HeXx Kitchen + Bar
Purple Haze – Absolut Acai Berri, Kinky Blue, Stoli Razberi, Blueberry Schnapps, Berry Puree
Virgin Strawberry Mojito – Mint, Fresh Lime, Soda Water
2014 Niner Estates Reserve Pinot Noir
Candied Bacon – Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Maple Aioli
Pork Rinds – Basil, Mint, Red Fresno Chiles, Lime Vinaigrette
Roasted Beets – Pistachio Yogurt, Feta Cheese, Candied Quinoa
Buffalo Calamari – Calamari, Celery, Carrots, Buffalo Sauce, Ranch Dressing
Oven Fired Vegetable Pizza – Peppers, Broccolini, Brussels Sprouts, Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella, Olive Oil
Oven Fired Benton’s Ham Pizza – Boursin Cheese, Arugula, Over Easy Egg, Olive Oil
Gemelli – Beef and Pork Bolognese, Burrata Cheese, Basil
Gnocchi – Lobster, Smoked Pork Belly, Peas, Pea Shoots, Herbs, Butter
Black Quinoa Risotto – Squid, Ink, Roasted Mushrooms, Fresh Peas
Spicy Jambalaya – Gulf Shrimp, Chicken Confit, Andouille Sausage, Dirty Rice
Chicken & Waffles – Apple-Cheddar Waffle, Housemade Sweet-Spicy Pickles, Bourbon Maple Syrup
Scallops – Heirloom Carrots, Spinach, Smokey Onion Puree, Crispy Benton’s Ham
Roasted Wild Mushrooms – Portabella, Maitake, Shimeji
Carrot Cake – Walnut Carrot Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting, Pecans, Cream Cheese Ice Cream, Pineapple Jam
Chocolate Peanut Butter & Jelly Jar – Peanut Butter Cream, Pinot Noir Grape Jelly, Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse, Toast Crumble
Panna Cotta – Bourbon Caramel, Candied Pecans, Blackberries
Dominican Dark Chocolate S’mores – Graham Cracker, Dominican Dark Chocolate Mousse, Toasted Soft Marshmallow
HeXx Venezuelan Chocolate
Ever since switching over from Sugar Factory in early 2015 the team at HeXx Kitchen + Bar has been steadily improving its product, the misguided decision to remove Carrot Cake Pancakes from the Brunch menu seemingly the only bad choice made at a restaurant with an enviable view of the Bellagio Fountains, though up until recently the Dinner menu had never really offered an impetus to visit later than 2pm – a situation that the hiring of Due Forni’s Carlos Buscaglia has already seen change in just one month.
Notably one of the few restaurants in the Harrah’s empire that is independently owned, external funding both a gift and a curse for the 24/7 restaurant that tries to differentiate itself from other ‘everything to everyone’ spots while still acknowledging itself as an American eatery with gigantic Cocktails, Burgers, Pizza and the obligatory Salmon entrée, HeXx at night is a far different scene from the daytime venue that is often mobbed with everything from families to bachelorette parties, the menu ranging from Snacks and Appetizers to Soups, Salads, Pastas and Steaks while the hidden gem of a Chocolate program fuels a dessert menu that has recently been trimmed in lengthy, though three new items were added while others were improved upon.
Seated indoors while the sun set over The Strip, lights coming on at the fountains where big booms every half-hour coincided with a crew currently putting together a new show for the summer, it was with brief greetings from Carlos and service from a gregarious fellow named Kevin that several selections were made from a menu that has undergone an approximate 25% face-lift, one of HeXx’s thirty-eight dollar ‘Potions’ kicking things off with the Hendrix-themed drink bubbly and Fruit forward featuring four types of Booze plus fresh Berries while the Virgin-Strawberry Mojito was brisk and refreshing, though those leery of Mint may wish to avoid it.
Allowing the kitchen to send out items as they liked, the meal eventually divided into five courses inclusive of dessert, dinner began with four plates from the Snacks and Appetizers sections, the Candied Bacon quite different from the version previously offered at Breakfast in terms of its thickness and the light flavors of Cinnamon and Nutmeg while the Roasted Beet Salad could compete with most in town thanks to the Pistachio Yogurt and sweet Quinoa Crackers, a bit of spice brought to the table by way of Chicharrones served with Pickled Chiles and a squeezer of Lime Vinaigrette plus Rings and Tentacles of Squid fried crispy in batter tinged with Tobasco plus chopped Vegetables and a light drizzle of Ranch Dressing.
No longer blessed by the dual ovens of Due Forni, but gaining a whole lot of kitchen in the process, course two saw Chef Buscaglia send out two Pizzas that unfortunately could not match his former spot in terms of Crust quality but made up for it by way of toppings including an Egg plus Boursin Cheese paired to Benton’s Ham in one case and a great mélange of Vegetables accented by Curry in the other, Carlos showing his pasta skills next by way of springy curls of Gemelli topped in melted Burrata and a meaty Ragu while the housemade Gnocchi served as a tender backdrop to a split Lobster Tail given the Carbonara treatment with Peas and Pork Belly.
Warning us that the Jambalaya was not his favorite dish, but happy to send out the boldly seasoned Rice with juicy Chicken, Spicy Sausage and Shrimp alongside the revamped Fried Chicken and housemade Pickles atop a puffy Waffle imbued with Cheese and sliced Apples, it was surprisingly Chef Buscaglia’s seared Scallops atop pureed Onions and briny Ham that proved to be the entrée of the night, though not to be outdone was a mix of simple mixed Mushrooms of various sizes and textures, the base to a newly featured Salmon dish also served as a side for the sake of tasting with slow-cooked Quinoa imbued with Squid, its Ink and Mushrooms showing a whole lot of commitment to craft and attention to detail.
Long a fan of Chef Carol Garcia’s desserts, only the retired Bread Pudding ever disappointing in the slightest, it was joking with Carlos that Due’s Bread Pudding should be brought over to HeXx featuring their Chocolate that three new desserts plus one re-vamp were presented, the warm Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting as well as Ice Cream now challenging CRAFTkitchen for Sin City’s best while a trio of new creations all vied for attention, the boozed up Panna Cotta a light dish perfect after a big meal while the Dominican Dark Chocolate S’mores features HeXx’s newest Bean-to-Bar origin beneath bruleed Fluff and Graham Crackers, the Chocolate Peanut Butter & Jelly Jar putting Tanzanian Mousse amidst Peanut Butter Cream, Pinot Noir Jam, halved-Peanuts and the flavor of toasted Bread for familiar taste reimagined that is perfect for sharing.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Not quite as dialed-in as Brunch, but still outperforming any other 24/7 spot on the Strip in terms of Food quality and guest experience it likely will not be long before Chefs Piekarski, Silverman, Buscaglia and Garcia have HeXx humming all day and night, the recent changes improving on an already great concept that continues to improve with each visit.
RECOMMENDED: Pork Rinds, Buffalo Calamari, Gnocchi, Black Quinoa Risotta (in our case a side, but usually served as the set-up for Salmon,) Gnocchi, Scallops, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter & Jelly Jar.
AVOID: Those expecting Carlos to be able to replicate his pies at Due Forni will be a bit disappointed in the Crust.
TIP: Having heard from many that the “4.7% Concession Fee” is a point of contention, a direct question to someone at HeXx indicates that this charge is stated as being related to the “High cost of doing business on the Strip without being affiliated with Harrah’s. If a guest even mentions it, it will be removed from the bill without question.”
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.