The Test Kitchen by Established Culinary Management
Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita
Fried Cauliflower – Charred Tomatillo Chimmichuri, Lemon Aioli
Roasted Brussels Sprouts – Bacon, Garlic
Octopus – Arugula, Roasted Potatoes, Chorizo, Garlic Chili Aioli
Short Rib Tacos – Corn Tortillas, Poblano Cauliflower Puree, Salsa Arbol
Seared Foie Gras – Butternut Squash, Pear Merlot Reduction
Salmon Bruschetta – Smoked Salmon, Roasted Tomatoes, Golden Berries, Dill Cream Cheese, Micro Greens
Skirt Steak – Achiote Sauce, Hollandaise, Poblano Potato Hash Brown, Roasted Vegetables
Crab Cake – Pan Butter Sauce, Lime Celery Leaf Salad
Double Espresso with Ice
Bread Pudding – Butterscotch, White Chocolate Cap’n Crunch
Apple Cobbler – Brown Sugar Streusel, Housemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Anyone who cares about dining out in Las Vegas has undoubtedly come across a project that Antonio Nunez has been part of, and although The Stove remains a daily destination for brunch it is under “The Test Kitchen” moniker that he and Scott Commings have recently begun serving dinner from 5:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Described as “The brainchild behind culinary masterminds celebrity chef Scott Commings and locally celebrated chef Antonio Nunez, the Test Kitchen is a concept that brings small bites, boutique wines and an intimate dining vibe to the suburbs of Henderson” by Public Relations, which ineloquently seems to suggest the Restaurant is just another “small plates” concept, it is at 11261 South Eastern Avenue that guests will find the second story space with lights turned down and 90’s R&B playing.
Using the name Established Culinary Management for their consultation company, with projects already open or underway in Los Angeles as well as San Diego, it was shortly after checking in with the hostess that a party of two was led to window-side seats, Las Vegas’ twinkling lights in the distance and a menu updated weekly ready for perusal.
Truly a “test kitchen” for Chefs Nunez and Commings, the opportunity to feature seasonal Produce and unfamiliar Wines already embraced across two pages, it is from a total of twenty six savories that diners are invited to build their experience, a large volume of Vegetable-focused fare constituting starters, though carnivores are certainly not forgotten.
Beginning with beverages, the lady’s predilection for spice leading straight to a Strawberry Margarita with plenty of Jalapeno, it was in compliment to this that Fried Cauliflower found vibrancy through Citrus and Herbs, while simply roasted Brussels Sprouts held up their end of the bargain with Garlic and Bacon.
Never afraid to utilize bold flavors, and equally prone to Latin-American influence, course two consisted of charred Octopus treated as an addition to Papas con Chorizo, the Aioli providing smoothness just as Poblano Cauliflower Puree did to a pair of overloaded Short Rib Tacos with smoky Salsa that most certainly justify their $10 price.
Refreshing palates with a Cucumber Saketini, the plates to follow taking a more subtle approach, fans of The Stove’s fried Foie will be happy to see a beautifully seared slice that currently comes with Butternut Squash and Pears in two forms, while Smoked Salmon atop Toast gets invited to dinner with Dill Cream Cheese and bright Heirloom Tomatoes.
Served a little “Surf n’ Turf” to cap the savories, Test Kitchen’s filler-free Crab Cake unfortunately a touch overwhelmed by Celery, those seeking items that “are not small bites” need look no further than tender Skirt Steak served over crispy Potatoes, the dueling Sauces combining to form a flavor not dissimilar to Spanish Patatas Bravas.
Warned “I’m no Pastry Chef” by the man responsible for Las Vegas’ best Pancakes, it was alongside an iced Double Espresso that Dessert began with custard-Soaked Bread in a pool of Butterscotch, caramelized Cereal adding a bit of texture while the Apple Cobbler to follow was simple, piping hot and exactly as it should be beneath a scoop of slowly melting Ice Cream.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Recently launched as a playground for new ideas from Chefs Antonio Nunez and Scott Commings, The Test Kitchen by E.C.M. offers a unique look at the duo’s culinary talents with big flavors and a great view of Las Vegas twinkling in the distance.
RECOMMENDED: Cucumber Saketini, Fried Cauliflower, Octopus, Short Rib Tacos, Seared Foie Gras, Skirt Steak, Bread Pudding.
AVOID: The otherwise excellent Crab Cake is too delicate for such a potent garnish.
TIP: Happy hour is offered from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. with special bargains on Wines by the glass, Beer and select plates.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.