Michael Mina Restaurant
Falafel – Red Onion, Tahini, Za’atar Spice
Laffa Bread – Kalamata Olive Tapenade, Housemade Hummus, Red Onion Labneh
Hokkaido Sea Urchin – Black Olive, Lychee, Rose Water, Brioche
Sumac-Cured Steelhead Trout – Omani Lime Labneh, Kataifi, Red Onion
Marinated Bay Scallops – Satsuma Orange, Black Truffle Vinaigrette, Buttermilk
Chilled Foie Gras – Pepita Mole, Petit Concha, Amaranth, Instant Coffee
Heirloom Squash ‘Pop-Tart’ – Red Kuri, Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup, Whipped Mascarpone
Hand-Cut Tajarin – Uni Butter, Meyer Lemon, Crispy Garlic
Aroborio Rice Risotto – Mascarpone, Alba White Truffles
Turbot Veronique – Huckleberries, Masago, Beurre Rouge
Roasted Diver Scallops & Foie Gras – Creamed Salsify, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Tokyo Turnips
Spiced Panna Cotta – Ginger Bread, Pomegranate Ice, Fig Preserve
Valrhona Chocolate Cake – Milk Chocolate Mousse, Guanaja Chocolate Custard, Beet-Raspberry Sorbet
Root Beer Float – Pecan-Chocolate Chip Cookie, Caramelized Rice Krispies, Root Beer Sorbet, Vanilla Ice Cream, Meringue
Opened with the Bellagio as Aqua, but since reborn twice as MICHAEL MINA Restaurant, it was behind the recently updated Conservatory & Botanical Gardens that eight guests sat down for Dinner on Saturday, service overseen by Jorge Pagani once again faultless as the kitchen led by Chef Dugan showed off its newest seasonal creations.
Always a special place, and on this particular evening booked to capacity during one of The Strip’s busiest weekends, it was at the dining room’s center that friends new and old were situated just prior to 6:30pm, Carte Blanche once again deferred to the kitchen with one diner fluidly accommodated for religious dietary restrictions.
Requesting no Michael Mina classics on this particular evening, and thus started off with a Falafel Canape brightened by Za’atar, it was after explanation of the night’s first Wine Pairing that house Laffa Bread was offered alongside three Crudo, the Japanese Uni brilliantly balancing Salt and Citrus with light florals while tangy Sumac acted as a foil to Red Onion served atop line-caught Trout.
Texturing the Urchin with Breadcrumbs and Fish with Phyllo, while allowing tender Scallops to stand on their own against Orange segments plus Buttermilk, course two attested to the global influences that have emerged ever since Chef Dugan took over, a traditional Duck Liver Torchon perfectly smooth at the center of Grains and Seeds with Coffee dust and spicy Mole playing remarkably well off one another.
Cleverly using Pastry Chef Chang’s Concha as Bread service for the Foie, a coat of crackling Sugar refreshing the palate between bites, it was by way of Maple Syrup that the kitchen brightened Pastry filled and surrounded by roasted Squash, a dollop of Mascarpone smoothing things out and crumbled Bacon easily left off for those dining with restrictions.
Frequently offering a Pasta course, Autumn replacing Gnudi with hand-cut Spaghetti swimming in Ocean-kissed Butter beneath tongues of Uni, it was as guests swooned that Nick raised the bar further with a generous plate of Rice liberally topped with shaved White Truffles from Alba.
A former Michelin star recipient in the red book’s Las Vegas days, accolades that would have assuredly continued or received an upgrade if the guide had stuck around, the penultimate savory consisted of individually portioned Turbot with Huckleberries and Fish Roe, yet good as it was the flavors were merely a fleeting memory once seared Liver and Scallops arrived on the same plate, deftly tied together by earthy Mushrooms, Turnips and Salsify.
Lighter than recent meals at MICHAEL MINA Restaurant, a blessing for those who’ve previously waived the white flag prior to Dessert, it was beginning with individual Panna Cotta that Pastry Chef Vivian Chang’s talents took center stage, her Valrhona Chocolate Cake next riffing Red Velvet by separating Chocolate and Beets without a lot of Sugar while the reinvention of Chef Mina’s Root Beer Float is as delightful to eat as it is to look at, though for an eight-top one Cookie was certainly not enough.
FIVE STARS: Following its 2018 reinvention MICHAEL MINA Restaurant took a big step forward, and with Chefs Nick Dugan and Vivian Chang now overseeing the Kitchen and Pastry program, respectively, the Restaurant continues to get better and better with each seasonal update.
RECOMMENDED: Marinated Bay Scallops, Chilled Foie Gras, Heirloom Squash ‘Pop-Tart’, Hand-Cut Tajarin, Roasted Diver Scallops & Foie Gras, Root Beer Float.
TIP: The Market List Menu is prone to daily change, and for those on a budget (or tight schedule) the recently-added lounge menu looks to offer guests a more casual way to experience some of Chef Dugan’s Food.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.