoleon

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Snow Flower Sundae with Egg Custard, Vanilla Shave Ice, Red Bean, Herbal Jelly

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Long on the Chinatown ‘to-do’ list and recommended by several folks as one of the better places to share plates in the area, it was with four friends and one youngster that lunch took place at Wendy’s Noodle Café on South Jones Boulevard, the menu embracing everything from “fusion” to traditional favorites with results that were somewhat variable.

One of the few free-standing restaurants in a high-density area where places seem to come and go with the wind, Wendy’s Noodle Café has been enticing diners since 2009 when its owner left her position at Chang’s Hong Kong Cuisine and Dim Sum, the restaurant slowly morphing over time to entice Western palates in addition to more traditional clientele while simultaneously growing its menu to more than one hundred options.

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Divided into sections ranging from “small plates/tapas” to fusion, chef’s specials, rice plates, noodles and more a first glimpse at Wendy’s menu can seem overwhelming to those not doing prior research, the staff’s limited English – though certainly better than any foreign language skills at our table – seeing the order largely predetermined by the suggestions of others with fifteen plates divided over three courses.

Not particularly focused on noodles, but rather a variety of plates divided across the breadth of the menu to see how well the kitchen performs, it was with a large bowl of creamy Congee that the meal got started and with plenty of Pork as well as Century Egg included the rice was imbued with a deep sapor, the same to be said of the Kung Pao Mushrooms that were far less heated than some may favor, though that fact allowed the dish’s umami to instead come to the fore.

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Ordering a plate of simple wok-fried noodles for the pickiest diner at the table, texture on-point though flavor was expectedly lacking, better bites were found in the densely packed Fish Balls paired with thick Curry paste, the Honey sweetened Eggplant a truly addictive dish while the Sweet Potato fries would have been greatly benefitted by the salty egg-yolk featured at other similar places.

Moving on to more plates, the total bill $145.34 before tip, XLB fell far short of expectations due to a thick and sticky wrapping with soup that lacked much depth, the ‘tapas’ of Chef’s Special Fried Chicken Wings and Grilled Ox Tongue each fairing better with the former crisp and spicy while the later was smooth and tender with a salty-sweet finish.

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Offering a sizable portion of Walnut Prawns for just $14.99, the quality on par to those at Jasmine where prices run double for fewer, more good bites were found in the spicy Steak and springy Rice Cakes with Ramen as well as the unique Omelet folded around fluffy rice topped in a thick white sauce teaming with Shrimp, Squid and Scallops.

A bit weary of desserts at such a place, though pleased by the variety offered, three sweet items were selected to round out the afternoon and although the make-to-order Napoleon was far less layered than many of its French counterparts the Berries were indeed fresh amidst light Cream while the Mango Crepe ate something like a Fruit Roll-Up wrapped around more cream and with a ripe and juicy center, the Snow Flower Sundae putting an unset Custard base beneath Vanilla Shave Ice, Red Bean, cubes of Herbal Jelly.

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THREE STARS: Expectedly lax in service, even with the restaurant less than 1/8 full, Wendy’s Noodle Café falls somewhere in the middle of the pack for Las Vegas Chinatown, the best bet undoubtedly going with a group in order to sample many things with a focus on less finesse-oriented plates.

RECOMMDENDED: Honey Glazed Eggplant with White Sesame, Kung Pao Mushrooms, Walnut Prawns, Spicy Steak Cubes and Rice Cakes with Ramen.

AVOID: Sweet Potato Fries and Shanghai Soup Dumplings. Prices for ‘tapas’ seem to trend higher than portions would dictate.

TIP: Open 11a-11p daily, full menu available online.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.wendysnoodlecafe.com/

Wendy's Noodle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Wendy's, Wendy's Noodle, Wendy's Noodle Cafe

Squeeze In, Las Vegas NV

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Squeeze In

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Blind Dog Coffee

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Buttermilk Biscuit

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Jack Johnson Banana Walnut Pancakes – Buttermilk Pancakes with Walnuts Cooked inside, topped with Bananas sautéed in Butter and Honey

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Queen Maggie – French Toast stuffed with Cream Cheese, crowned with Strawberries, Bananas, Cinnamon and Powdered Sugar

Open for just over a month on Fort Apache near Tropicana, an import originally from Truckee California but since expanding to Reno, Sparks, Redwood City and now Las Vegas, Squeeze In promotes itself as offering the “Best Omelettes on the Planet” and having bested Bobby Flay en route to franchising opportunities a first look at the concept shows a restaurant willing to have some fun while still taking the right steps to be successful.

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Differentiating itself from the pack by way of design as well as offerings, the menu one of those multi-page affairs that at first makes experienced diners cringe but quickly reveals itself to be intelligently crafted to use a limited number of ingredients in creative manners in order to create hundreds of types of Omelettes and Sandwiches plus some Skillets, Griddles, Soups, Salads and more, the décor at Squeeze In is best described as a ramshackle array of hippie nostalgia, everything from records and bicycles hung amidst road signs with cutouts of Aliens displayed prominently as customers are also invited to scrawl their own art on the walls.

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Open at 7am daily and reportedly packed to capacity from nine o’clock until closing on weekends thus far, it was just after 7:15 that entry was made to the place where 70s and 80s rock plays loudly overhead and greeted by a cheerful hostess before being handed off to a young man named Andrew the waitstaff was unexpectedly excellent, the restaurant apparently already generating regulars greeted by name while everyone who entered was treated to service with a smile and beverages frequently refilled.

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Not afraid to brand itself and embrace social media, the Egghead Club and #squeezeinfun prominently promoted with “points” offered for dollars spent, surveys and online reviews, it was after lengthy perusal of the menu that an order was determined, a $5 welcoming coupon plus free beverage by way of Yelp! bringing the total to just $25 after tax and tip for a substantial amount of food.

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Joking with customers in a jovial way while pouring cup after cup of good coffee roasted by Reno’s Blind Dog throughout the stay, it was perhaps fifteen minutes after ordering that plates arrived from the kitchen and with Free Wi-Fi available to pass the time as everything from Golden Earring to The Scorpions played first bites of the “Jack Johnson Pancakes” more than lived up to the billing as the Buttermilk four-stack was still fluffy despite a liberal dotting of Walnuts beneath a layer of melted Butter and Honey-kissed Bananas.

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Having brought 100% Maple Syrup from home only to realize that Squeeze In steps up their game by offering their own at a supplementary cost, Queen Maggie French Toast proved a bit less impressive than it could have been since the quick sear had failed to melt Cream Cheese in more than half of the six slices, though the dish still remained a winner based on the Bread quality and the Eggy Custard in which it was soaked.

Finishing up with a respectable oversized biscuit, the somewhat flattened oval in no way indicating a lack of flavor, though a lack of layering sees it fall short of the Valley’s best, suffice it to say that leftovers are likely to follow most diners home from a breakfast at Squeeze In, an average family of four probably quite safe to share two entrees and be perfectly happy strolling out the door.

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FOUR STARS: Already out-performing several of Las Vegas “best” breakfast spots in terms of scene, service and selections, Squeeze In enters an already busy scene with big aspirations that it seems ready to pursue with diligence, a few minor tweaks likely all it needs to see continuing lines and ongoing success.

RECOMMENDED: Jack Johnson Banana Walnut Pancakes, Blind Dog Coffee, Yelp! Check In receives a free cocktail or beverage.

AVOID: Jam is typical Smucker’s Packets and could use an upgrade, even if supplemental like the Syrup, and Specials listed on Social Media were not the same as those offered in-store.

TIP: Open 7am to 2pm daily, location #2 coming soon at 8826 South Eastern Ave near the 215.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.squeezein.com/las-vegas-nv/

Squeeze In Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Blind Dog Coffee, Breakfast, Coffee, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pancakes, Squeeze In

Fiamma Trattoria & Bar [2,] Las Vegas NV

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Fiamma Trattoria & Bar

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Focaccia and Soft Rolls with Tomato Basil Butter and Unsalted Cow’s Milk Butter

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Grilled Mediterranean Octopus – Pee Wee Potatoes, Kalamata Olives, Red Pepper Romesco, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Frisee

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Beef Carpaccio – Shaved Fennel and Celery Hearts, Classic Cipriani and Citonette Dressing, Shaved Parmigiano, Brioche Croutons

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San Danelle Prosciutto – Apricot Jam, Bleu Cheese Mousse, Mixed Greens, Grilled Flat Bread

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Caprese Salad – Fresh Bufala Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil Pesto, Aged Balsamic, Roasted Peppers

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Red Pepper Risotto – Lobster, Cream, Garden Peas, Fresh Basil

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Spicy Broccolini – Roasted Garlic, Chili Flakes

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Raviolini – ShortRib Ravioli, Black Truffle Cream, Vegetable Confetti, Red Wine Demi-glace

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Lasagna Bolognese – Three Meat Ragu, Parmigiano, Mozzarella, Ricotta Cheese

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Spaghetti Chitarra – San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Basil, Parmigiano

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Fiamma Linguini and Clams – White Wine Garlic Sauce, Manilla Clams, Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Chili Flakes

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Beef Tenderloin Marsala – Fresh Tagliatelle Pasta, Sliced Beef Tenderloin, Mushroom Marsala Sauce

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Strawberries & Cream – Yogurt Mousse, Crème Fraiche Sponge, Strawberry Coulis, Yogurt Sorbetti, Strawberry Lime Sauce

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Peach Bellini – Prosecco and Vanilla Panna Cotta, Caramel Peach Infusion, Peach Sorbetti, White Chocolate Pearls, Bellini Macarons

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Classic Crème Brulee – Vanilla Brulee, Mixed Berries, Cookie Tuille

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Nutella Tiramisu – Nutella Mascarpone Mousse, Frangelico Lady Fingers, Coffee whipped Cream, Caramelized Hazelnuts

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Tempted by Chef Pawan Pinisetti’s daily Instagram updates to take a look at some more of what MGM’s Fiamma Trattoria & Bar has to offer, it was with two others plus a late addition that dinner took place at one of the spacious four-tops in the restaurant’s second level, a total of fifteen plates served in three courses one again showing the work of a skilled kitchen staff using really good ingredients.

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Overlooked by critics and locals despite a heritage dating back to Michael White with several of the city’s most respected Italian Chefs having spent time in the kitchen, Fiamma’s 2016 Summer Menu shows subtle updates from the previous season and although the room may at first seem enormous and brooding, the feel is actually far more intimate, largely in-part to a service staff offering great attention to detail and a noise level conducive to *talking* rather than shouting.

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Requesting the kitchen to approach the evening Carte Blanche with a focus on Pasta, each noodle and sauce scratch-made in-house beginning at 4:00am, course one featured a total of five Antipasti, all but the vibrant Red Pepper Risotto teaming with Lobster experienced during a prior visit, though the Caprese has been reworked around a new Heirloom variety of Tomato that comes across sweet with assertive acidity while Apricot Jam has replaced the Fig Marmalada served with Prosciutto.

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Fully engaged in conversations ranging from food to mortality to cinema, it was with great patience that the staff kept watch and slowly cleared plates before preparing the table for round two, and with Chef Pinisetti personally describing each dish as options overflowed to a sideboard the only questions were where to start and how much stomach real-estate to mortgage for each, the Linguini and Clams a little lost in the Garlic and Salt for my tastes while the Raviolini remains famous for a reason, as too should be the Spaghetti Chitarra that uses a thicker, more springy noodle than many as a backbone beneath crushed San Marzano’s, shredded Basil and a touch of Parmigiano.

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More than a bit impressed by the Broccolini cooked tender in a bath of confit Garlic and spicy Chili Flakes, one of the city’s loudest voices in produce sourcing going back to this dish more than once, Fiamma’s Lasagna nearly matches the high standard set by Portofino without being quite as rich in the meat department, the Beef Tenderloin Marsala more than making up for that with thin slices of Tenderloin atop ribbons of Tagliatelle in an aromatic Sauce of Mushrooms plus a whole lot of reduced Marsala.

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Completely retooling the dessert menu while also reining in the number of options slightly, Fiamma’s pastry program remains the very best Italian option in the city thanks to the sort of thinking more commonly found at Joel Robuchon or other French kitchens, the Crème Brulee a textbook example safe for the unadventurous while the Tiramisu is benefitted by both Nutella and the aromatics of Frangelico, the tableside preparations of Strawberries & Cream as well as Bellini a pleasant but unnecessary step since the flavors and textures of each are as elegant as they are delicious, the Prosecco’s juxtaposition to Buttermilk particularly impressive in the Stonefruit Parfait with delicate Macarons hidden at the bottom.

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FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Doing far more than they have to considering the space and nightly number of covers, Fiamma Trattoria & Bar continues to shine outside the eyes of local writers and publications with Chef Pinisetti’s commitment to teamwork and impressive work ethic evident in every aspect of the evening.

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RECOMMENDED: Beef Carpaccio, Spicy Broccolini, Spaghetti Chitarra, Raviolini, Beef Tenderloin Marsala, Peach Bellini, Strawberries & Cream.

AVOID: Linguini & Clams needed something to help round out the salt.

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TIP: Currently offering a Summer Prix-Fixe, the website menu offers only a glimpse of what this kitchen can do. Stop by, call or follow Pawan on Instagram for more information as well as daily specials.

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WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

https://www.mgmgrand.com/en/restaurants/fiamma-italian-restaurant-bar.html

Fiamma Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Fiamma, Fiamma Trattoria, Fiamma Trattoria & Bar, Fiamma Trattoria and Bar, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Lobster, Macaron, Macaroon, Nevada, Octopus, Pork, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu, Truffle, Truffles

Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery, Las Vegas NV

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Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery

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Lamb and Beef Gyro with Yogurt Sauce

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Veggie Combo – Falafel, Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tabbuleh, Dolmades, Greek Salad

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House Made Warm Pita

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Kunaffe with Cheese

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Baklava

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Date Cookie

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Walnut Cookie

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Chocolate Quickers

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Tucked away in a shopping plaza on South Decatur Boulevard, Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery focuses on Mediterranean Food “cooked with love,” and although the restaurant, bakery and specialty goods store may not appear to be much from the outside those venturing through the doors are in for something quite special served by a team that really does seem to pour a lot of passion into what they do.

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Owned and operated by Amer Hamed, the native Nazarene originally looking to fill a niche based on the foods of his homeland and a focus on Halal Meats and dietary traditions, entrance to Amena Café is much like many other similar styled eateries with a counter to the right and tables spread leftward, patrons eyes diverted to a pictorial menu board hanging overhead without prices while both laminated and carryout menus tell the full story with costs very affordable.

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Just under a quarter filled during the early lunch hour, many of those present speaking in Hebrew clearly regulars, it was with warm greetings from one of two women that patrons were greeted and after a quick perusal of the options the decision to invest in the “Veggie Combo” and Gyro proved a great way to take a wide look at the options with six styles of Mezze plus the Sandwich and warm Pita making for a fairly substantial meal.

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Offering take-out and catering, in addition to table service, it was with the kitchen slightly backed up by a few large orders that perhaps a dozen minutes passed listening to the ethnic music above, and although the warm water with Lemon had a slightly ‘off’ taste in desperate need of softening the food itself showed no signs of compromise, first bites of the Chickpea Croquettes showing a golden shell give way to pillowy insides nicely tinged with Salt, the tiny Dolmades amongst the very best of the genre without overwhelming bitterness from the Grape Leaf while Salads were merely decent, though Tabbuleh has admittedly never been a dish that I’ve enjoyed much.

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Spreading both the creamy Hummus and smoky Eggplant puree on warm Pita and briefly pondering whether better versions of either can be found in Sin City, first bites of the Gyro showed signs of a kitchen willing to let the richness of Lamb shine despite the addition of Cucumbers, Tomatoes and tangy Yogurt dressing, the $8.99 pocket probably big enough to be shared by most diners, though it also holds up well for leftovers to be enjoyed later.

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A bit more spendy on sweets than savories, cookies and baklava ranging $2.00-3.50 each with all pleasant enough, though none prone to wow when compared to others in the city, a better investment is found in the $9.99 Kunaffe with Cheese, a Honey soaked take on Palestinian Kanafah with soft white Cheese cooked stretchy beneath crumbled Pistachios and Semolina threads that is as rich as it is delicious and also still great when reheated.

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THREE AND A HALF STARS: Obviously investing a lot of time and effort into the concept while carving out a niche that has been widely embraced by descendants of Israel and other nearby lands, Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery is a great place for lunch where one can eat as healthy or heavily as they choose to, some items better than others but all-in-all certainly a good choice for the genre and area.

RECOMMENDED: Falafel, Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Pita, Kunaffe.

AVOID: Water, Walnut Cookies, Tabbuleh.

TIP: Kunaffe is available in several sizes, call to inquire about this and catering options which seemed quite popular.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.amenacafe.com/

Amena Bakery & Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Amena, Amena Mediterranean Café, Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery, Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada

Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge [3,] Las Vegas NV

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Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge

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Bitter Two-Thymer – Bombay East Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, Housemade Thyme Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice, Lemon Bitters

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Baguette and Butter

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Charcuterie Board – Foie Gras Terrine with Lingonberry Compote, Pheasant Terrine with Mushroom Duxelle and Duck Bacon, Sauccison D’Alsace, Pork Rillettes, Mustard, Pickles, Brioche

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Burrata Cheese Salad – Heirloom Tomato and Melon Tartare, Banyuls Vinaigrette, Cracked Pepper

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Fried Frog Legs – Rosemary and Parsley Persillade, Brown Butter

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Chilled Grilled Asparagus Tonatto – Crispy Shallots, Preserved Lemon

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Pan Seared Duck Foie Gras – Granola Streusel, Poached Peach, Crème Fraiche, Southern Comfort

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Duck Confit Cassoulet – White Cannellini Beans, Bread Crumbs

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PEI Mussels – White Wine, Saffron and Housemade Chorizo

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Pheasant en Croute – Golden Chanterelles, Sauteed Arugula, Fig Jus

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Sweet Corn Risotto – Grilled Baby Corn, Green Garlic Butter

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Roasted Artichoke and Tomatoes

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14oz Bison T-Bone – Medium Rare with House Steak Sauce

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Cassis Sorbet on Honey Tuille

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Hazelnut Praline Gateau – Milk Chocolate Mascarpone, Orange and Fig Ice Cream

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Dark Chocolate Fondant – Earl Grey Ice Cream and Smoked Cocoa Nibs

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Lime Basque Cake – Blackberry Jam and Apricot Sorbet

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Carmel Macchiato Bonet – Espresso Crisps and Condensed Milk Froth

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Banana Ice Cream Profiteroles – Guava and Caramelized Chips

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Raspberry and White Chocolate Souffle

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Mignardises

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Brandied Cherries

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Announcing its pending October 5th closure on August 11th, just a few days after making a reservation for the coming weekend, it was with a bit of sadness that dinner took place at Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge in The Monte Carlo this past Saturday, something newer and flashier no doubt on the way in a city always willing to mortgage its past in search of higher profits, though this choice seems more shortsighted than others.

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Opened at The Monte Carlo twenty years ago, outgrowing an original downtown space before the first “celebrity chef” arrived in Sin City, Andre Rochat has been instrumental in training some of Las Vegas greatest Chefs, Servers and General Managers, the current kitchen headed by Chris Bulen and Tammy Alana continuing the strong culinary tradition while Joe Marsco leads a gracious and pleasant staff as Director of Operations at both Andre’s and Alize at the top of The Palms Resort & Casino.

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As classic a dining room as one will find in Las Vegas, alcove booths, chandelier lighting, Sinatra and lush fabrics all present and accounted for, it was with Carte Blanche given to the team that a party of two was greeted at the hostess podium just prior to 6:00pm by Marc Boutiron, the man leading the service staff exuding professionalism at all turns, yet at the same time as affable as they come.

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Seated at a sizable two-top, the same as prior with lighting well suited for photos, no menu was presented based on personal request, a Bread Basket with good Butter soon to arrive along with a “Bitter Two-Thymer,” the Gin-based drink with an herbal edge proving a fortuitous pairing with several of the bold courses to follow.

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Hearing stories from various Chefs around the city about Andre Rochat’s passion for technique, many French classics still present on a menu full of seasonal inspirations from Chef Bulen, tasting began with a large Charcuterie board replete with imported Salami plus housemade Terrines, Rillettes and Garnishes – both the mi cuit Liver and Duck-bacon wrapped Pheasant equally splendid whether eaten on their own or spread liberally on Brioche warm from the griddle.

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Turning to the current Summer menu for courses two and three, the Burrata Salad and garlicky Frog Legs Persillade both flawlessly executed classics, Bulen’s “Chilled Grilled Asparagus Tonatto” took an entirely novel approach to the boldly flavored sauce traditionally served with Veal Carpaccio, instead offering it over fork-tender stalk with crispy Shallots adding texture.

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Joking that he would not leave the table hungry course four was offered as two takes on Duck, a large steak of seared Grade A Foie Gras served over creamy Granola with boozy Peaches as perfect a specimen as can be found on this side of the Atlantic while the piping hot Cassoulet presented an-off menu display of exactly the sort of food Las Vegas’ ever-trendy dining scene is sorely lacking.

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Lightening things up a bit with Mussels from Prince Edward Island served in a Saffron broth enlivened by spicy housemade Pork Sausage, course six dove right back into the sort of food seen in Larousse Gastronomique by way of Pheasant en Croute with tender Mushrooms and sauteed Arugula all resting in a pool of Fig-infused pan-sauce, the follow-up of a Bison T-Bone grilled just-past rare showing great texture for something so lean while the Sweet Corn Risotto with Garlic Butter was itself good enough to be offered as an entrée to both omnivorous and vegetarians.

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Turning now to Tammy Alana, a talent that still does not get the recognition deserved as one of Las Vegas’ finest pastry Chefs, a small Ice Cream Cone of Cassis helped transition palates from savory to sweet, a showcase of four all-new desserts soon to arrive along with the classic Chocolate Fondant followed by Coffee, an ethereal Raspberry Soufflé and Mignardises.

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Always impressed by the fact that Chef Alana oversees pastry and bread at two restaurants while still managing to innovate and reinvent each menu seasonally, one would be hard-pressed to name a *best* from Andre’s current assemblage of flavors and textures, the cupped Bonet and Hazelnut Gateau each eating lightly without sacrificing richness while the White Chocolate encircled Lime Basque Cake sandwiched between Blackberry Jam and Apricot Sorbet is rivaled closely for “wow-factor” by Banana Ice Cream Profiteroles with candied Fruit Chips and a dusting of Guava.

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FIVE STARS: Executing French classics, seasonal whims and desserts on par with any restaurant in the city, this meal at Andre’s will hold a special place in the memory bank for some time to come, another visit before closure already in the early stages of planning with my strongest recommendation for those who’ve not been to go soon if they place any value in fine dining.

RECOMMENDED: Charcuterie, Fried Frog Legs, Pan Seared Foie Gras, Pheasant en Croute, Sweet Corn Risotto, Lime Basque Cake, Banana Profiteroles.

AVOID: The Roasted Artichoke and Tomatoes side dish felt a little flat on its own, though going bite-for-bite with the Bison put it into better context as the acid helped clean the palate when transitioning to the Risotto.

TIP: For those still not ‘sold’ on a full night at Andre’s, the bar menu and Happy Hour offerings include some great bites including the Frog Legs, Rillettes and a really great Caponata.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.andrelv.com

Andre's Restaurant - Monte Carlo Resort and Casino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Andre's, Andre's Restaurant & Lounge, Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Souffle, Tasting Menu

B&B Burgers & Beer, Las Vegas NV

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B&B Burgers & Beer

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Pastrami Sandwich – Rye Bread, Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut, Line Cook Ale Mustard

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Eggplant Parmigiano – Ciabatta, Fried Eggplant, Marinara, Fresh Mozzarella, Provolone, Basil Pesto

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Crispy Cod – Sesame Seed Bun, Iceberg Slaw, Jalapeno Tartar

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French Fries – House Ketchup

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Nutella Shake – Vanilla Gelato, Nutella, Candied Hazelnuts

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Bourbon Cherry – Vanilla Gelato, Bourbon, Amarena Cherry

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Briefly known as Rattlecan and subsequently rebranded to another Celebrity Chef spot in late 2013 when Mario Batali and partner Joe Bastianich launched B&B Burgers & Beer, there is little doubt that the odd corner near the Venetian Poker Room and Sports Book remains a marketing challenge no matter how big the name on the signage, ongoing construction in the vicinity and outdoor temperatures topping 105°F making the idea of a visit even more of a chore.

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Best accessed from the outside patio, a pleasant view of the Gondolas with some seclusion from Strip traffic a bonus compared to other eateries jutting out onto Las Vegas Boulevard, B&B Burgers & Beer is not to be confused with B&B Ristorante located along Restaurant Row connecting The Venetian to The Palazzo, price points far lower with a stripped down orange decor and a vibe far more casual.

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Still marching to the beat of Chef Batali’s drum, the music intentionally a touch too loud as muted screens displayed The 2016 Olympic Games, it was just past 2pm that way was made to the hostess podium, reservations quickly confirmed with a smile and the young lady beckoning “right this way.”

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Faulted by some for the steel barstools, other qualms raised about a lack of desserts plus a menu that seems resistant to change, it was at a booth large enough for eight that seating was selected during the Restaurant’s off-hour, a brief look at the menu showing prices for most sandwiches to range $12-20 with Appetizers hovering in the upper-single digits along with four types of Shakes.

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Higher priced than some places, though not any different from a spot like Holsteins or Gordon Ramsay Burgr, it was with an eye on Sandwiches moreso than seared Beef that the visit was focused upon, a total of three far more than one should attempt to eat in one sitting, a single selection actually a substantial lunch for one when paired with an appetizer, salad or side.

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Described at length by the Server and Chef, Batali’s dedication to product sourcing evidenced by House-cured Pastrami, Line-caught Cod, Imported Cheeses, and Organic Produce on Fresh Baked Breads, the tasting began with a handful of crispy fries with a coarse-salt adding an extra bit of crunch, a follow-up bite of the Eggplant Parmigiano showing the lightly grilled rounds perfectly complimented by melty Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce and aromatic Pesto atop Carnevino’s signature Ciabatta, still one of Las Vegas’ best breads whether topped as it is here or liberally slathered with Lardo.

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Having heard that the Lobster Roll would soon be making an exit and instead turning to the Fish Sandwich for a seafood fix, suffice it to say that the fresh Atlantic Cod finds a new level beneath Jalapeno Tartar nestled into a Bun rich with Sesame Seeds, the fatty cuts of Black and Green Peppercorn Pastrami subjectively better than that remembered from World-Famous Langer’s in Los Angeles on Rye Bread with a light touch of house-ground Mustard and particularly pungent Swiss Cheese.

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Drinking bottled water with most of the meal, but surely not planning to leave without a Shake, fans of Nutella will be happy to know that the Italian Hazelnut Spread is so thick amidst Vanilla Gelato that a spoon is a far better tool than a straw for its consumption, the boozed up Amarena Cherry a slightly more sipable option, though no less creamy in its constitution with several whole cherries to be discovered at the bottom.

THREE AND A HALF STARS: Doing what Batali & Bastianich have done at Carnevino or New York’s Casa Mono, taking something outside their traditional scope of “Italian” food and nonetheless crafting a unique experience featuring memorable food, B&B Burgers & Beer warrants no less acclaim than its Strip-based bretheren, though return visits may indeed be limited by a menu that has not changed much in over thirty months and a disappointing lack of desserts.

RECOMMENDED: Pastrami Sandwich, Crispy Cod, Bourbon Cherry Shake.

AVOID: The Eggplant Parmigiano could have been warmer, and a sidecar of Marinara for dunking would have also been nice (though I admittedly neglected to ask.)

TIP: Having mentioned the limitations of the menu it should be noted that monthly specials are often featured in Social Media, most recently a Lamb Burger offered in July.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Home

B&B Burger & Beer - The Palzazzo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in B&B, B&B Burgers & Beer, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada

House of Pizza, Las Vegas NV

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House of Pizza

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Garlic Knots with Marinara

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New York Slice with Pepperoni

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Sicilian Slice

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Grandma Slice

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Tiramisu

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Cannoli

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Recently brought up in conversation as one of the “Top 10” pizzas in the city, House of Pizza – New York Style on West Lake Meade Boulevard clearly warranted a look considering its proximity to home and the assertion of transplants that a “good slice” was nowhere locally to be found, the results far from justifying any such accolades while the scene itself was undeniably one of the most bizarre in town.

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Located in the same small shopping plaza as the amusingly named New York Chinese Restaurant, House of Pizza is immediately identifiable due to the blaring voice of Frank Sinatra emitted from an outdoor speaker and not-so-subtle window painted signage, entry just past 11:15am seeing music give way to equally loud CNN political discourse as wall-to-wall Yankees memorabilia quickly flooded the visual field.

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Just opened at 11am, a few pies already cooling on racks as a small menu hangs overhead, it was with greetings from the lone clerk that the ordering process was sorted, the owner and a friend sitting idly at a table, talking over the television before pulling out a wad of money and counting it in the dining room as though there was no one but the two of them to be bothered.

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Offering several “deals” for slices plus beverages, none of which applied to a $1.59 bottle of water that was offered as the only option in the face of a request for a cup from the tap, further financial insult was added when the clerk neglected to add a 10% Social Media discount before running the credit card despite fully acknowledging it twenty seconds earlier, an offer to cancel and reprocess refused as $2.54 hardly seemed worth the hassle and potential double charge.

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Taking a seat amidst the ongoing Mob-like scene of bills being filed into white envelopes it was at most five minutes before the two plastic clamshells were delivered tableside, a $4 filled-to-order Cannoli joining Tiramisu from the refrigerator with each pleasant, though nothing worth writing home about, the rest of the order emerging from the kitchen after just a few more moments.

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At this point frankly amused by the fact that one person was acting as cashier, clerk, prep-cook and server the scene grew even more perplexing when the young lady was charged with the task of driving down to Starbucks to buy the owner “a Caramel Macchiato – the biggest one they got,” the four-part order quickly discovered to be vastly underheated as relates to the Grandma Square and Sicilian while the Knots and Pepperoni Slice were both hot.

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Now left with just the owner and his counting, a question of “you good?” offered before he returned to the back, first bites of the slice showed a complete lack of char but generally good crust structure and Tomato Sauce, the Garlic Knots featuring a pleasant bit of “chew” compared to most while the aforementioned lack of heat significantly compromised both of the thicker wedges, though even if well-cooked they’d have fallen far short of the quality at Metro Pizza, Cugino’s, Pizza Rock and many more.

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ONE AND A HALF STARS: Perhaps not their best showing, though not really excusable as I was not only the first customer of the day but also the only one present throughout my stay, House of Pizza falls far short in almost every way possible, particularly in a city with so much great Pizza to be found at a variety of price ranges.

RECOMMENDED: Garlic Knots.

AVOID: Grandma Slice.

TIP: Look for coupons in various mailers and publications, or try your luck with the 10%-off Yelp! coupon if you like.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.newyorkpizzalv.com/restaurants/nv/las-vegas/89134/new-york-house-of-pizza/menu

House of Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, House of Pizza, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tiramisu

Dave & Buster’s, Las Vegas NV

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Dave & Buster’s Downtown Summerlin

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Perfect Patron Margarita – Patron Silver Tequila and Patron Citronge

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Walk the Plank – Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Malibu Coconut Rum, DeKuyper Peachtree Peach Schnapps, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice and Pomegranate Syrup

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Original Snow Cone – DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker, Malibu Coconut Rum, Pinnacle Cherry Vodka, DeKuyper Blue Curacao, Sprite, Pomegranate Syrup

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Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sticks – Manchego, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses melted between giant slices of sourdough bread with a cheddar and Manchego cheese crust. This gigantic sandwich is griddled to a crispy, golden brown, cut into 8 individual sticks, and served with warm tomato basil dipping sauce

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Crispy Steak n’ Cheese Tater Cakes – Shredded potato cakes served crispy brown and loaded with thinly sliced steak and melted cheese. Topped with sautéed onions, fresh tomatoes and green onions and served with horseradish sour cream

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Kids Size Classic Goldfingers – Hand-breaded, crispy fried chicken tenders served with seasoned french fries and chipotle honey sauce

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Bass Ale Battered Fish & Parmesan Potato Chips – 8 oz. wild-caught, sustainably sourced Pacific cod filet, Bass Ale battered and fried until golden brown and crispy, served with crunchy Parmesan-dusted house-made Yukon Gold potato chips and creamy malt vinegar aioli

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Maker’s Mark BBQ Burger – A half-pound burger, grilled and smothered in our Maker’s Mark bourbon sauce. Topped with American cheese, smoky ancho pulled pork and caramelized onions. Served on a toasted brioche bun with sweet potato fries

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Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack – Tender sliced short rib, creamy mac & cheese and bourbon glazed onions sandwiched between two thick slices of sourdough and grilled to buttery, golden-brown goodness. Served with crispy seasoned tots

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Coffee

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Brookie Sundae Tower – A giant chocolate brownie & chocolate chip cookie made with Ghirardelli chocolate chips, baked into one warm & gooey delicious package, topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate & caramel sauces

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Hot & Sugary Donut Bites – A basketful of warm sugarcoated plain and chocolate donut holes with raspberry and chocolate dipping sauces

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Bananas Foster Pie – Chilled banana pudding and vanilla sponge cake layered in a cinnamon-graham pastry with rum sauce and warm caramel

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Recently opened in Downtown Summerlin and already making a splash with locals looking to escape the summer heat, I was a bit of a surprised that Dave & Buster’s had not already made its mark on Las Vegas considering the fact that I’d previously visited locations in Detroit and Columbus as far back as the mid-90’s, dining never really the “focal point” but the arcade a lot of fun and the televisions plentiful for watching college football games.

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Originally founded in the early 1980s, and now nearing their 90th store Nationwide, Dave & Buster’s at Downtown Summerlin inhabits the space directly across from Regal Cinemas and featuring a vast floorplan of Food, Games and Sports it was just prior to 6pm that our party checked-in at the podium, reservations well-advised during primetime hours, though any wait-time could easily be spent on the video games.

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Seated at a sturdy four-top to the right of the bar, a ton of Televisions positioning Dave & Buster’s nicely as *the* place to watch Football, Big Events or UFC in the nearly two-year old shopping center, it was with surprisingly efficient service for a place so new that the evening got started, plenty of managers circulating with the use of headsets allowing the team to fill coverage gaps as small groups continued to file in just as two sizable birthday parties sequentially got situated.

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Energetic but not exactly “loud” considering the concept, a bulk of the noise merely that of pop-music and conversation as the gaming area sits a fair distance from the food and drink, positive attitudes and smiles seem to be part of the culture at Dave & Buster’s and although the several-page menu may at first seem daunting, the size is mostly a result of pictures with server’s recommendations helping to narrow the options into a list that is both well-culled and fair priced.

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Obviously not to be confused as fine dining, but at least on par with the rest of the outdoor mall in terms of quality and mass-appeal, the order at Dave & Buster’s was intended to take a broad look at some of their classics as well as the new Summertime selections, a trio of adult-beverages to start certainly not the Spirit-forward work of a Strip “Mixologist,” but at the same time still quite tasty with both the Snow Cone and Tiki drink both the sort of thing that could get lightweights into trouble as the alcohol is well hidden by all the fruit and sweeter stuff.

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Continuing to order in threes, a Children’s menu affording the ability to taste D&B’s famous “Golden Planks” in a smaller portion with results par-for-the-course Chicken Strips served with addictive Chipotle Honey Sauce, more interesting bites were found in Grilled Cheese Sticks that saw Manchego put to good use alongside more typical Cheddar and Mozzarella in a golden, crunchy package featuring a gooey center, the Steak n’ Cheese Tater Cakes even more impressive as the Hashbrown base was virtually oilless beneath nicely seasoned Beef, Onions and more melted Cheese.

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Told that the Burgers were a “must,” but also intrigued by Sandwiches as well as some of the Seafood and Chicken choices, suffice it to say that the Maker’s Mark BBQ Burger outperforms anything tasted at nearby Shake Shack or Ribs n’ Burgers in terms of taste or quality, the 8oz patty grilled perfect medium beneath House-pulled Pork and caramelized Onions, while a delicious half-pound of line-caught Cod fried golden showed an unexpected dedication to sustainable souring, the Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack unfortunately falling short of the rest as a result of significant underseasoning.

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Not holding back when it comes to desserts, though those dining with small children should be weary that a three-course meal in the middle of a room of flashing lights and temptation will test the patience of even the best behaved boy or girl, there is no doubt a reason that Dave & Buster’s Brookie Sundae Tower is featured at the top of the list as three of America’s favorite sweets are brought together in a stack of pure decadence, the tender Donut Holes a much lighter way to finish the meal on a sweet note while the Bananas Foster Pie offers a more adult option in a portion better suited for singles.

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FOUR STARS: Taking about an hour to play games after dinner, the range of options each charged a somewhat arbitrary range of “points” per play, both adults and children will be challenged by everything from Skee-Ball and Air Hockey to shoot ‘em up style games as well as those for which they can win tickets, all-in-all a great way to shake down the food and let the little ones expend some energy at the end of the day.

RECOMMENDED: Walk the Plank, Crispy Steak n’ Cheese Tater Cakes , Bass Ale Battered Fish & Parmesan Potato Chips, Brookie Sundae Tower, Bananas Foster Pie and an extra side of Chipotle honey sauce.

AVOID: Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack was dull while the Horseradish Sour Cream was not only too sour, but odd in texture.

TIP: Several Coupons have been going out both online and in the mail recently, these combined with daily deals offering a good bargain on gameplay for savvy shoppers.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.daveandbusters.com/las-vegas

Dave & Buster's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Coffee, Dave & Buster's, Dave and Busters, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork

Shake Shack Downtown Summerlin, Las Vegas NV

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Shake Shack

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ShackStack – Cheeseburger with crip-fried Portabella Mushroom filled with melted Muenster and Cheddar Cheese topped with Lettuce, Tomato and ShackSauce

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Chick’n Shack – Crispy Chicken Breast with Lettuce, Pickles, Buttermilk Herb Mayo

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Blueberry Sweet Corn Custard with Whipped Cream

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Summerlin S’more Concrete – Chocolate Custard, Marshmallow Sauce, Graham Cracker and Chocolate Truffle Cookie Dough

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Desert Crunch-stellation Concrete – Vanilla Custard, Malt, Guittard Chocolate chunks and Chocolate Toffee

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Not one to go out of the way for a Burger, let alone to wait in line for hours during a trip to Manhattan, Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack had always stood out as a sort of novelty until rapid expansion dropped two into the Las Vegas community, a recent look showing the experience to be typical Union Square Hospitality Group in terms of the smiles and service exhibited while the food itself is decent, though certainly not “destination” worthy in terms of quality, price or concept.

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Situated in Downtown Summerlin, a location in the dining alcove nearest Red Rock Resort and Casino adjacent Wolfgang Puck, Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken and Pub 702, Shake Shack takes up a significant footprint with indoor and patio seating, the entrance bringing diners face-to-face with a big board of options and the counter with room for queuing.

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Pure Meyer in its concept, the non-GMO Buns, antibiotic-free Meats and Organic Produce all showing a passion for quality while also commanding a premium price, ordering at Shake Shack is a streamlined process with weekly Specials augmenting a list of classics plus the recently launched Chicken Sandwich, the prices really no different from Panera or other “quick casual” concepts with a five part order totaling just a shade under $34.

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Amused by the Calorie Counts, just in case the toll on one’s wallet for what is essentially fast-food delivered tableside despite a flashing pager is not enough, it bears mention that Shake Shack has actually designed their food to be “Instagram Friendly,” and with each Sandwich presented as if birthed from the wrapper the visual appeal is undoubtedly compelling, though first bites of the ShackStack were far less-so as the melty Mushroom completely overwhelmed an underseasoned Meat patty that really added nothing to the flavor of the Cheese, Sauce and Fungus.

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More impressed by the Chick’n Shack, a brined Breast fried golden with a pleasant spice profile that outperforms Chick-fil-a from Bun-to-Bun as Pickles, Herbs and Lettuce all mingle nicely with the Bird, the rest of the afternoon focused on Shake Shack’s famous Concretes and Custards, the weekly Blueberry Sweet Corn a lackluster attempt to do something Jeni’s has been doing for a decade with a taste not much different from Vanilla with a spoonful of sautéed fruit drizzled over it, while both the Summerlin S’more and Desert Crunch-stellation fared better largely as a result of the Mix-Ins as the texture of the Custard was far less creamy that either CJ’s or Luv-It.

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TWO AND A HALF STARS: Admittedly taking a detour for a Concrete while in Manhattan, that line separate from the one for Burgers, Fries and Dogs, Shake Shack is little more than fast-food dressed up with “healthier” ingredients and more attention to detail, the benefits of each left to the diners discretion but by-and-by more hype than substance.

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RECOMMENDED: Chick’n Shack and Portabella Mushroom. Service is also exemplary.

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AVOID: Nothing was particularly “bad,” but the beef was entirely underwhelming white the Custards all seemed to be propped up by their toppings rather than the quality of the Soft-Serve itself.

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TIP: See the website or in-store chart for a Custard of the Week menu. Other seasonal Sandwiches and Shakes only identified by laminated sheets inside the doors or by phone.

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WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Summerlin, NV

Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Shake Shack, Shake Shack Downtown Summerlin

Naked City Tavern [2,] Las Vegas NV

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Naked City Tavern Grand Opening Party

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Crostini – In-house cured Duck Breast Proscuitto, Charred Black Mission Fig and Peaches, Pickled Ramps, Greens

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Cauliflower – Fried crispy, shaved Summer Asparagus, Naked City Roasted Garden Sauce, Peccorino-Romano Cheese

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Wee-size Stinger Pie – Roast Beef, Chicken Fingers, Sweet & Hot Peppers, Onions, Blue Cheese Dressing, Cheddar, Mozzarella

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Officially fêting the launch of Christopher and Michael Palmeri’s latest venture, an affair that the Chef admitted he “had no clue” would generate the sort of crowd to not only fill the restaurant but parking lot as well, Thursday’s Grand Opening of Naked City Tavern was a joyous celebration of food and friends of the local dining community, noise level pushing skyward while the kitchen continued to execute well despite wait times over an hour.

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Already visited once, and having seen much of the menu during preview meals at Naked City Pizza on Paradise, suffice it to say that for such an event the focus was more on the scene and people than the food itself, but taking a look at three previously untasted items the quality remains consistent, a classic Stinger Pizza featuring the Palmeri’s thick-crust topped in all-things Buffalo, the thinly-sliced Beef tender alongside the flavors of Chicken, Peppers and Onions with a blend of three Cheeses as hot and gooey as it was robust.

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Offering eight additional items on the Chef’s Menu, several previously tasted and enjoyed, new plates included deep fried Cauliflower Florets served beneath curls of Asparagus and a light sauce sort of like Green Goddess that ate far more sophisticated than any traditional “bar bite,” the succulent Duck Prosciutto allowing the Fowl’s natural flavor to shine atop toasted Bread and a dollop of warm fruits all given a sense of levity by way of the house-pickled Ramps.

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N/A: Not really fair to rate given the nature of the event, the Naked City team has once again defied labels with Naked City Tavern and I cannot wait to see what surprises will come next.

RECOMMENDED: Everything was good, as usual, but the Crostini was particularly well executed in terms of taste as well as texture, the use of fat, sugar and acid all featured with an eye on balance.

AVOID: N/A.

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TIP: A 24-hour space, look for the Chef’s menu from 11a-11p Monday through Friday and 1p-11p on Weekends with the Overnight / Breakfast menu offered at other times, Naked City’s famous Pizzas, Wings and Fries offered around the clock.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.nakedcitylv.com/

Naked City Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Food, Italian, Las Vegas, Naked City Pizza, Naked City Tavern, Nevada, Pizza, Pork

Carson Kitchen [6,] Las Vegas NV

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Carson Kitchen

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Try Something New – Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Watermelon Puree, Contratto Bitters Liqueur, Basil Simple Syrup, Ginger Beer

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Crispy Chicken Skins – Smoked Honey

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Bacon Jam – Baked Brie, Toasted Baguette

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Purple Haze – George Dickle Rye, St. Elder Liqueur, Fresh Lemon, Mint, Blueberry Preserves

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BBQ Burnt Ends – House Pickles, Highbrow Ranch, White Bread

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Spiced Watermelon – Feta, Cucumber, Tajin

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Sneaky Tiki – Avua Prata Cachaca, Licor 43, Pineapple, Fresh Lime, Coriander Simple Syrup

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Hawaiian Flatbread – Spiced Rum Pineapple, Tasso Ham

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Falafel Sliders – Cucumbers, Yogurt, Halloumi

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Thai One On – Whistling Andy Hibiscus Coconut Rum, Green Tea, Egg White, Lemongrass Simple Syrup, Thai Bitters

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Sea Bass – Charred Lemon, Herbed Greens

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Rabbit Ragu – Spaghetti Squash, Parmesan

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Peas & Carrots – Shallot Butter, White Wine

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Potato Skins – Fried Bologna, Sour Cream

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Strawberry Pie – Harry’s Berries, Licor 43 Whipped Cream, Crème Anglaise

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Glazed Donut Bread Pudding – Three Rum Caramel, Vanilla Crème Anglaise

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Bourbon Fudge Brownie – Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream

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Preparing to launch a new venture in just two weeks Simon Hospitality Group no doubt has their work cut out for them in reinventing Firefly to Standard & Pour, but continuing to show a degree of creativity often reserved for restaurants nearly twice the size (and price) in far more flashy environs, Carson Kitchen has perhaps produced its finest menu yet for Summer 2016.

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Now the third menu co-produced by Cory Harwell and John Courtney, the latter bringing a lifetime of overseas training and technique to Harwell’s own worldly view of elevated comfort food honed under the late Kerry Simon, little has changed in the setting of a now two-year old space in the old Carson Building off 6th Street, the servers and bartenders still a fun mix of personalities dressed casually in T-shirts with a sense of professionalism and hospitality that never fails to surprise.

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Always a bustling space both afternoon and late, the soundtrack on this particular visit vacillating between Radiohead and The Flaming Lips, it was a cozy four-top adjacent the pass that the party was seated and taking cues from Chef Courtney on both inspiration and preparation a five course meal featuring a baker’s dozen plates plus four cocktails and coffee was offered, not one item falling short of eliciting amusement and broad smiles.

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Now beginning to integrate even more kitchen concepts into cocktails, and as such legitimately able to pair drinks from the “Shaken & Stirred” section to each round of plates, Beverage Director Matthew Harwell explained the “Try Something New” as a second take at Mezcal that the local market appears resistant to embracing, the smoky notes folded into herbs and fruit with a lightly astringent finish that was well placed in contrast to the salt and sapor of Chicken Skins and Bacon Jam, the two menu fixtures at this point an essential part of every Carson Kitchen visit.

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Still proudly promoting many aspects of “The Rock n’ Roll Chef” moniker earned by Simon, “Purple Haze” making Whiskey palatable to even the most conservative palate by softening the blow with Lemon, Mint and Blueberries, course two was perhaps the best embodiment of Southern Summer seen in Sin City, the Spiced Watermelon cubes first leaning Mediterranean then Hispanic by way of crumbled Cheese and Tajin, the “BBQ Burnt Ends” made by a bit of trickery as there is no smoker in the tiny kitchen, the White Bread and House Pickles requisite for anyone with experience in Kansas City, Georgia or Texas while the “Highbrow Ranch” played tongue-in-cheek regarding the creamy mixture of fresh Dill and Buttermilk.

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Again looking at various spheres of influence for course three, the “Sneaky Tiki” eschewing Rum in favor of Brazilian Cachaca and smooth Spanish Licor 43 with Citrus and Coriander, Falafel Sliders presented tender patties on a soft bun with seared Halloumi and Yogurt, the “Hawaiian Flatbread” described as the “best Hawaiian Pizza ever” by one member of the table – admittedly low-hanging fruit all things considered, but an assessment no one tasting the charred salt and sweetness could refute.

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Having mentioned that the previous cocktail’s smooth mouthfeel almost resembled a flip, Thai One On went one further by actually adding Eggwhite to a Coconut Rum and Green Tea backbone, the lingering spiciness helping to cleanse the palate between bites of simple Branzino dressed in nothing more than Olive Oil and Lemon Juice alongside roulades of Rabbit stuffed with Forcemeat plus hollowed out Potatoes with Fried Balogna and confit Peas and Carrots enlivened by Butter-seared Shallots.

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Failing to remember that Carson Kitchen does indeed offer Coffee, just not Espresso or fancier stuff, dessert once again saw Harwell’s boozy Brownie and Bread Pudding rolled out next to an entirely new Summertime offering created by the Pastry Chef and John Courtney, the delicate Pie filled with Pudding-thick Crème Anglaise nicely balanced by Vanilla and Citrus notes from Licor 43 plus California’s very best Strawberries.

FIVE STARS: Continuing to collect accolades ever since opening, Carson Kitchen has once again managed to elevate its game for Summer 2016, the team of John Courtney and Cory Harwell to this point a perfect blend of skill, creativity and sourcing executing at as high a level as any of America’s best “gastropubs.”

RECOMMENDED: Purple Haze, Sneaky Tiki, BBQ Burnt Ends, Peas & Carrots, Potato Skins, Rabbit Ragu, Strawberry Pie.

AVOID: Forgetting all the Classics, particularly the Chicken Skins that are now better than ever thanks to poultry sourcing of a pasture-raised bird from Arkansas’ Crystal Lake Farms.

TIP: Look for more, soon, as Simon Hospitality Group’s Standard & Pour is slated to open Soon.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://carsonkitchen.com/

Carson Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Pudding, Carson Kitchen, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tasting Menu

Eatt Healthy Food, Las Vegas NV

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Eatt Healthy Food

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Coffee

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Croissant

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Lobster Ravioli in Lobster Bisque

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Baguette

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Miso Marinated Wild Caught Salmon with Beets, Apples, Soy Sprouts

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Chicken with Green Peas, Carrots, Bacon and Broth

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Black Angus Rib Eye with French Ratatouille Rolls, Beef Sauce

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Broccoli Guacamole with Tomatoes and Gluten Free Tortilla

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Shitake Quiche with Leeks, Truffle Oil and Side Salad

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Poached Peach with Nougat, Pistachio

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Praline Puff Pastry with Hazelnuts

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Cheesecake with Raspberry and Yuzu

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Tiramisu with Mascarpone, Coffee Biscuit, Crispy Chocolate

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Intense Chocolate Sparkling Cake

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Opened by three friends from France just over a month ago, Eatt Healthy Food has been promoted by several in the local industry as a place on the rise, and invited in by General Manager Nicolas Kalpokdjian for a lunch crafted by Chefs Yuri Szarzewski and Vincent Pellerin the restaurant shows signs of inspiration, though the end product still has a ways to come.

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Promoting what the restaurant describes as “healthy gourmet recipes adapted to your diet offered with seasonal ingredients,” and doing a great diligence in detailing the menu with food allergies, sensitivities and exclusions for dairy, gluten, nuts plus meat, the first impression of Eatt is generated by the brilliant white and clean lines, a modern feel that seems sterile despite plants on walls as well tables while a television hangs awkwardly near the door as though every restaurant in town cannot afford to be without.

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Greeted by all three members of the team throughout the stay, one female server assisting with plates, the meal began with a flaky housemade Croissant that rivals many in the city, though the butter-soaked bottom somewhat compromises the shell’s integrity while the Chocolate version and Seasonal Danish advertised on the menu were both apparently sold-out.

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Told by Nicolas that the restaurant typically offers a few off-menu specials, on this day a delicate Ravioli stuffed with finely diced Vegetables topped with poached Lobster in a Shellfish Bisque, dishes like this show the high degree of technical skill offered by Chef Szarzewski, though unfortunately several to follow would fall short by yielding to “healthy” constraints.

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Told that the Salmon has quickly become the restaurant’s best seller, the thin filet marinated before being placed atop a coil of Sprouts, Apples and Beets, plating at Eatt is unsurpassed at its pricepoint and although a sweeter apple plus some acid may have helped this dish better show the complexity of its flavors it was easily the best entrée offered, the Chicken virtually flavorless even with the Bacon imbued Broth while the radiant Ratatouille helped to prop up tender strips of Angus that again had the table looking for a shaker of salt.

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A bit disappointed at this point, but finding the vegetables to be highlights of each plate, it was with good fortune that the Mushroom Quiche and a side of “Broccoli Guacamole” was requested, the former making good use of the lightest amount of Truffle Oil to accent Shitakes and Leeks in a fluffy Egg Custard while the later was creamy, cool and vibrant on gently salted Crisps.

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Appreciating the concept both as a physician and diner, the need for well-priced alternatives to “quick-casual” staples like Panera, Chipotle and others something the nation surely needs, it was here that Pastry Chef Pellerin took over the tasting, a poached Peach showcasing the season with a Nougat core and crushed Pistachios in light Syrup while the linear Brest, liquid-centered Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Pure Chocolate Cake were all individually portioned and full-flavored rivals to what several restaurants have to offer at an inflated price-point on the Strip.

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THREE STARS: Acknowledging that healthy means different things to different people, one person’s Veganism or anti-GMO Politics irrelevant to a patient with Diabetes following a low-carb diet or the Hypertensive adhering to DASH Guidelines, there is a point where “taste” must be incorporated into every recipe, something that the EATT team will hopefully find a way to exemplify while still sticking to the concept they hope to promote.

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RECOMMENDED: Shitake Quiche, Lobster Ravioli Special, Praline Puff Pastry, Tiramisu, Poached Peach.

AVOID: Chicken, Beef.

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TIP: Available for delivery and catering, Open 10:30-6:00 Tu-Sa and 10:30-3:00 Sunday.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://eattfood.com/

EATT Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, EATT, Eatt Healthy Food, Food, Las Vegas, Lobster, Nevada, Pork, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu

Life’s a Bagel, Las Vegas NV

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Life’s a Bagel

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Egg Bagel

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French Toast Bagel

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Cheddar Bagel

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Black & White Cookie

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Cinnamon Coffee Cake

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NY Silverlake Cookies – Sprinkle Butter, Chocolate Florentine, White Chocolate Rainbow, Dark Chocolate Rainbow, Raspberry Pocket, Linzer Tart, Jelly Top, Snowball Melt Away, Chocolate Coconut Butter, Chocolate Nut Melt Away

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Located on North Rampart Blvd under various names across the years, Life’s a Bagel opened in early 2016 in the same plaza as German Bread’s Bakery, the team formerly behind Sterling Bagel taking a calculated risk in opening so close to the Sun City Summerlin population, many of whom have already established their favorite New York City replacement in the form of The Bagel Café.

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Not seeking to copy the success of their nearby competition, the space as well as the menu substantially smaller, Life’s a Bagel instead focuses squarely on its eponymous bready rounds, more than a dozen varieties made each day with housemade Cream Cheese, Lox and various Deli Meats offered alongside a handful of cookies and cakes both imported and made on-site.

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Not going so far as to boil their Bagels, a legitimate gripe for native New Yorkers looking for the authenticity found back home, Life’s a Bagel nonetheless achieves the effect of a malted exterior and dense center with a thin skin by way of a recipe that shortens fermentation, the Egg version rich and far better than those found commercially while both the Cinnamon-Sugar shellacked French Toast and gooey Cheddar are more like something that would be found at Einstein Brothers than Panera, the crumb lightly stretchy and taking well to toasting, but just as good eaten as served.

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Importing Italian Cookies from New York based Silverlake, a good choice albeit a little disappointing since The Bagel Café produces their collection in-house, a better choice comes in the form of toothsome Coffee Cake riddled and topped with Cinnamon Streusel, the Black & White Cookie perhaps the best in town with a cake-like case topped in slick frosting that makes no attempt at sugar restraint.

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THREE STARS: Not a Bagel expert by any means, but having tried some of the best, Life’s a Bagel serves a good product despite not adhering to traditional methods, the Coffee Cake and Black & White showing that with a little more effort these folks could potentially raise their game.

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RECOMMENDED: Coffee Cake, Black & White Cookie, Cheddar Bagel.

AVOID: At $8.99/lb the packaged import Italian Cookies are overpriced, though the ability to mix n’ match is admittedly nice.

TIP: Bagels are $1 each, a half-dozen for $5 or fourteen for $10.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Life's a Bagel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Las Vegas, Life's a Bagel, Nevada

Chef Marc’s Trattoria, Las Vegas NV

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Chef Marc’s Trattoria

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Pizza Focaccia and Warm Semolina Bread with Butter

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Uni Crostini, Figs, Blueberries, Blackberries, Wasabi Leaves

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Fava Bean Leaves, Aged Parmigianino, Grapes

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Buratta Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, 10-Year Aged Balsamic

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Pork Belly & Bone Marrow with Polenta, Pickled Fennel Bulb and Parsley Salad

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Eggplant Parm, Marinara, Tempura Basil and Sage

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Spinach Agnolotti with Lamb, Mortadella, Beef, Chicken and Ricotta in Butter Sage Sauce

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Sesame Seed Crusted Line Caught Halibut with Handmade Squid Ink Spaghetti, Romano Beans, Scallop Bisque

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Lemon Sorbetto

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Braised Veal Short Rib with Polenta and Peppered Rapini

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Malfiata with Shredded Beef Short Rib

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Butter Rum Cake and Tiramisu

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Born Marcus Sgrizzi, but known locally as Chef Marc, it was before officially relocating to Las Vegas that a visit to Parma acquainted me with the Chef’s well-deserved acclaim, and subsequently meeting some now-close friends by way of an event held at Novecento it seemed strange that Trattoria by Chef Marc had slipped beneath my radar nearly nine months since opening, the move finding Mr. Sgrizzi now in a more refined space only ten minutes from my gate.

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East Coast raised, but well traveled throughout Italy with an ‘effort equals results’ sort of mentality that sees Marc and his team scratch-make everything from Bread and Pasta to Desserts and Sauces in-house, Trattoria by Chef Marc sits just outside The Lakes on West Sahara Avenue in a space formerly inhabited by Argana Moroccan Restaurant, the interior featuring heavy woods and marble plus a hand-built Wine Vault with sound a bit louder than would be ideal due to the combination of hard surfaces and overhead music, though a near-full-house of locals still did not make things so noisy that one would be forced to shout.

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Offering an a la carte menu plus a $65 “Chef’s Table” that sees diners preferences incorporated into a tasting otherwise left in the kitchen’s hands, it was by request that Marc and his team crafted an ‘extended’ version of the latter experience that eventually turned into eleven courses including several menu favorites, the quality of many comparing favorably to Casino-based restaurants charging more than twice the price.

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Well established in the city, and as such forming relationships with high quality purveyors of Italian goods plus vegetables brought in from Melissa’s Produce of California, a meal at Trattoria begins with Sgrizzi’s bread basket and although little packets of cold butter seem a bit out of place in an environment where Olive Oil should come standard the Bread itself is as delicious as it is dangerous, both the Pizza Focaccia and warm Semolina loaf difficult to resist, particularly as a means for sopping up sauces.

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No doubt looking to build on past successes and further strengthen a menu filled with the time-tested recipes on which he built his name, first courses of the Chef’s Table saw Chef Marc dabbling in fresh ingredients that he has recently become fond of, the Sea Urchin seemingly served as a means to work with seasonal Fruits and Wasabi leaf while the inspired Salad that followed tasted very much like Fava Beans despite the fact that only Greens, Grapes, Cheese and Seasoning were mingling on the plate.

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Turning eyes to the laminated menu for a moment, the Buratta Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and aged Balsamic expected but delicious in its simplicity just the same, course four saw Chef Marc take on the hefty pairing of Pork Belly and Bone Marrow with a keen sense of delicacy, the supple pig stacked atop buttered toast while the hemisected Cannon saw its creamy contents delicious whether mixed into Polenta or enjoyed with Picked Fennel Bulb and traditional Parsley Salad.

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Personally requesting the Eggplant Parm, a small wedge offered alongside house Marinara and lightly fried herbs, a nightly special Pasta next saw soft Meat and Ricotta spring to life in a butter sauce tinged in Nutmeg and Sage, the line-caught Halibut to follow both meaty and flaky beneath a skin of crisp Sesame Seeds with rich Scallop Bisque lent levity by Pasta and snappy Italian Beans.

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Refreshing the palate with Lemon Sorbetto, the icy texture needing a bit of work, another special of Braised Veal Short Rib ate much like Osso Bucco with both the White Wine of the braising liquid and spicy Greens serving as balance, a small portion of the deconstructed Lasagna using a similar cut of Meat every bit as excellent when baked with Mozzarella.

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Rounding out the evening with half-portions of Butter Rum Cake and Tiramisu, both made by Marc’s Wife, desserts were well made if not a little predictable, the only other option offered a Crème Brulee that seems more “Summerlin” than Italian in a place where something like Canolli, Budino or even an Italian Cookie Plate would better round out the night.

FOUR STARS: Without doubt the most creative Italian spot on the West side of the Valley, and in the conversation for most labor intensive kitchen off-strip, Trattoria shows Chef Marc back in his element creating great food and welcoming guests to his kitchen, a work in progress that is already pretty great.

RECOMMENDED: Chef’s Table – Specifically Pork Belly & Bone Marrow, Line Caught Halibut, Veal Short Rib, Malfiata.

AVOID: Seats in the main dining room can get very loud, so early arrival or seating adjacent the bar are recommended for those sensitive to noise.

TIP: The restaurant offers outdoor seating during appropriate weather conditions.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

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Chef Marc's Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Chef Marc's Trattoria, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tiramisu, Trattoria by Chef Marc