Life is Beautiful – Nolet’s Silver Gin, Lychee Purée, Champagne, Chambord, Fresh Lemon served in a champagne flute with a lemon peel
Mai Tai, Life is Beautiful, Cosmopolitan
Trio of Duck Fat Fries – garlic-herb oil, sriracha ketchup, truffle aioli
Salt Roasted Beets – burrata, crispy guanciale, balsamic reduction
Lobster Bisque – lobster truffle, bristol cream
Roasted Marrow Bones – country bread, gremolata, black truffle, caramelized onions
Instant Bacon – five spice pork belly, tempura oyster, white miso, jicama slaw
Maine Lobster Fritters – bacon, shiso leaf, meyer lemon crème fraiche
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras – strawberry gel, green almonds, pickled white asparagus, cocoa-foie macaron
Wild Pacific Halibut – asparagus “fettuccine”, sunchoke purée, coconut-red curry
Bacon Wrapped Strauss Veal – sweet & hot sweetbreads, globe artichokes, shaved fennel
Mary’s Free Range Roasted Chicken – fingerling potatoes, garlic confit, chicken jus
American Wagyu vs. Australian Wagyu – trumpet royale mushroom, sugar snap peas, spring garlic purée
Baked Potato – aged cheddar, bacon marmalade
Mac & Cheese – black truffle
Spinach Souffle – parmesan cream
Warm Chocolate Cake – lavender ganache, chocolate gelée, cocoa puffs, habanero-kaffir lime sorbet
Meyer Lemon Cheesecake – crème chantilly, poppy seed shortbread, mint essence
S’mores Bar – smokey marshmallow, valrhona milk chocolate, graham cracker ice cream
Beignets – macallan 18 year butterscotch pudding, vanilla crème brûlée, chocolate pot de crème
Having been fortunate enough to travel far and wide to sample some of the best dining our country has to offer it was after great deliberation that I decided to schedule a joint birthday celebration for my mother and aunt at Michael Mina’s STRIPSTEAK; a friendly relationship with one of the restaurateur’s managers allowing me to arrange a special five course tasting menu nearly a week in advance that should have been perfect but in execution was anything but. Surely one of the more trendy Mina properties, lodged in Mandalay Bay with high ceilings, slick design, and plenty of polish to compliment the thumping music it was just moments before our 7:00pm reservation that we presented to the hostess stand and quickly whisked to a table along the back wall it was with ample pleasantries that we were greeted, a trio of $15 cocktails to compliment the duck fat fries soon in hand but something immediately awry as the area’s temperature trumped eighty degrees – a trend to continue for the next two hours despite repeated complaints and the apparent efforts of restaurant manager Ashley to contact maintenance as beads of sweat rolled down our brows. Suffering largely in silence so as not to disrupt the celebration but clearly uncomfortable it would not be long after seating that our five-course menu would commence and wanting for a truly grand experience each round of food arrived as a trio, items including the “Instant Bacon,” Bone Marrow, Spinach Souffle, and Wagyu vs. Wagyu truly exemplary while the foie gras, chicken, and halibut were inexplicably overcooked to the point where the first two were nearly inedible while the later – a gift from the kitchen – was saved only by its aromatic sauce. Eventually moved to a table in the front dining room for a breath of fresh air mid-way into a main course where veal was presented instead of the pork that I’d ordered it was at last in the finale that STRIPSTEAK would prove most impressive with a trio of world class desserts followed by the restaurant’s signature beignets but with both managers avoiding our table as the $500 tab for Chef Gerald Chin’s uneven cooking arrived I could only shake my head wondering when Chef Mina last stopped by Mandalay Bay, a stunning departure from memorable experiences at Bourbon Steak, Wit and Wisdom, American Fish, or Arcadia.
TWO STARS: Having been quite happy with nearly every Michael Mina restaurant I’d visited to date and always treated as a VIP by the I remain astounded as to how disappointing the experience of STRIPSTEAK truly was, a rickety rollercoaster of a meal from the kitchen and front of the house without a single attempt made at service recovery until midway through the fourth course – a too little, too late relocation unlikely to see me return to any of Chef Mina’s properties anytime soon.
RECOMMENDED: Fattier cuts of meat, Spinach Souffle, and Dessert.
AVOID: Chicken, lean meats, or other items benefitted by a subtle hand and gentle cooking techniques such as the foie gras.
TIP: Avoid the back room and request seating up front where cool air from Mandalay Bay is uninhibited in its entry; if forced to accept back area seating at least request a location distant from the wall where speaker volumes are exaggerated in addition to the temperature.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor