Carbone, Las Vegas NV



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Semolina Bread

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Garlic Bread and Pizza Focaccia


Spicy Pepperoni


Marinated Cauliflower

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Baked Clams

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Foie Gras Veneziana

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Caesar alla ZZ

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Tagliatelle with Shaved White Truffles

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Spicy Rigatoni Vodka

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Spaghetti Julian

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Fettuccine con Funghi

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Off-Menu Meatballs

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Lasagna Verde

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Veal Parmesan

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Chicken Scarpariello

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Carrot Cake with Ginger Icing

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Bananas Flambee


Rainbow Cookies



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Having watched Carbone open to gratuitous fanfare from more than a dozen writers and industry folks the New York import had knowingly comped, it was not until I was able to gather a group large enough to properly sample the pricey Aria restaurant that I hazard to make a reservation, the results of a nearly three-hour meal with six friends far less impressive than any of the ‘media’ will openly pronounce.


No doubt a splashy space, the original channeled for much of the lavish design and showy tableside service from Captains shining in red, Carbone is the brainchild of Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone and famous for high prices for traditional “red sauce” classics the Las Vegas iteration raises the stakes even higher than the Manhattan original, a $64 Veal Parm and $75 Lasagna a mere tip of the iceberg on a menu with prices not displayed out front.


Clearly trying to evoke an dining environment rare to be found in Las Vegas in the year 2015, entrance to Carbone begins at a podium of smiling young faces in front of a painting of Christopher Walken and with Rat Pack classics playing a bit too loudly overhead those with reservations are quickly whisked through an elegant lounge to one of three large rooms, the center featuring circular enclaves and several large tables with a central chandelier that speaks volumes about the restaurants intentions and unrepentant opulence.

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Championing the slogan “every meal deserves a captain,” a concept is inherently flawed by tableside shows preventing him from appropriate steering the backstaff flow of traffic, it was nearly forty-five minutes holding enormous menus close like blankets that passed before orders were finally taken, and somehow avoiding to topple unused wine glasses while reaching for a complimentary selection of antipasti the first bites of the meal would actually prove to be some of the best and most interesting, the acid-splashed cauliflower simple yet refreshing while cured meat alongside three breads were all quite delicious, the saucy focaccia particularly quite addictive.

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Breaking the menu down into four-courses, though presentations of five plates requiring a show saw things slightly more staggered, round one included nine baked clams in 3×3 preparation alongside two steaks of foie gras amidst onions plus sauteed peppers and although the former proved a bit unwieldy for sharing while the liver was unctuous and well portioned, all attention was drawn to the tableside preparation of ZZ’s Caesar’s, a $42 double-order highlighted by the buttery croutons and sardines that was otherwise quite standard.


Taking macaroni recommendations from a Public Relations executive and adding in personal preferences plus the anecdotal experience of others, course two featured four different pastas along with seven off-menu meatballs, only the $150 White Truffle Tagliatelle proving appropriately cooked al dente as thinner noodles bordered on ‘mushy,’ the meatballs no better or worse than would be expected for six dollars each…and certainly not enough to compensate for the uni-tinged Julian’s great flavor being marred by such a failure in execution.


Onward to entrees, the Chicken Scarpariello suggested by a local Italian restauanteur undoubtedly performing the best of any savory as spicy sausage provided a decadent nest for the juicy half-bird, those enticed by the famous fried Veal Chop will be happy to know that the $64 tab is mostly justified by both size and virtually perfect execution, the same not to be said of a $75 loaf of lasagna far too heavy handed with green peppers beneath a top that was actually too bitter to be enjoyable as a result of being burned.


Enjoying the company and conversation far more than the food as the clock inched toward ten it was finally with the dessert cart parked tableside that a concluding duo was selected and treated to fudgey Rainbow Cookies and complimentary Limoncello as we watched bananas flambeed tableside it was with good fortune that both the boozy fruit over ice cteam and curl of carrot cake succeeded where other plates had failed, each textbook in execution and large enough to share at comparative bargain of just fifteen dollars.


TWO AND A HALF STARS: Admittedly early in its Las Vegas lifespan and no doubt a place that will drum up tourist dollars and praise from the press to whom prices and service are tilted to please, Carbone offers a unique dinning experience compared to anything else currently on The Strip, yet failing in several basics of execution from kitchen to captain it simply is not nearly as great as it currently seems to believe.

RECOMMENDED: Carrot Cake, Pizza Focaccia, Foie Gras Veneziana, Chicken Scarpariello.

AVOID: Lasagna Verde, Easily overcooked pastas with thin noodles, missing the opportunity to order and ask questions when the Captain is present…unless you’re ready to wait.

TIP: Totaling $100/pp after tax and tip without the Truffle Pasta billed at $30 per gram (minimum of 5g,) those still curious enough to book a table are encouraged to gather a group since most portions are big enough to share and smaller portions cannot be accommodated even with advance notice.

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

Posted in Bread Basket, Carbone, Dessert, Foie, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork

Salted Malted Bakery & Creamery, North Las Vegas NV


Salted Malted

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Canadian Sunrise on a Biscuit – Peameal Bacon, Overeasy Egg, Cheddar Cheese

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Cut to Order Poutine – Pepper Gravy, Cheese Curds


Macadamia White Chocolate


Peanut Butter Chocolate

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Chocolate Chip

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Maple and Bacon


The Chipster

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Blue Velvet


Carrot Cake

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Pumpkin Latte

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Cookies & Cream

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Heart Breaker

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Oatmeal Raisin

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Nanaimo Bar

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Canadian Butter Tart

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Donut Ball – Cinnamon Sugar Donuts, Thrifty Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel Syrup


Recently opened in North Las Vegas by a husband and wife team straight out of Ontario Canada, Salted Malted Bakery & Creamery is the sort of place that immediately spoke to the hockey loving Northwest Ohio days of my youth and with a menu running the gamut from locally cured peameal bacon and traditional poutine to dozens of cookies, bars, and fried-to-order donuts a visit on Saturday proved love at first sight…and taste after taste after taste.


Small in size and clearly built-out on a budget inside a stipmall adjacent the Walmart Supercenter across the lot, entrance to Salted Malted presents patrons with a warm atmosphere of whimsical Canadiana and as toys of the Molson Guys sit near condiments including pure Maple Syrup alongside Log Cabin the service, too, speaks of our neighbors to the North – easily some of the friendliest in town.

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Far less limited in its breadth of options than in size of the short and narrow space, Salted Malted lives up to its name by offering items both sweet and savory and open daily at 7:30 with items made-as-needed to replenish supplies the possibilities for customization are seemingly endless, one twenty-something witnessed eating a Belgian Waffle topped with Thrifty Ice Cream, Strawberries, and Sprinkles while his mother noshed on a makeshift Cuban Sandwich on a Kaiser Roll with Mustard, Pickle, and Maple sweetened Bacon that more than once elicited a “this is soooo good.”

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No short distance from home, a forty-five minute roundtrip from Summerlin, it was with a large order that an appraisal of the small shop’s goods would take place, and happy to answer questions despite a steady stream of traffic it was eventually in seventeen items that just under $21 was invested, the price almost too good to be true considering the craftsmanship, first bites of a clever premade “donut ball” proving a bit difficult with plastic utensils, but tasty and even better than the sum of its parts when allowed to warm up.


Delaying further dessert until a made-to-order sandwich and fresh cut fries beneath authentic pepper gravy and squeaky curds were presented to the table, it was on a more “American” biscuit that I opted to enjoy a Canadian Sunrise and far outperforming traditional four buck breakfasts the pile of peameal, cheddar, and overeasy egg was as good as anything recalled from anyplace in Toronto, including the stalls of the St. Lawrence Market while the poutine was a no frills classic, exactly like “La Classique” being served at Montreal’s La Banquise.


Obviously not leaving without a few more sweets, some consumed on site while others were taken for the road, suffice it to say that options trend far beyond the typical Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Cookies, none of the fourteen selected anything less than delicious with both the golden raisin freckled Butter Tart and rich Nanaimo Bar reminiscent of trips across the border while the muffin-top-like carrot cake and peanut butter with banana Heartbreaker were fluffy rounds of baked goodness, the salt tinged Chipster an equally worthy investment as were the chewy brownie and cream cheese frosted Blue Velvet.


FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Flawed only in offering an inferior product like Thrifty, the ice creams simply not on par with many throughout town, Salted Malted Bakery & Creamery brings true Canadian heritage to North Las Vegas, a destination sort of spot for expatriots as well as snowbirds, but equally welcoming to those unfamiliar or those who simply love to see someone following their heart and doing what they love.

RECOMMENDED: Canadian Sunrise, Poutine, Carrot Cake Cookie, Butter Tart.

AVOID: As noted, the donut balls trend a bit hard fresh from the freezer, a made-to-order option perhaps a better bet for those willing to stick around watching the automatic donut machine at work.

TIP: Cookies and Bars vary day-to-day, those looking for specifics are encouraged to call in advance.

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

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, North Las Vegas, Pork, Salted Malted, Salted Malted Bakery & Creamery, Salted Malted Bakery and Creamery

Glazier’s Food Marketplace, Las Vegas NV


Glazier’s Food Marketplace

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Pancakes with Strawberries

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Apple Fritter

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Strawberry Fritter

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Pineapple Fritter

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Blueberry Fritter

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Lemon Sprinkles Bar

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Mocha Bean

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Double Chocolate Mousse

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Mounds Bar

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Key Lime Pie

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Blueberry Coconut Cream

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Red Velvet Cake

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Having thought to have exhausted The Valley’s list of Doughnut shops over the past two years it was on the recommendation of a friend that Glazier’s Food Marketplace was identified as another source of novel fried dough, and recalling that Donut Mania’s owner had once suggested he originally helped establish the grocery store’s program it was just after 7:00am on Saturday that a stop was made, the cabinets well stocked with most options still warm.

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Advertising a whole new lineup, including four types of fritters to go along with the store’s recently launched weekend brunch, it was admittedly with some surprise that Glazier’s collection tallied more than two-dozen variations and ranging from cake to yeast and filled to frosted the 89-to-99 cent prices are a far cry from many other artisan purveyors, the results ranging from downright excellent to subpar grocery store stuff.

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Holding off a moment before exploring the donuts, a total of eleven selected largely as a result of space per cardboard box, one could not help but wonder how The 702s “Best” Supermarket would fare in terms of made-to-order options, and taking the easy way out by offering fake syrup and a cold pat of butter alongside pancakes so dry they literally crumbled fork pressure the answer can simply be summed up as “horrible,” an $8.57 waste of money with more than 3/4 deposited in the trash.

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Onward to better things, payment at an automated checkout fairly simple before returning to a table to indulge, opening bites of raised options spoke to a brioche base similar to that of Donut Mania and Pinkbox with just a bit more tooth, the blueberry coconut a bit artificial in its flavor while cream-filled rings of coffee as well as chocolate fared far better, the espresso infused glaze particularly robust.

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Unabashedly fond of fritters, a sentiment that many do not share, suffice it to say that those who cite oiliness as a reason for their displeasure need not fear as the ones at Glazier’s are actually much ‘lighter’ than the average, yet although an attempt to raise the stakes with multiple flavors is indeed appreciated the substantial lack of whole fruit beneath a double-shellacking of sugary sweet glaze most certainly was not, the pineapple particularly affronting in its lack of flavor with the vast majority of each left in the box.

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Rounding out the morning with a cocoa-rich red velvet cake that made me wish for more classics including an old fashioned or buttermilk bar amidst the group, it was perhaps with good fortune that two bars and a tangy Key Lime Pie complete with graham cracker crumble were saved for last, the lemon filling beneath white frosting and rainbow sprinkles impressive in its tartness while the shredded coconut and cream amidst dark chocolate reminisced of a Mounds Bar in all the right ways, the sliced-and-filled presentation assuring a perfect ratio of each ingredient throughout.


TWO AND A HALF STARS: More modestly priced than other places offering novelty donuts, but at the same time not always executing on a level that shows the creativity to be matched by the quality of the staff, those planning to visit Glazier’s for Donuts are encouraged to choose carefully while those looking for pancakes or fritters should steer clear and visit almost anywhere else.

RECOMMENDED: Mounds Bar, Lemon Sprinkles Bar, Mocha Bean, Key Lime Pie.

AVOID: Pancakes and the $1.99 surcharge for what amounts to two sliced strawberries, Fritters.

TIP: Offering discounts by the dozen and baking only once a day, those looking for the freshest fried dough are encouraged to arrive early.

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

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Glazier's, Glazier's Food Marketplace, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pancakes

Other Mama [2,] Las Vegas NV


Other Mama

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Latke with Sour Cream, Salmon Roe, Salt Cured Egg Yolk

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Sashimi Course with Honey Sweetened Mushroom Infused Soy Sauce – Fluke, Octopus, Spanish Big Eye Tuna, Scottish Salmon, Kombu Cured Japanese Snapper

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Sake Butter and Soy Grilled Japanese Whelk and Mexican White Shrimp

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Panko Crusted Fried Oysters in Miso Hollandaise, Tempura Japanese Whiting with Organic Mushrooms and Mushroom Sauce

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Japanese Sea Bream and Hokkaido Hairy Crab with Caribbean Style Johnny Cakes, Braised Collard Greens in Habanero Broth

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Chocolate Pot du Crème, Vietnamese Coffee, Miso Honey, Coconut Ice Cream

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Japanese Cheesecake with Berry Sauce


More than a bit impressed by Dan Krohmer’s Other Mama just a few weeks prior it was on the invitation of a friend from Los Angeles that a party of six sat down for a prix-fixe Omakase experience at 7pm on Friday night, and although the event’s organizer was late due to traffic on I-15 no other aspect of the evening was less than perfect – the space abuzz with energy and service never to lack.


Setting no guidelines for the kitchen, just a ‘cap’ of $60 each before tax, drinks, and tip, the meal was actually served in two sessions in order to ‘catch up’ late arrivals, an opening course of crisp potato pancakes topped with two types of egg and sour cream satisfying in both its savory taste and texture, the inspiration for the dish actually hatched just a day prior as part of an upcoming project with a friend.


Taking more pride than most in the quality of his fish, a long list of purveyors cited by a Chef who has clearly benefited from relationships made across the years, course two featured five pristine specimens and although both the silky tuna and cured snapper were amongst the most memorable bites of raw fish in recent memory it was, in fact, the housemade soy that really raised eyebrows, a near supersaturation of umami with just a touch of sweetness to offset the salt.


Continuing to up the ante in terms of ingredient novelty, course three followed a whole lot of smoke from the small kitchen’s grill and with buttery aromatics greeting the nose from a distance a first experience with whelks for some had both the novice and veteran singing the tender gastropod’s praises, no less the duo of shrimp that could have been an afterthought were it not for the snap of skin giving way to nearly raw flesh intense with natural sweetness and an almost creamy texture.


Progressing to the fried segment of the meal with another duo, in this case a traditional fry-up of panko-crusted oysters upgraded by housemade miso Hollandaise alongside meaty tempura whiting and mushrooms, the final savory of the night was without doubt the most high risk but also the most dynamic, each delicate bite of hairy crab as good as it gets while Sea Bream took a bath in spicy broth with braised collards and golden orbs of sweet bread to sop up every last bit.


Impressed again by the Miso Honey Ice Cream and finding the fluffy Cheesecake a bit sweeter and as such more appropriate for ‘dessert,’ the meal came to its end along with equally impressive scoops of Vietnamese Coffee and Coconut Ice Cream while the Chocolate Pot du Crème was an unexpected stunner, its creaminess on par with any in the city but the richness of the cocoa far more pronounced.


FIVE STARS: Overcoming limitations of location, lack of a Public Relations firm, and a city rare to embrace anything challenging the status-quo, Other Mama is quickly ascending to the level of an off-strip destination restaurant for locals “in the know,” and while some seem content to keep Krohmer’s little-restaurant-that-could all for themselves I cannot personally think of a more deserving place to send visitors looking for something a little different and certain to wow.

RECOMMENDED: Trust the Chef.

AVOID: Wasting money at less interesting “sushi restaurants” in the major casinos.

TIP: The restaurant does not officially offer an Omakase menu, but specials change daily to allow for substantial customization…and since Chef Krohmer is always around, it probably won’t hurt to ask if something more personal can be arranged from a seat at the counter.

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

Other Mama Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Coffee, Crab, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Octopus, Other Mama, Sushi, Tasting Menu

168 Market, Las Vegas NV


168 Market

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Shrimp Dumpling

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Crunchy Shrimp Ball

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Fried Chicken Roll

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Portuguese Egg Custard

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Preserved Egg Pork Congee

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Cheese Puff Pork Sung Bun

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Red Bean Bun

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Yudane Blueberry with Cheese

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Japanese Butter Floral Roll

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Taro Almond Roll

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Fresh Taro Cake

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More than once noted for its green and red glow on Jones,in the plaza across from Chada Thai, Asian BBQ and Noodles, and more, it was shortly after work that I finally decided to stop in at 168 Market and although the aisles contain any number of ethnic items and unique “oddities” it was in the Supermarket’s food court that the majority of my time and $20 was invested, five hot items and six pastries all showing far more strongly than a passerby might expect.

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Known as one of the most prominent providers of Chinatown’s roast duck, produce, and offal – all prominently displayed and far more affordable in some cases than even the large local chains – 168 Market is equally striking in the cleanliness of its layout and friendliness of the staff, though those wishing to take pictures are encouraged to focus only on the products as some of the staff voiced understandable concerns with photographs subsequently deleted.

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Striking in the breadth of options, the hot bar alone with at least forty items to be mixed-and-matched for a meal, it was mostly on dim sum that my fresh-made order was centered, the Har Gow unfortunately marred by small shrimp without much flavor while the fried balls coated in crunchy sweetness fared far better, easily on par with those at Ping Pang Pong at a fraction of the cost despite the lack of Kewpie mayo.

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Rare to forgo Congee, particularly a big Styrofoam cup for $2 that was chock-full of preserved egg and sliced pork, another great bite was found in the fried chicken and mushroom stew pockets with a toothsome mochi-like exterior, the same to be said of still-jiggly egg custard tarts.

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Onward to baked goods, three ladies working the small station simultaneously baking, bagging, sorting, and replacing items on shelves, the selection at 168 Market runs the gamut from standards to novelties and a wide selection saw five successes and only one failure, the ‘meat’ filling of the Pork Sung bun essentially hardened into a dry mass with a texture best described as ‘hairy,’ and a flavor that was not only overwhelmed by spice up front, but sour and acrid on the finish.

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Moving on to better things, those fancying Taro will be well advised to investigate either buns or cakes sweetened by the brilliant purple starch and yet as good both these were they still couldn’t stand up to the high quality of a remaining trio of red beans, blueberry jam, or rich butter – the latter harkening both pull-apart dinner roll and croissant in its texture with a lovely residual sweetness left to linger on the palate.

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FOUR STARS: Far more friendly and cleanly than other spots in Chinatown, and as much fun to browse as it is to partake in the goods, 168 Market is a place anyone interested in Asian Specialty items would be behooved to check out.

RECOMMENDED: Japanese Butter Floral Roll, Egg Custard Tart, Congee, Fried Chicken Roll.

AVOID: Cheese Puff Pork Sung Bun, Steamed Shrimp Dumpling.

TIP: Those planning to frequent the market are encouraged to sign up for the Frequent Shoppers Card as substantial discounts are displayed prominently throughout the store.

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

Posted in 168 Market, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork

Cuba Cafe, Las Vegas NV


Cuba Cafe

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Cuban Bread

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Cuba Cafe Sampler – Beef Empanada, Ham and Beef Croquetas, Mariquitas and Beef Stuffed Papa Rellena

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Sandwich Cubano – Roasted Pork, Ham, Swiss Cheese, Mustard and Pickles hot pressed on Cuban Bread


Tasting Plate – Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef with Onions and Peppers,) Lechon Asado (Roasted Pork with Garlic, Olive Oil, Lime, Mojo,) and Pollo Tequila (Marinated Chicken in Fresh Herbs with Tequila Sauce and Chipotle) plus Maudros (Sweet Plantains) and Moros & Cristianos


Camarones Enchilados – Jumbo Shrimp in Housemade Tomato Sauce with Yellow Rice

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Postre de la Casa – Flan / Tres Leches / Pineapple Special Sauce

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Fresas de la Casa – Strawberry Flambe over Ice Cream


Experiencing “real” Cuban cuisine for the first time just under a year ago during a trip to South Florida, it was finally on Saturday night that I sat with a friend who’d never tasted a Cubano, let alone Ropa Vieja, inside Cuba Cafe on East Tropicana and tasting our way through fifteen items by way of appetizers, entrees, desserts, and samplers the results were a mixed bag of decent to excellent with a pricepoint congruent to the quality of the fare.


Larger in size than one might guess, the low ceilings, dim lighting, and live music with a rose at each table providing a romantic sort of feel, it was a bit too close to the crooners that we were first seated and despite being at only 1/3 capacity it was not until one of several dirty tables was bussed that a move was accommodated, a large order soon to follow with minimal delay from the kitchen as conversation ensued and beverage refills were repeatedly offered.


Starting off with buttered bread that wasn’t especially appealing or particularly “Cuban” in any way, it was not long before a duo of “appetizers” arrived to render the basket irrelevant, a sampler of four items including plantain chips highlighted by creamy croquetas while the empanada trended a bit greasy, a pressed Cuban Sandwich not quite as crispy as those found in Miami though the meat to cheese ratio and light application of mustard and pickle was on point.

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Insisting that a Cuban friend said the Camarones Enchilados was good, though the resulting plate was little more than some previously frozen U16 shrimp cooked a bit too firm beneath a ladle of sauce not really distinctive from that at any checkered-tablecloth spot, a far better value was found in the tasting plate of Beef, Chicken, and Pork with smashed plantains and tender beans with rice – the Ropa robustly flavored by onions and peppers without being overwhelmed while the Lechon was a bit too fatty to be enjoyed in its entirety, the chicken trending a touch sweet but certainly not bad by any means.


Doing the heavy lifting on most of the food, it was still essential that dessert be ordered in order to evaluate the experience as a whole, and thankfully finding a willing partner to tackle the restaurant’s two “de la casa” signatures, the combination of flan and tres leches an excellent rendition of each with light notes of pineapple while a ‘flambe’ of strawberries was tasty enough, but also a bit disappointing as I’d half-expected a fiery tableside show.


THREE STARS: Competently executing some Cuban Classics while also offering several options for those not entirely interested in going all-in on such heavy Ethnic fare, Cuba Cafe fills a niche for those with a craving while also offering an introduction to any who are curious without breaking the bank or boarding a plane.

RECOMMENDED: Croquetas, Sandwich Cubano, Ropa Vieja, Postre de la Casa.

AVOID: Beef Empanada, Camarones Enchilados, Bread Basket.

TIP: Apparently offering coupons, those looking for an even better deal are encouraged to take a look for $15 off $30.

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

Cuba Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Cuba Cafe, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork

Giada, Las Vegas NV

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Pastry Basket – Polenta Muffin, Savory Bacon Corn Muffin, Chocolate Croissant Monkey Bread

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Chicken Marsala Meatballs with Roasted Wild Mushrooms

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Pecorino Tartufo with Apricot Preserves

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Gorgonzola Dolce with Raw Pear Honey

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ANTIPASTI PLATTER – Eggs Benedict Deviled Eggs, Mini Pizza Di Pasta, Brussels Sprouts Crostini

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Mortadella Bianca Pizza

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Baked Sausage & Eggplant Lasagna in Pink Sauce

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Sardinian Gnocchi al Pomodoro

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Italian Chicken & Waffles with Cacciatore Sauce, Polenta Waffle, Parmesan

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Cappugiro – Lavazza Gran Riserva, whipped with ice and layered over warm milk and chocolate sauce

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Limoncello Souffle with Buttermilk Gelato

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Leaning Tower of Chocolate & Espresso

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From the moment Giada De Laurentiis opened her well-branded doors at The Cromwell I knew the day would come when curiosity would finally get the best of me to step inside, but with friends overwhelmingly underwhelmed while Pete Wells basically shredded the place it was not until the opportunity for “Media Brunch” presented itself that I finally sat down at a table…to almost entirely predictable results.

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No doubt a luxurious room, the posh banquets and enormous windows with a view of Bellagio some of the perks offered from a place whose prices speak to celebrity Chefdom and Strip-side surcharges more than perhaps any in town, rest assured that one will not forget they are dining at Giada during a single moment of their meal, the name of its proprietor found on everything from menus and napkins to the artwork…small cursive Gs outlining many service pieces, as well.

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Humorously handed a card suggesting #hashtags and @handles to tweet with during the stay it was from the full brunch menu as well as a prix fixe tasting that invitees were left to decide from, the service exceedingly pleasant if not a little overbearing – though the special coffee menu did have to be requested while refills of the houseblend drip were infrequent to come around.

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Inexplicably targeting every writer in town at once, a PR move I’ll never comprehend as a steady stream of positivity would seem far more beneficial than an obvious en masse lovefest, it was nonetheless in in three courses that our 130-minute stay would take place, some dishes far better than anticipated while a few were no better than those found Off-Strip for less than half the cost.

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Beginning with a pastry basket offered as part of the prix-fixe, for our purposes self-selected but usually Chef’s choice, only the Monkey Bread was particularly memorable as both cornmeal-based options were far too dry, and moving on to appetizers suffice it to say that aside from stingy portions none of the Antipasti “platter” showed as well as it sounded, the better bites found in a la carte options including the moist chicken meatballs awash in spices and a duo of cheeses that were well aged and portioned to fit the double-digit pricetag, the accoutrements and crisp lavash also faring well.

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Acknowledging the import status of their Artisan meats, but hardly ever to pass up Mortadella whenever it is found, it was an intermezzo “pizza” that would be far better described as a flatbread which seperated appetizers from entrees and with a pleasantly pliable crust and a good sapor to the meat the quality was just fine aside from the $15 tab, particularly compared to dreadful gnocchi that may as well have come from a box, the bowl going unfinished despite being no more than four spoonfuls of limp noodles laid in a watery and insipid sauce.

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Turning next to entrees, a porcelain crock featuring layers of eggplant and noodles separated by spicy sausage undoubtedly a highlight of the meal, those interested in tasting Giada’s signature cacciatore without going all-in at dinner have their chance to sample alongside crispy polenta waffles – recommendations to combine sauce, bird, and syrup not worth the time or effort as separating the plate as two-halves is far more successful, though neither is likely to make anyone say “wow.”


Finishing up with dessert, the options scaled down from dinner and lacking in seemingly obvious bombolini for reasons unknown, the go-to dish is undoubtedly a pudding-soft citrus souffle served with buttermilk gelato while the leaning tower is no more than a Cold Stone quality ice cream cake, an “inverted cappuccino” entitled Cappugiro from the specialty coffee menu a far more intriguing proposition and the sort of thing for which I could almost justify a return visit, if only to sit at the bar sipping while enjoying the view.

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TWO AND A HALF STARS: Told by some that Giada has improved since opening while others suggest they have locked in their core clientele and no longer need to try, I’m sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle, an experience worth having once if only to say “been there, done that” but not the sort of place warranting return visits for those who truly care about value or great food.

RECOMMENDED: Baked Sausage & Eggplant Lasagna, Limoncello Souffle, Cappugiro.

AVOID: Sardinian Gnocchi al Pomodoro, Polenta Muffin, The Hype.

TIP: Charged at $45 the Brunch Tasting Menu hardly represents a deal when accounting for the paltry Antipasti Platter and meager pastry offerings.

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

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

Posted in Bread Basket, Breakfast, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Giada, Gnocchi, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Souffle, Waffles

CRAFTkitchen, Henderson NV



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Brewed to Order Coffee from Colorado River Coffee Roasters

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Kouign Amann with Housemade Mixed Berry Jam

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Almond Croissant

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffin

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Pecan Sticky Bun

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Oatmeal Brulee with Steel Cut Oats Caramelized with Sugar in the Raw, Dried Fruits, Nuts

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Pear & Pomegranate & Burrata with Petit Greens, Caramelized Pecans, Pomegranate Vinaigrette

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Red Velvet Cakes with short stack of Red Velvet Pancakes, Cream Cheese Icing, Fresh Berries

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Chicken and What? With Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Waffles, Pickled Jalapeno Maple Syrup

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Chorizo Shepherd’s Pie with Sauteed Chorizo, Whipped Potato Puree, Poached Cage Free Egg, Micro Cilantro

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Pulled Turkey Benny with Charred Tomatoes, Avocado, Poached Egg, Citrus Hollandaise

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Short Rib Hash with Braised Short Ribs, Smashed Potatoes, Roasted Sweet Onions, Peppers

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Croque Monsieur Panini with Niman Ranch Ham, Gruyere Cheese, Bechamel, Tender Greens

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Oatmeal Cookie

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Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

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Apple Tart

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Red Velvet Cupcake

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Carrot Bar

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Green Apple, Chocolate, Pumpkin Macaron


Owned and operated by Jaret Blinn, a California native whose long history in Las Vegas has gone overlooked by many due to his time in corporate kitchens including work with Bradley Manchester at Red Rock, Henderson’s new craftKITCHEN stands to raise the curtain on the skills of another Chef who gave up a steady paycheck in favor of something more personal, a breakfast and lunch space offering “Local. Inspired. Eats.”

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Part passion project, but also a choice made to assure more flexibility for a man with a wife and kids, craftKITCHEN fills a strip mall spot reimagined from a previous restaurant and with clean lines plus a subtle natural vibe imparted by cooking quotes and plantlife the experience starts with warm welcomes at the door, a 7 o’clock arrival finding the youthful team still stocking shelves as light tunes from local radio chimed overhead.

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Immediately attuned to no less than two-dozen pastries, each crafted by Jaret starting at 2am with baking extending late into the day, it was admittedly having e-mailed to discuss the concept as well as the possibility of a ‘small plates’ sort of tasting that my arrival was expected, and although the Chef admitted some fatigue following a late night Grand Opening with friends and family neither he nor his staff could have been more accommodating, a total of eight demi-portions sampled with rarely a miss in quality or execution.

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Taking time to do things right, everything from produce to coffee sourced as locally as one can, those who love the later will be happy to know beans are sourced from Colorado River Roasters and with each cup brewed to order the fruit flavors are robust with a smooth finish, each sip good on its own though all thebetter when paired to breakfast pastries offered warmed-to-order, each of four sampled far less sweet than others in the area with the moist pumpkin muffin particularly impressive while the kouign amann was slightly softened as a result of housemade mixed berry filling.


Allowed to select the menu, but taking input from the team as to which items were best, plates were rolled out mostly in pairs from the kitchen and starting light with well-timed progression round one consisted of a well-composed salad featuring creamy burrata set against pomegranate with an alternative plate as delicious as it was different, the toothsome oats perfectly cooked beneath a crackling caramelized top with an optional mix-in of dried fruit and nuts.


Again showing the palate of a chef willing to present his sweeter side with nuance as opposed to a sledgehammer of sugar, it was in silver-dollar flapjacks tinged in cocoa that tastebuds were next entrusted and, although better than the majority, the omnipresent plate seemed a bit too ‘safe’ to be worth too much stomach space, particularly when compared to juicy fried chicken atop crisp waffles kicked up by pickled peppers, let alone a Shepherd’s Pie replacing lamb with spicy chorizo that you won’t find anywhere else in town.


Not entirely sold on avocado toast, but willing to trust the chef that the ingredient was put to equally good use on the pulled turkey benedict, those looking for something ‘different’ would be well served to check out the brined breast atop an English muffin with a sidecar of lemony hollandaise while a taste even more savory can be sought in the short rib hash with pan seared spuds, peppers, and onions.

Overestimating my hunger when presenting the meal’s final savory, a whole ham and cheese sandwich with creamy Bechamel pressed between slices of housemade panini bread, the somewhat atypical croque was nonetheless every bit as good as the sum of its ingredients and taking half home along with a box of baked goods it was approximately six hours later when the tasting continued, the oatmeal cookie with fruits similar to that of the bruleed version a particular standout as was the fluffy gluten-free brownie, apple tart, and carrot bar that ratcheted up the experience with tangy cream cheese frosting anchoring candy ‘leaves’ and buttery toffee shards.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS: One-upping eat. in ingredient quality and out-thinking MTO Cafe in terms of creativity and menu design it would be difficult to name anyone outside of publicUS offering such a bounty of great products seven days a week throughout breakfast and lunch, the 25-minute drive from Summerlin notwithstanding there is no doubt craftKITCHEN is well worth a look for locals and tourists with a car alike.

RECOMMENDED: Pumpkin Muffin, Pear & Pomegranate & Burrata, Chicken and What?, Chorizo Shepherd’s Pie, Oatmeal Cookie, Carrot Bar.

AVOID: Salt Sensitive folks should probably think twice about the Short Rib Hash.

TIP: Pictures of plated items above represent 1/2 or 1/3 portions of all but the Oatmeal Brulee and Croque Monsieur, the full sized versions obviously plated differently for both the Chicken and What? as well as the Benny which were admittedly messy as offered. Open 7a-3p daily, baked goods warmed-to-order by convection oven for those arriving later in the day.

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

Posted in Bread Basket, Breakfast, Coffee, Craft Kitchen, CRAFTkitchen, Croissant, cupcakes, Dessert, Food, Henderson, Las Vegas, Macaroon, Nevada, Pancakes, Pork, Tasting Menu, Waffles

Portofino [4,] Las Vegas NV


Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca


Iced Tea

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Warm Focaccia


Caprese Salad – Heirloom Tomatoes, Bufala Mozzarella, Basil


Beet Salad – Goat Cheese Panna Cotta, Candied Pistachios, Orchard Apples

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Grilled Octopus – Calabrian Peperonata, Fingerling Crisps, Salsa Verde

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Crab Cake Arancini – Lemon Saffron Risotto, Pesto Aioli, Fresno Pickles


Meatballs – Fried Squash Blossoms, Goat Cheese, San Marzano Tomatoes

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Pasta & Fagioli Soup – Market Vegetables, Housemade Sausage, Cannellini Beans, Grilled Crostini

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Veal Canneloni – Grilled Asparagus, Porcini Mushrooms, Marsala Sauce

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Burrata Agnolotti – Lobster, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Roasted Corn Butter


Butternut Squash Gnocchi – Turkey Confit, Pickled Cranberries, Thanksgiving Crumble


Ripatelli – Wild Boar Bolognese, Roasted Tomato Sauce, Goat Cheese Pesto

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Pappardella Alla Vodka – Butter Poached Langoustines, Wild Market Spinach, Absolut Elyx Vodka Sauce

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Day Boat Scallops – Roasted Cauliflower, Mascarpone Polenta, Pancetta

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Chicken Rollatini Parmesan – Chicken Ripieno, Housemade Marinara, Melted Mozzarella

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Veal Osso Buco – Saffron Risotto, Bone Marrow, Gremolata

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Braised Pork Shank – Bacon & Bean Ragu, Brussels Sprouts, Pearl Onions

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Aragosta Milanese – Breaded Lobster Tail, Rapini, Lemon Sauce

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Nutella Crème Brulee – twisted disaronna whipped cream, fudge, crystallized almonds

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Cannoli Napoleon – Chocolate Chunk Ricotta Filling, Citrus-Olive Oil Sorbet

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Cassata Cheesecake – Harry’s berries, Italian wedding cake croutons

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Traditional Tiramisu – Cognac Crème, Lady Fingers


Happy to support any restaurant that continues to evolve, tweak, and reinvent even when it is already outperforming anything similar in the market, it took little more than seasonal menu updates to bring myself and six friends back to The Mirage’s Portofino and with Chef Michael LaPlaca continuing to amuse palates with a total of twenty plates, including four new pastas, no real descriptor can encompass just how great the evening was, the service better than ever even as Chris Zadie and team saw over 180 walk-ins without missing a step.


Again sat at a table overlooking the dining room floor, music and scenery unchanged from the past while a buzz hung in the air from a mostly-full house, it was to a family-style carte blanche experience that our meal was entrusted and passing on wine in favor of Iced Tea it was not more than fifteen minutes before the fun got started, a seasonal beet salad with beautiful candied pistachios juxtaposing creamy goat cheese joining several old-favorites, the meatballs deemed better than ever by some at the table while the soup managed the rare feat of beans being perfectly cooked while pasta was still springy yet tender.


Unabashedly promoting LaPlaca as the most innovative pasta maker in Las Vegas, a title earned across three prior meals where not one noodle or sauce failed to impress, November’s new menu saw some similarities but mostly different offerings and although the Agnolotti remains the sort of signature MGM should be touting on billboards it was once again the Gnocchi that stole away the spotlight, the Thanksgiving Feast on a plate every bit as ‘fun’ as it was delicious beneath dehydrated stuffing crumbles while “Pappardella alla Vodka” required no tableside show to induce a smile, just great sauce and huge langoustines with butter and booze kept grounded by sauteed spinach greens.


Already seeing some at the table scaling back on portions in order to enjoy more of that to come, secondi featured three classics joined by two more recent innovations and although the Osso Bucco remains the best in the city while the fried lobster tail is a luxury that anyone with the means should go out of their way for it would be equally difficult to pass up buttery scallops atop cauliflower puree with cubes of fried polenta, let alone the flash fried pork shank that is not exactly “Italian” but no less likely to wow atop a sweet and smoky bean ragu.


Currently in flux as relates to the pastry department, options unchanged from the past yet still just as good, it was perhaps good fortune that saw only a small smattering of sweets served after such an epic meal and with the Cassata Cheesecake as well as the Crème Brulee drawing oohs-and-ahhs from the uninitiated it seems to me that even the deconstructed cannoli tasted better this time around, the filling more creamy than memory serves and the citrus notes turned down.


FIVE STARS: Continuing to challenge themselves while still impressing tourists and locals alike the simple volume of glowing praise for Portofino should be proof enough of a restaurant worth a visit, each and every menu change likely to prompt my next.

RECOMMENDED: Meatballs, Crabcake Arancini, Butternut Squash Gnocchi, Burrata Agnolotti, Osso Bucco, Crispy Pork Shank, Cassata Cheesecake.

AVOID: Filling up on all that delicious bread.

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TIP: Family Style Tastings can be arranged by contacting the restaurant in advance.

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

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

Posted in Bread Basket, Crab, Dessert, Food, Gnocchi, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Octopus, Pork, Portofino, Tasting Menu

Inna Gadda di Pizza, Las Vegas NV


Inna Gadda di Pizza

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Tomato Pie with Pepperoni

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White Pie with Artichoke Hearts

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Black and White Cookie

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Located in the increasingly busy Pawn Plaza, but still more of a ‘secret’ than the unnamed space owned by the same group at The Cosmopolitan, Inna Godda di Pizza occupies the downstairs corner pocket furthest from The Strip and featuring similar pies to those that have impressed both critics as well as the late night Marquee crowd ever since opening a visit to the month old space was every bit as good as the original, even an early morning oven malfunction not preventing a pair of freshly made pies from shining.

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Not remotely a New Yorker, nor one to romanticize late nights slurping a soggy “99cent slice,” it was with the same standards and biases as always that I entered Inna Gadda di Pizza, and although Foghat played in place of expected Iron Butterfly while the owner explained that an overnight oven shutdown had delayed the day’s preparations it was with a little patience and conversation that minutes passed, each dough rolled out and hand stretched before careful topping, the $3 Red and $3.50 White by-the-slice options quickly sold to a steady stream of traffic, the vast majority visiting from out of town.

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Proudly touting the use of ingredients that justify paying a few cents more per bite, suffice it to say that compared to “Secret Pizza” the prices trend a bit lower at the new location, and with a nice char imparted to the crust by “about ten minutes at five-fifty” both the bright and zingy red sauce beneath melted Mozz and garlic cream with dollops of ricotta plus house-smoked tomatoes were on par with the best in the genre, the fifty-cent toppings and absolute steal for a handful of marinated artichoke hearts while pepperoni was a touch oily and less well-spiced than expected.

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Surprisingly offering three desserts, all made n house and ranging $2-$4 each, anyone filling cannoli to-order deserves support and taking the time to match crisp shells to sweet cheese tinged in citrus the two-bite pastries were delightfully light yet extremely flavorful, a spot less less praise offered for a small bowl of tiramisu that seemed a bit too soggy at its base despite generous coffee notes while the seemingly out-of-place Black & White was smaller than most, yet moist and fluffy enough that you may want two.

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THREE AND A HALF STARS: About as good as it gets for a “slice shop” particularly on Las Vegas Boulevard for less than $4, Inna Gadda di Pizza is only likely to get better with time and seasoning of the ovens, a few small tweaks potentially capable of making this the first “must-visit” spot at Pawn Plaza for locals as well as tourists.

RECOMMENDED: White Slice with Artichokes, Black and White Cookie.

AVOID: Pepperoni, the bottom layer of the tiramisu.

TIP: Free Parking is Available at Pawn Plaza, and those looking for whole pies or made to order calzone are advised to call in advance.


Posted in Dessert, Food, Inna Gadda di Pizza, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tiramisu

Le Cirque [6,] Las Vegas NV


Le Cirque


Pretzel Bread with Butter


White Chocolate Coffee Bread and French Baguette

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Coronette of Soft Quail Egg, White Truffles, Asparagus, Crème Fraiche

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Chestnut Veloute, Porcini Cream, Watercress Sponge Cake, Farm Egg Confit, Hazelnuts, Shimeji Mushroom Preserve

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Sauteed Foie Gras, Port Poached Fig, Wild Hibiscus Flower Syrup


Creamy Carnarolli Risotto with Alba White Truffles

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Pine Nut Crusted Diver Scallop, Trout Roe, Parslet Coulis, Glazed Matsutake

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Cervena Venison, Poached Bosc Pear Farci, Cacao Nibs, Kabocha Squash, Parsnip and Vanilla Mousseline


Classic Vacherin for Two, Meringue, Passion Fruit, Coconut Sorbet, Exotic Fruit, Tropical Sauce


Rare to use my blog as a soapbox, instead happy to report things as I see them without the PR “spin,” those in-the-know are no doubt aware that many ‘foodies’ around the globe look down on Las Vegas as a land of overpriced knockoffs and absentee celebrity chef landlords, a fact that cannot be denied but at the same time one which occasionally overlooks a hidden-in-plain-sight gem.


Assuredly one of the most well regarded restaurants in Las Vegas, Le Cirque’s 16+ year run at The Bellagio seeing hundreds of less fortunate establishments shutter both on and off The Strip, it was for the fourth time this year that I sat down within the intimate 17-table space on Saturday evening in celebration of two-full-years a Nevada resident, the newly launched Fall menu solidifying my opinion that Wilfried Bergerhausen is the city’s most creative young talent, and high upon a small list to which this post will act as a local call-to-arms.


Once a Michelin Star holder and consistently awarded the AAA Five-Diamond award from year-to-year as Ivo Angelov exemplifies the role of GM in assuring every aspect of the experience is beyond reproach, it seems absurd that one of the few spinoffs in the city that has far surpassed the original has gone unrecognized by The James Beard Foundation aside from an honorable mention for wine, but with the 28 year old Bergerhausen already logging fourteen years of professional experience what better place to begin than with a nomination for Rising Star Chef of The Year?

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Not purporting an expertise on every single twenty-something man or woman running a kitchen across The United States, the few that come to mind are certainly not subject to the intensity of preparing no less than two-dozen different plates for palates ranging from tourists on a pre-theater budget to high-rollers opining for a 3-hour degustation, not to mention desserts and canapes, for six-nights of each and every week.


Easily capable of executing Le Cirque classics like the Lobster Salad, Rabbit Symphony, and any number of souffles, recent visits show signs of a young man equally gifted with protein as he is with produce and with a fondness for acid and mushrooms belying a childhood in France even moreso than his accent one merely need clothes their eyes and point to choose a plate as beautiful as it is delicious, the preparation of each ingredient and their subsequent plating showing a great respect for tradition and an artistry well beyond his years.

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Citing family as an influence while his passion and skill are obvious from the moment he begins to speak, Wilfried describes his greatest attribute as curiosity, something those who have not been are encouraged to satisfy by taking a seat and something those who have can reward by signing up here and entering his name.

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My Previous Thoughts:

***Rising Star Chef of the Year (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Spring Water) – A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Foie, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Le Cirque, Nevada, Tasting Menu, Truffle

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar [10,] Las Vegas NV


Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

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Dulce de Leche Strawberry Waffle – Dulce de Leche Waffle, Chocolate Sauce, Strawberries, Chantilly Cream

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Maple Glazed Bacon Doughnuts – Caramel Dipping Sauce

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Chess Pie – Sweet Cornmeal, Chantilly Cream, Caramel Sauce

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Sweet Potato Pie with Crumbled Pecans, Whipped Cream

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Biscuits with Honey Butter and Apple Butter

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S’Mores Brownie with Graham Cracker Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate Sauce, Charred Marshmallow


Lemon Blueberry Sundae – Lemon Dill Curd, Vanilla Ice Cream, Graham Cracker Crumble, Blueberry Compote


Hummingbird Cake – Cream Cheese Frosting, Banana Pecan Ice Cream, Caramelized Pineapple

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Deep Fried Oreo – Oreo Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, Chocolate Rice Crispys

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Raspberry Cheesecake – Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Sorbet, Raspberry Sauce, Chocolate Ganache

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Strawberry Shortcake – Strawberry Ice Cream, Orange Strawberry Sauce, Sorghum Chantilly

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Yardbird Banana Split – Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, Caramelized Banana, Shortbread Cookie


Receiving word a few weeks prior that Pastry Chef Vivian Chang would be leaving Yardbird at the beginning of November, a job at Pierre Gagnaire’s Twist offering the young woman a chance to spread her wings and develop skills under the guidance of a living legend, it was without hesitation that I booked a chance to visit her at The Venetian one last time for sweets and seated with five friends after lunch at Flock & Fowl the results were as good as ever, only three new items sampled but all as good as the realm of rustic-upscale dessert gets.


Having now visited Yardbird ten times since the start of the year, once since Todd Harrington handed the reins to Melvin Johnson at the helm, it is obvious to anyone who knows me that my affection for the Miami import has been cemented by the work of Chef Chang even more than the savory side of the staff and beginning with biscuits, of which I ate three, before progressing into crisp waffles both remain reference standard both locally and across the nation, the former more fluffy than Sunrise with more butter than Loveless while separating layers outdo many laminated pastries around the globe.


Upgrading the longstanding Miami Maple Bacon Donut during her one-year tenure and continuing to innovate until the end of her term, this meal saw Vivian unleash a Sweet Potato Pie that may as well have been made of silk given the smoothness of the puree and again seeing the innovative Strawberry Shortcake, S’mores Brownie, and beautiful Hummingbird her comprehensive reinterpretation of Southern classics was once again worthy of being witnessed, each bite as compelling as the last.


Again impressed by the Banana Split and equally set smiling by a Sundae that somehow saw dill accent lemon and blueberries in a most pleasant and unexpected way, suffice it to say that over the course of a year none of Chef Chang’s in-house Pacojet crafted ice creams was less than a resounding success, a compliment paid equally to Rice Crispy coated Oreos that solve the conundrum of how to prevent the center from becoming a soggy mess.


Rounding out the meal with a slice of cheesecake that saw Raspberries and Chocolate forms meld harmoniously amidst a creamy, tangy base it was no mistake that a few bites of the Chess Pie were set aside as a final taste, still the best version of the dish to date and one I don’t expect to be soon replaced.


FIVE STARS: To date not replacing Vivian, whose first day at Twist is November 3rd, the Chef claims nothing will change in her departure as the team has been trained well, and yet as much as I want to believe those words I still can’t help but be a little bit disappointed as the ‘skinny pastry chef’ signage above the kitchen tells us ‘not to trust’ has left some sizable shoes to fill.

RECOMMENDED: Close your eyes and point…then add on the Chess Pie, an order of Biscuits, nd a Hummingbird Cake.


TIP: Not all Desserts are typically offered during Brunch Service while the Chess Pie is unfortunately only offered from 10a-4p Friday through Sunday at this time.

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

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Breakfast, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Waffles, Yardbird, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Yardbird Southern Table and Bar

Flock & Fowl, Las Vegas NV


Flock & Fowl

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Hainan Chicken Rice – Poached Chicken, Rice, House Sauces with added Chinese Sausage

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Fried Tenders and Rice with House Sauces

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Chicken Wings – Mrs Han’s Twice Cooked Szechuan

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Chicken Wings – Thai Style with Fish Sauce, Garlic, and Lemon

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Cornish Game Hen with Kale, Tomato, Cucumber, Grape, Cranberry, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, and Sesame Vinaigrette Salad

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Bao-Chicka-Bao Bao with Kale Slaw


Achieving unlikely success in the middle of Eureka Casino with his Great Bow-turned-Brick+Mortar Fat Choy, Sheridan Su has seemingly found success where so many others have failed largely by keeping head down, eyes up, while focusing on quality of the product, and narrowing his focus even further at recently opened Flock & Fowl the young Chef finds has proven the rare double threat with a “do one thing and do it well” space that gets it right.


Historically an adapted dish of early Chinese decedents from the Hainan Province, but offered throughout Asia and a few famous shops speckled around the United States, Su and his wife Jenny officially started obsessing over the dish following a visit to Taiwan and although a recipe of poached chicken and rice cooked in chicken fat may seem ‘simple,’ its perfection lies in the details – all of which the duo seems to have dialed in.


No more fanciful in location than Fat Choy. the renovated space on Sahara next to a pawn shop and within view of the Strip Clubs on Industrial Road in the shadow of The Strip, Flock & Fowl seems as intentionally limited in its seating as it is in its menu and with Sheridan in the Kitchen as Jenny works the room orders are placed at the counter with service fast to follow, a “one of each” order seeing our table of six served in three successive rounds.


Starting with Sheridan’s longtime signature buns, in this case graced with crispy buttermilk soaked bird from Mary’s Free Range with a bit of kale slaw and sauce, it almost seems silly that anyone could be excited about the pending opening of Chick-fil-A with such a thing available, each bite first met by pillowy bao before giving way to bittersweet flavors juxtaposing juicy, well-seasoned meat.


Rare to be wowed by wings, though always open to a change of heart, round two saw Sheridan send out a couple extra bites of each flavor to that the whole table could enjoy, and with two flavors available the only real question is which of them to order, the Szechuan expectedly the ‘hotter,’ though certainly not ridiculous, while the fish-sauce tossed Thai style rivaled those at Pok-Pok for flavor, if not for size.


Served all three entrees at once, easily enough to feed six adults when paired with that which had already come, suffice it to say that the Chicken tenders were perfectly fine if not particularly ‘wowing’ compared to the rest, yet when paired to the housemade chile sauce or chunky bits of garlic the three-piece order was an absolute steal for just $9, the crispy cornish hen another veritable steal alongside a complex and elegant salad for just a dollar more.


Speaking last to the dish Su set out to perfect it should first be said that many at the table had never sought out a truly authentic version until this date, but whether a virgin or a veteran none at the table seemed to be disappointed in the silky broiled breast or the fluffy white rice, a $2 addition of spicy Chinese sausage every bit worth the surcharge while the bonus broth was chock-a-block full of flavor without being pumped up with salt or MSG.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Flawed only in the inherent limitations of space, an outsourced single dessert, and menu – the later to be remedied by specials from time-to-time – Flock & Fowl has thus far shown that perhaps Las Vegas is ready to embrace such a focused concept – the early word almost universally favorable, but a fate that only time and the fickleness of local ‘media’ will tell.

RECOMMENDED: Hainan Chicken, Chicken Bao, Thai Style Wings.

AVOID: Arriving with too large a group if you are really hungry as seating is limited and wait times can vary with everything made to order.

TIP: Keep an eye on Social Media for daily specials and take note of hours, at this time only open 10:30am to 3:00pm Tuesday through Saturday.

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

Flock & Fowl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Flock & Fowl, Flock and Fowl, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork

Fulton Street Food Hall, Las Vegas NV


Fulton Street Food Hall at Harrah’s


Soft Serve Samples – Southern Butter Pecan. Butter Cup, Peanut Butter, California Tart, Triple Chocolate, Sea Sal Caramel, Island Candy Bar, Birthday Cake, German Chocolate Cake, White Chocolate Mousse, Cookies & Cream, Moose Tracks

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Butter Cup, Banana Chips. Granola Sundae

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Peanut Butter Brownie

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Chocolate Chip Cookie, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, Peanut Butter Cookie

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Buttermilk Donut, Chocolate Donut, Strawberry Donut

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Jumbo Maple Dip

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Almond Croissant

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Vanilla “Red Velvet” Pancakes with Mascarpone, Blueberries, Strawberries, Whipped Cream, 100% Pure Canadian Maple Syrup

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Pecan & Cranberry French Toast with 100% Pure Canadian Maple Syrup

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Located just off the gaming floor at Harrah’s and occupying a sizable footprint beneath Ice Pan with the Buffet not too far away The Fulton Street Food Hall at first looks like any other Casino Food Court, yet a closer look indicates something a bit more thoughtful, a 24/7 spot that morphs throughout the day with options abound.

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Using a well stocked gaming bar as one anchor while fanciful pastries glow behind glass at a coffee bar near the other end towards escalators to the garage the Food Hall cannot be fully appreciated in a single visit, but over the course of twelve-hours the full breadth of the spread offers everything from Noodle Soups and Sushi to Breakfast Plates and Pizza, the Soft-serve station another popular option while Salads, Sandwiches, and “Comfort Foods” each offer options for diners on the go.

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Admittedly only taking looks at 3 of 8 stations, my predilection to sweets obvious in the ordering, a stop by the pastry counter may prove daunting to the uninitiated, but taking into account that all items are made “once or twice” daily according to servers the best bet is either arriving early morning or choosing items with less time sensitivity, the miniature donuts far too dry when sampled late evening Friday while a Frisbee-sized Jumbo the morning after was pillowy soft, sweet, and the slightest bit yeasty, albeit expensive at $7.

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Not particularly taken by the cookies, all three more sugary than necessary which led to the flavors trending mostly ‘same-same,’ both the dense chocolate Ding-Dong knockoff and rich peanut butter brownie were a step in the right direction, the latter almost too rich for one person though an accompanying cup of coffee will certainly aid the cause.

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Expecting it a mistake even before ordering the $5 Almond Croissant it took only two bites to confirm the combination of poor proofing and sticky Frangipane as a disaster and casting the rest into the nearest receptacle before sitting down to proper breakfast it was with good fortune that not a bite more stomach space had been wasted since both the Chef’s Special Pancakes and Fruit and Nut studded French Toast were amongst the Strip’s more impressive examples, each offered the benefit of completely unanticipated pure Maple Syrup.

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Brought up on Soft-serve, but generally not going out of my way for the stuff, it was mostly the uniqueness of flavors that led me to order a $6 cup late in the evening and although samples of flavors including Island Candy Bar, Birthday Cake, and Moose Tracks were all quite pleasant the blend of Southern Pecan and Peanut Butter Cup entitled Butter Cup was absolutely exquisite, a flavor something like salted French Butter that mixed well with banana chips and crunchy housemade honey granola.

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THREE AND A HALF STARS: A touch more spendy than it should be, but trying far harder than need be, Fulton Street Food Hall goes to show that the Casinos are at least thinking about the quality of their food as part of the overall ‘experience in 2015, a trend that both tourists and locals can only hope will continue to grow.

RECOMMENDED: Pecan and Cranberry French Toast, Peanut Butter Brownie, Butter Cup Soft Serve

AVOID: Almond Croissant, Cookies.

TIP: Breakfast Runs 7a-11a with transition to the Noodle Bar thereafter. Bring your Total Rewards Card for a few bucks off on various items.


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

Fulton Street Food Hall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Croissant, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Fulton Street Food Hall, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pancakes

Border Grill at Forum Shops [2,] Las Vegas NV


Border Grill at The Forum Shops


Pineapple Vanilla Margarita – Pineapple Vanilla Infused Tequila Blanco, Fresh Lime, Organic Agave Nectar


(Not Photographed) Cucumber Cooler – Cucumber Infused Seagram’s Vodka, Fresh Mint & Lime, Hand Muddled


Super Fruit Margarita – Blackberry Infused Partida Blanco, Veev Acai Spirit, Fresh Lime & Blueberries, Agave Nectar / Blood Orange Jalapeno Margarita – Olmeca Altos Plata, Blood Orange, Agave Nectar, Fresh Jalapeno & Lime, Mole Rim

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Chips and Salsa

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Border Guacamole – Haas Avocado, Jalapeno, Lime

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Ceviche Trio:


Baja Ceviche – Mexican White Shrimp, Tomato, Jalapeno Aioli, Corn Tostada


Peruvian Ceviche – Mahi Mahi, Lime, Ginger, Aji Amarillo, Plantain Chip


Caribbean Carpaccio – Sustainable Albacore, Hawaiian Ono, Coconut Chili Broth, Celery Leaf, Shaved Red Onion, Shoestring Yams


Pumpkin Ceviche – Candied Baby Pumpkin, Hawaiian Ono, Aji Amarillo Sauce, Fresno Chiles, Avocado, Pomegranate Arils

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Pork Mole Verde – Slow Roasted Pork in Green Mole Sauce, Refried Pinto Beans, Red Rice, Vegetable Escabeche, Chicharron, Hoja Santa Tortillas

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Seafood Enchiladas – Tiger Shrimp, Crab Meat, Achiote Cream Sauce, Oaxacan Cheese, Watermelon Radish Salad, Crema

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Beef Brisket Flautas – BBQ Cabbage Slaw, Smoked Chile Salsa, Citrus Crema, Cotija

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Roasted Beets – Carrot Puree, Queso Blanco, Beet Greens


Double Espresso on Ice

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Flan Duo – Coconut, Roasted Yam, Caramel Sauce


Arroz Y Platano – Rice Pudding, Banana Crema, Spicy Pecan Tuile

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Having last visited Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s second Las Vegas outpost of Border Grill on New Years Day for brunch, it was not until General Manager Jennifer Holley tweeted a picture of festive holiday pumpkin that I recalled an invite to stop by for some ceviche – a special “Day of The Dead” menu launching on the anniversary of my second year in Nevada an added bonus as I sat with a friend and her son on the “patio” for a celebratory multi-course meal.


Conveniently situated at the base of spiral escalators on the ground floor of Caesars’ Forum Shops with the Too Hot Tamales signature style offering a backdrop to upscale Latin favorites crafted from largely local, sustainable, and organic products, it was moments after 6:00pm that menus were confiscated, Jennifer taking the reins and steering us through eleven plates, four cocktails, three types of salsa, and a few too many warm tortilla chips.

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Tasting a refreshing Cucumber Cooler before sipping the sweet Pineapple Margarita far more quickly than usual for someone who usually nurses his drinks, it was with smooth Haas Avocados pureed with a bit of heat that the meal got started and having been promised ceviche Mrs. Holley delivered precisely that just a few moments later, all four items crafted at the specially designed bar absolutely outstanding in terms of taste and texture, the candied pumpkin with cinnamon notes offering the best bites from my standpoint as sweetened plantain chips acted as spoons with heat turned up by Aji Amarillo.


Minding the youngster with chicken fingers, though he more than happily tasted from the special duet of Enchiladas and Pork as well, suffice it to say that anyone with a sense of ingredient quality is bound to appreciate the obvious time and skill involved in crafting such a deep and aromatic mole, the green “sacred leaf” tortillas another well thought piece to the puzzle with a slightly sweet finish helping to lighten the heft of the meat with a bit of crunch added by crispy chicharrones.


Thrilled by two more Margaritas, the Acai infused iteration a bit more my style than the smoke and spice infused Blood Orange, another round of savories featured two items off the regular dinner menu and although the flautas were essentially traditional Mexican fare benefited by superior ingredients the warm beet salad was a spotlight-stealing sort of side dish with great texture provided by creamy fresh queso while the natural sweetness of carrots provided a deft foil to bitter beet greens.


Generally unimpressed by most flan, though happy to have my mind changed, it was with a Día de Muerto duo that desserts got started and although both the creamy coconut and textured sweet potato rounds were better than most they simply could not compete with what I still consider to be the best Rice Pudding on this side of the Atlantic.


FOUR STARS: Admittedly trending more European in my tastes than Latin (or Asian for that matter) Border Grill disproves those who seem to believe that “Ethnic Food” shouldn’t be ‘upscale,’ and with superior ingredients generally yielding a superior product the experience is further benefited by top notch service with both the food and beverage offering enough variety for virtually all palates to be pleased.

RECOMMENDED: Ceviche, Rice Pudding, Beets.

AVOID: Admittedly a limited time item, the Achiote Cream Sauce unfortunately overwhelmed the subtlety of the delicate seafood within the Enchiladas a bit moreso than would be ideal.

TIP: Offering a completely different menu than the location at Mandalay Bay those interested are encouraged to check online, or just stop in at the All-You-Can-Eat table service brunch where several small plates are offered…in addition to the rice pudding.

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

Border Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Border Grill, Border Grill at Forum Shops, Coffee, Crab, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Tasting Menu

Table 10 “Essential Emeril” Dinner, Las Vegas NV


Table 10 “Essential Emeril” Dinner


Sweet Roll with Salted Butter

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Praline Candied Bacon

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Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

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New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

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Vietnamese Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls

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Bahamian-style Redfish Ceviche

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Salt Roasted Beet Salad with Pistachio Butter and Cypress Grove Goat Cheese

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Slow Roasted Wild Salmon with Roasted Creamy Cauliflower

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Barolo Braised Short Rib with Mascarpone Polenta, Baby Carrots and
Shaved Black Truffle

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Chocolate Sheba Cake with White Chocolate Anglaise

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Graciously invited by One7 Media to meet one of the very few Celebrity Chefs I hold near and dear to my heart it was on a rare Sunday night out that I joined three friends for some true “Event Dining,” the launch of ‘Essential Emeril’ coinciding with the introduction of new Table 10 Chef du cuisine James Richards during an intimate 60ish person private dinner on The Palazzzo’s second floor.

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Greeted by several members of the Lagasse’s Las Vegas team, Corporate Executive Chef Sean Roe telling us of the newly innovated Snack Bar just moments after we arrived, it was with Champagne or Punch that the evening began and with several of the Chef’s classics featured as butler-served hors d’oeuvres whetting the palatr, a meet-and-greet with Emeril himself transitioned all to the dining room where things got kicked up a notch.

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Describing his new book as “the closest thing I’ll ever do to an autobiography” while presenting each dish with anecdotes showing both humility and his own grinning gusto, it was with greeting from several friendly faces from Delmonico, The New Orleans Fish House, and even Lagasse’s Stadium that the meal marched forth and reflecting on his earliest years the Roasted Beet Salad was cool, creamy, and aromatic – a heartiness in tune with cooler weather, and a sign of flavors to come.

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Telling a tale of Charlie Trotter, the man to whom he dedicated the book, before presenting slow roasted salmon that transcended typical through controlled cooking temperatures that yielded a perfectly flaky filet it must be noted that, although rare to imbibe, each wine was on par to the plate with which it was paired, a 2013 Merlot blend from Ornellaia showing a good deal of oak and acidity to compliment truffled shortribs braised fork-tender in Barolo.


Mopping up the rest of the beef’s juices and any remaining polenta with a buttery sweet roll it was with a lone dessert that the two-hour meal concluded, and citing an unlikely reference in French legend Pierre Gagnaire the Chocolate Sheba Cake walked a fine line between ganache and mousse-like with shaved nuts adding just a touch of texture alongside creamy pool of Anglaise.

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Thanked repeatedly by Chefs and Staff for our attendance, the gratitude flowing equally from our side of the plate, it was with a signed copy of the new book that each of us departed after again shaking hands with a true legend, a return visit to check out Chef Richards’ menu update already being planned.

Table 10 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Emeril's, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Table 10, Table 10 "Essential Emeril" Dinner, Tasting Menu, Truffle

Rivea, Las Vegas NV



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Grissini with Tapenade

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Marinated Seabream, Citrus

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Focaccia di Recco

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Baguette, Semolina Loaf, Olive Focaccia with Olive Oil

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Sage/Parmesan Cheese Potato Gnocchi

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John Dory baked like on the Riviera

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Creamy Polenta

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Roasted Duck Breast, Turnips, Bigarade Sauce

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Limoncello Baba

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Cappucino Cup with Chocolate Brioche

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Our Traditional Zuccotto

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Shortbread Nutella Sandwiches


Rarely worried about rebranding, or even ripping a concept apart in order to completely reinvent a space, it was 7:30 Saturday night when I ascended the Delano’s glass elevator to meet another local physician for dinner at Rivea, the recently opened Alain Ducasse still bearing some semblance to the former Michelin-starred MiX while the connected Skyfall Lounge is far more welcoming than it once was, though still quite underpopulated despite the dramatic views.

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Imported from Saint-Tropez and London, Rivea arrives in Las Vegas as a swanky small-plates concept not dissimilar to Bellagio’s offensively priced Lago and although the offerings here trend somewhat more French than Italian the menu feels a bit precious, the appetizers mostly trumping $10 for less than two mouthfuls while more substantial mains hover around forty dollars each.


Still dripping bubbles of glass from its center, but now turned breezy with seaside blues befitting the Mediterranean cuisine crafted by Chef Bruno Riou, it was at tiny window-side two-top that the two of us were sat despite a dining room less than 10% full and although service was a bit overbearing at first it did not take long before the jeans-and-suspenders with Chuck Taylor’s-clad staff adapted to answer questions without overselling, though a few fumbles such as empty glasses and misdelivered plates did subsequently occur.

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Still a stunning space with high ceilings helping to dissipate noise while 180-degree views of the city remain unparalleled for a fine-dining establishment on the Strip, it was in conversation about restaurants moreso than business that time was passed and with two rounds of bread service each proving well crafted while the anchovy infused tapenade was boldly briny and addictive it was not long before a duo of appetizers arrived, the $14 crudo a bit spendy for such a tiny portion, no matter how “fresh,” while the creamy cheese and cracker flatbread was a total disappointment when compared to versions at Chicago’s Davanti Enoteca or Mario Batali’s chi SPACCA.


Citing influences from “the food markets of Provence and Italy,” but trending more Central France with a delicious duck whose skin met toasted meringue to double down on crispiness while sweetness played off turnips and a savory brown sauce, those looking for lighter flavors would be well advised to order the $42 John Dory whose flesh comes across delicate yet moist and buttery, a sizable side of polenta smooth and creamy while the potato gnocchi are almost buoyant in their aromatic levity.


Outed somewhere along the way from appetizers to entrees as two people more than a little familiar with Las Vegas’ dining scene, it was only after our server informed us that the signature Zuccotto could not be prepared in a smaller portion that the large cake-for-four nonetheless arrived tableside compliments of the Chef and having additionally ordered both the Limoncello-soaked Baba and the espresso-infused panna-cotta atop granita the only real question was order of indulgence, for my money the citrusy take on a Ducasse Classic almost as good as the Monte Carlo original while the slowly melting brandy semifreddo certainly warranted gathering a group to enjoy it with.


THREE STARS: Open for only a few weeks and still lacking for both patrons and a cost proportionate to the portions or quality of preparation of several plates it will be interesting to see how Las Vegas responds to yet another rebranded celebrity chef import, particularly in a largely unadvertised space that previously shuttered despite a similar name above the door and some of the most excellent views on The Strip.

RECOMMENDED: Entrees including the Duck and John Dory are far more fulfilling and creative than the overpriced small plates while both the Baba and Zuccatto show signs of a pastry kitchen that remains strong.

AVOID: Both the seabream and flimsy foccaccia could have easily been taken in one mouthful by scooping the former with a spoon and folding the second. The brioche served alongside the cappucino cup was also woeful, the chocolate a single solidified piece the size of a stick of gum.

TIP: Although attached, Rivea’s hostess stand is best accessed from The Delano lobby elevators while Skyfall is better experienced by the all-glass 64 story ascent near the Michael Jackson theater at Mandalay Bay.

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

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

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Gnocchi, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Rivea

Fish N Bowl, Las Vegas NV


Fish N Bowl


Green Tea

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Seaweed Salad with Yuzu Juice and Sesame Oil

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J-Curry Edamame – Japanese Curry, Salt, and Butter

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Spoon Trio – Uni with Lime Juice, Smoked Sea Salt, Grated Wasabi / Oyster Spoon with Ponzu, Wasabi Relish, Red Tobiko / Bay Scallop Lime Juice, XO Sauce, Grated Ginger

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Spicy Bacon Tempura – Fried Bacon with Maple Soy Reduction

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Salmon Kama – Grilled Salmon Collar with Garlic Lemon Sauce

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Hamachi Kama – Grilled Yellowtail Collar

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Poke Tacos on Crispy Wonton Skins – Tuna with Masago, Red Onion, Green Onion, Pomegranate Molasses, Micro Cilantro / Yellowtail with Sweet Wasabi Mayo, Red Onion, Green Onion, Black Tobiko / Ono with Jalapeno, Red Onion, Tomato, Sweet Mini Chili, Lime Juice, Chipotle Mayo, Micro Cilantro

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Agedashi Tofu – Lightly Fried Tofu in Fish Broth

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Soft Shell Crab Cake – Sweet Chili Pepper, Jalapeno, Chipotle Mayo

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Nigiri – Ume Fluke with Orange Juice and Japanese Pickles, Ahi Tuna with Yuzu and Garlic, Half Moon Salmon with Avocado and Lemon, Miso Yuzu Yellowtail, Hokkaido Scallop with Lime Juice and Green Tea Sea Salt

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Warm Springs Roll – Soft Shell Crab, Spicy Tuna, Spicy Crab, Shrimp Tempura, Avocado in Rice Paper with Eel Sauce, Spicy Yam, Sriracha

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Mr Monkey Roll – Fried Banana, Spicy Crab, Spicy Tuna with Pomegranate Molasses, Wasabi Mayo

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Unagi Bowl with Shredded Egg, Brown Rice, Eel Sauce

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Miso Soup

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Blueberry Angelfood Cake with Whipped Cream, Chocolates Ganache, Matcha Marshmallow, Caramel Sauce

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Cheesecake Tempura with Caramel Sauce and Chocolate


Born in Iowa, raised in Korea, and slicing up fish in Southwest Las Vegas, Howard Choi’s is most certainly is not the most typical of Chef’s stories, but garnering praise from locals and critics alike it was with modestly high expectations that a party of four sat on uncomfortable benches inside of Fish N Bowl on Saturday evening, the two-hour omakase experience showing a great diversity of tastes and textures with most of them quite good.


At first hesitant to serve ‘chef’s choice,’ the small restaurant on South Durango doing the majority of its business at lunch, happy hour, and with orders a la carte it was entirely from creations on the laminated flippable menu that fifteen course was crafted, a selection of water and teas added to a tally of just over $300 all-in for the table.


Bringing in fresh fish “almost every day but Sunday” from a variety of sources, including the ones that provide products to more pricey locations on The Strip, the Fish N Bowl experience crafted by Choi began with shredded seaweed glistening with sesame oil followed by edamame so tender that pods did not need to be discarded, the curry playing well of the acid from the salad while preparing the palate for bold flavors to come.


Doing an excellent job of presenting a broad view of appetizers by offering three individual ‘spoons,’ each typically offered as a trio, even those averse to oysters would be well advised to reassess with FNB’s version lightened by ponzu, heat, plus tobiko and although both the scallop and urchin were also well accompanied the first true ‘wow’ of the evening was provided by crispy breaded bacon fully awash with spices, the maple-infused soy sauce doing an admirable job of reining them all in.


Unfortunately hitting a speed bump with Salmon cooked a bit too long it was with a more appropriately grilled piece of Yellowtail that the kitchen quickly regained its footing, another raw followup served straight across the counter from Chef Choi’s hands perhaps the best six mouthfuls of the evening with each two-bite ‘taco’ out-‘Nobuing’ Matsuhisa, the Ono said by one to be the best tasted outside the Hawaiian Islands.

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Receiving lightly fried tofu in fish broth at the request of one diner, the flavor and texture far more appealing than the makeshift crabcake that tasted almost entirely of peppers that followed, it was a plate of five slices of fish atop rice that arrived subsequently, the fluke a touch overwhelmed by citrus while both scallop and ahi were undeniably excellent, the former particularly vibrant beneath both grated and crispy garlic.

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Not generally one to order rolls, but happy to let Choi try to change my mind, suffice it to say that although texturally compelling the Warm Springs Roll got a little lost in all the spices while the clever Mr. Monkey was a fun little bite to recalibrate the palate, savory courses ending in a bowl of brown rice topped with tender eel in its sauce and shavings of egg omelet.


Washing it all down with smooth miso as hot green tea better than that at Mizumi was on it’s way, desserts consisted of a cloud-like concoction from nearby Suzuya alongside the restaurant’s very own tempura fried cheesecake, the former forgettable albeit tasty while the latter was absolutely decadent alongside pools of caramel, chocolate, and a dollop of whipped cream.


THREE AND A HALF STARS: Pairing the passion of it’s Chef/Owner with a sizable menu and plenty of well-sourced fish, Howard Choi’s Fish N Bowl is the sort of ‘locals-only’ place that deserves the support of anyone interested in Japanese cuisine, the relatively low price point and cozy confines speaking to a world far removed from the touristy trappings of The Strip.

RECOMMENDED: Spicy Bacon Tempura, Poke Tacos, Mr Monkey Roll, Tempura Cheesecake.

AVOID: Soft Shell Crab Cake.

TIP: Offering several Happy Hour Specials from 3-5pm daily those interested in wine, beer, or sake are encouraged to look elsewhere as Fish N Bowl currently lacks a liquor license.

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

Fish N Bowl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Crab, Dessert, Fish N Bowl, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Sushi, Suzuya, Suzuya Pastries & Crepes, Tasting Menu

Sprinkles [2,] Las Vegas NV



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Pumpkin Cupcake

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Strawberry Cupcake

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S’mores Cupcake

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Black and White Cupcake

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Fudge Brownie

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Caramel Apple Cupcake Sundae – Apple Pie Ice Cream, Salted Butterscotch, Whipped Cream, Graham Cracker Crumbles

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Malted Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Coffee Fudge Almond Ice Cream, Banana Ice Cream, Salty Caramel Ice Cream, Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream, Apple Pie Ice Cream

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Having once waited nearly an hour for cupcakes when Sprinkles’ only outlet was a small shop in Beverly Hills, it was just after 11am that convenient valet parking was used to make a quick stop at the friendly Linq location, smiles on servers’ faces ever-present with more than a dozen flavors of cake and ice cream from which to choose.

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Missing its chance to trademark “The Happiest Place on Earth,” a sentiment seemingly shared by girls behind the counter and two youngsters with whom I waited in a line of just one before us, it was after a short bit of deliberation that a sizable order was crafted, the boxed and bagged sweets taken home for later indulgence while a delicious Apple Pie Sundae was upgraded to a cupcake sandwiched special, the first bites a tad too sweet with frosting while further mixing uncovered a beautiful sort of balance, the spicecake and graham cracker crumbles melding nicely with whipped cream and butterscotch amidst some of the creamiest fruit-focused ice cream around.

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Waiting until around 3pm for the rest, four cupcakes along with a brownie and six pints of ice cream given to me as a gift obviously far too much for one man to enjoy, it was with alternating bites that various items were sampled and with the oddly artificial tasting banana ice cream lone exception to items crafted from superior ingredients the results of everything else were decidedly quite excellent, the bruleed marshmallow fluff of a S’mores cupcake mellowing the bittersweet chocolate center atop a crunchy graham cracker base while Black & White riffed successfully on the deli cookie classic, the best bites of ice cream a tough decision between milk chocolate punched up with malt balls and aforementioned apple pie.


FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Rare to support an outsider over locals, and equally skeptical of high prices based on branding and swanky design, it remains difficult to find fault in a company that has continued to improve its standards despite mass expansion, a rare case where a once trendy choice has aged well with the times.

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RECOMMENDED: Apple Pie Ice Cream, Malted Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, S’mores Cupcake, Black & White Cupcake.


AVOID: Banana Ice Cream tasted “enchanced” and almost artificial, likely the result of too much added sweetness to that already present in overripe fruit.


TIP: Selections vary by day, week, and month with a somewhat cumbersome menu listed both onsite and online, those interested in specifics are encouraged to investigate in advance.


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

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

Posted in Coffee, cupcakes, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Sprinkles

Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro [2,] Las Vegas NV


Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro

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Burundi-Nyangwe Coffee

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Bloody Mary

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MIXED “RED SALAD” & NECTARINES – Assorted Red Baby Lettuces, Nectarines, Radicchio, Red Belgian Endive, Walnut Oil Vinaigrette, Toasted Hazelnuts, Laura Chanel Goat Cheese

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BACON & ROASTED TOMATO RISOTTO – Applewood Bacon, Onion, Organic Tomatoes, Fava Beans, Parmesan Cheese

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DUNGENESS CRAB OSCAR BENEDICT – Asparagus, Dungeness Crab, Poached Eggs, Citrus Hollandaise

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PRIME FLAT IRON STEAK – Roasted Onions, Maître d’ Butter, Handcut French Fries


CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA – Pan Sauteed Chicken Breast, Prosciutto, Comté Cheese, Sauce Mornay

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CHEFS CANDIED CALIFORNIA GROWN WALNUTS + CHEESE PLATE – California Coastal Honeycomb, Baguette, Date and Walnut Paste, Henri Hutin Brie Couronne, Saint Andre, Chaumes, Gorgonzola Dolce DOP, Huntsman Gloucester, Old Quebec 7 Year Aged Cheddar, Humboldt Fog, Redwood Cheddar Goat, Mitibleu, Grand Ewe 12 Month Aged

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BANANA & MARSCAPONE STUFFED FRENCH TOAST – Saigon Cinnamon, 100% Pure Maple Syrup

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ORGANIC BLUEBERRY PANCAKES – Flavored with Lemon & Orange Zest, 4 Cakes, Maple Syrup





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STRAWBERRY CROSTATA – Almond Cream, Sugar & Balsamic Marinated Strawberries, Smoked Ricotta Ice Cream


Located off the lobby of The Palazzo and, as such, easily missed by those visiting the property who are not checking in, Morels could easily be seen as the “third option” steakhouse in a resort complex housing Carnevino as well as Delmonico, but a close look shows several differences, a leisurely breakfast or brunch on the outdoor patio providing a great opportunity to take them all in, particularly the city’s greatest cheese selection.

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Part of a small group, another location found at The Grove in Beverly Hills, Morels spins French on the traditional “big meat” concept and going so far as to produce their own wines a glimpse at the interior speaks to the grand brasseries of Central Europe with large nudes hung on walls and an airy, spacious layout while an oyster bar sits up front to tempt those without time or interest for a table within.

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Sitting with two friends and a trio of children at a spacious table of three two-tops fit together overlooking the sunny 9:00am Strip below, it was admittedly as guests of the house that a sizable meal was taken, the feast essentially comprised of four courses with children’s orders thankfully taken first as two-hours of restaurant rumors and banter proved a challenge for all but the 2-year old, the staff doing an admirable job of expediting plates…and an even better one of trying to clear space for what was decidedly too much food.


Perhaps not going to the lengths of Batali or Lagasse in terms of meat sourcing or buying produce from the very best purveyors around, suffice it to say that those interested in coffee are well advised to elect service from French Presses featuring roasts from Equator, for although priced at $5-7 per person depending on the bean the quality offered from Thomas Keller’s preferred brand are easily the best in Sheldon Adelson’s complex, particularly with free refills arriving promptly as cup-after-cup was downed.


Offering Mimosas and Bloody Marys mixed tableside it is with pillowy beignets that each brunch at Morels begins, and although granulated sugar would better be replaced with the powdered stuff of New Orleans the oilless donuts proved quite light, as did the leafy greens dressed in fruit and balsamic with a great kick added by Laura Chanel’s ever creamy chevre.


Attempting to sample a good variety of items, rather than just focus on obvious ‘breakfast hits,’ it was with four savories ranging from sandwiches to benedicts that meal marched on and although the picked crab crowned with a perfectly poached egg was unfortunately overwhelmed by a touch too much lemon while a steak requested ‘medium’ was tender and tasty despite being served nearly blue atop a bed of sauteed onions, both the chicken sandwich and risotto were exceedingly well executed – the former particularly intricate with the nuttiness of Comte playing nicely off peppery arugula bathed in buttery Mornay.


Assuredly taking the opportunity to explore a recently updated carte du fromage, something Morels would be well advised to emphasize both at the tableside and in advertisements around the resort, it was with a great deal of effort that selections were limited to a mere ten options and weaving a wide swath of beasts, countries, and textures one would be hard pressed to make a single bad choice – the aged Canadian Cheddar particularly on-point while both the creamy Brie and Stilton-Sandwich Huntsman were equally well selected, palates rejuvenated between bites by candied walnuts and date paste made in house.


Never one to skimp on sweets, though admittedly a bit disappointed that nearly half the desserts are unavailable at brunch (as is the cheese fondue,) it was still in pancakes, French toast, and a lovely rustic tart that the afternoon concluded, the Pacojet crafted quartet of ice creams exceedingly rich and creamy with the marshmallow studded lightness of lemon meringue the best amongst the crowd.


THREE AND A HALF STARS: Neither trying nor succeeding in any way to steal the thunder of other Steakhouses within the Venetian/Palazzo complex, Morels is better appraised as an upper/mid-range option to be celebrated for its differences, the early opening hours offering a significant upgrade on Grand Lux in terms of service or setting while the fromage, coffee, and ice cream are Strip-side second to none.

RECOMMENDED: As many cheese selections as one can stomach, Chicken Saltimboca Sandwich, Lemon Meringue Ice Cream, Strawberry Crostada, French Press Coffee.

AVOID: Dungeness Crab Oscar Benedict.

TIP: Open at 7am M-F for breakfast and 8am for weekend brunch, cheese menu and coffee beans vary seasonally.

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

Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Crab, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Morels, Morels French Steakhouse, Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro, Nevada, Pork