Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar
Cucumber Smash – Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain, Lime, Muddled Cucumber
Coconut Cloud – Ron Matusalem Platino, Stoli Vanil, Cruzan Coconut, Cream of Coconut, Toasted Coconut
Coco Coffee “Martini” – Iced Coffee, Cream, Orgeat, Cream of Coconut
Warm Rolls with Honey Butter
World Famous Coconut Shrimp – Papaya-Mango Chutney
Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs – Sweet & Spicy Blackberry Brandy BBQ, Island Slaw, Cauliflower-Potato Mash
Zuppa de Mare – Salmon, Cod, Mahi Mahi, Shrimp, Crushed Red Pepper, White Wine, Seafood Broth, Garlic Pesto Crostini
Citrus Marinated Jumbo Prawns – Lobster Cream Cous Cous, King Oyster Mushrooms, Roasted Cauliflower, Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Paprika Oil, Green Olive Vinaigrette
Filet Mignon Flatbread – Bacon, Garlic Aioli, Honey Roasted Onions, Gruyere, Crispy Shiitakes, Arugula
Double Espresso – Ice
Pina Colada Cake – Vanilla Cake, Myers Dark Rum, Diced Pineapple, White Chocolate Mousse, Toasted Coconut
Pineapple Crème Brulee – Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Caramelized Pineapple
Peanut Butter Pie – Pretzel Crust, Chocolate Ganache, Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt
It seems hard to believe that any of the four founders of Tommy Bahama could have realized just how big their brand would grow back in 1993, but having since merged with a larger company the store has nevertheless grown into a worldwide enterprise focused on “island-style living,” over 150 stores and counting with several harboring their own Restaurant and the company even manufacturing their own label of Rum.
Known for their love of khaki and Hawaiian button-ups with leisurewear bleeding over to a whole line of home décor, nothing in particular suggesting the desert but still sold in five retail outlets plus department stores throughout Sin City, it was during a recent trip to Town Square that the decision was made to investigate Lunch on the patio adjacent a recently erected Christmas Tree, the breezy environment befitting the concept without feeling overly “themed.”
Toqued by Chef Ruben Vasquez Cruz and second-in-command Armando Vargas, the much-talked about Happy Hour, fresh Fish “flown in daily” and a substantial Cocktail list forming the backbone of a menu expectedly intended to please a broad audience, it was mere moments after checking in at the hostess stand that a four-top under umbrellas was offered on the restaurant’s patio, a list of daily Chef’s specials offered in addition to the typical bill of fare with most of the choices centered around Fresh Seafood.
Apologetic up front when stating that both service and the kitchen were understaffed on this particular afternoon, a rush of traffic completely filling outdoor seating with several additional groups and families sat in the spacious dining room or around a bar area displaying NCAA Football, it was still with relative efficiency that a middle-aged man from Florida took orders for drinks while additionally keeping up with refills of Water, first taste offered in the form of a foamy Pina Colada entitled “Coconut Cloud” alongside the refreshing Cucumber Smash and a “No Proof” Martini that tasted like Cuban Café con Leche with a gentle Citrus note.
Ready to place an order fairly quickly, the aforementioned staffing situation delaying the arrival of a warm basket of Rolls with Honey Butter until later, it was as the group watched several folks posing around the tree that six jumbo shrimp dipped in shredded Coconut Batter arrived alongside a Half-Rack of Ribs for the youngster, the “World Famous” item par for the course atop a dollop of tropical Chutney while the slab of Pork was tender and moist beneath sweet glaze, the sugar outweighing any suggestion of “spice” a theme that would be repeated throughout the meal.
Offering several menu items including daily specials in two sizes, the smaller suggested as an “appetizer” but equally appropriate as an entree for those with modest appetites, it was alongside a sharable bowl of Fish Soup that had unfortunately boiled too long that a $15 Flatbread arrived, the unannounced pile of Arugula seemingly unnecessary at first but presumably added to balance the Honey-soaked Onions that would have otherwise overwhelmed everything including the texturally pleasing Mushrooms and medium rare Beef.
Rounding out entrees with a three-piece order of Jumbo Prawns, their snappy flesh and a bit of smoke from the grill a vast improvement from the rubbery Scallop or Shrimp from the Soup, Chefs Cruz and Vargas showed a deft hand when preparing Pearl Cous Cous with fresh Vegetables and light Cream plus tender Mushrooms, the quality of each ingredient as well as the preparation as a whole on par with what one might find further up the Strip for at least $10 more.
Told to “save room for Dessert,” a mock-display near the front door brought tableside to assure a sale that was already guaranteed, it was alongside a Double Espresso poured over Ice that three of the Tommy Bahama’s signatures were selected, the Peanut Butter Pie eaily the richest with a thick and creamy base balanced by finishing salt as well as the pulverized Pretzel Crust while two tropical choices proved even better, the Pina Colada Cake fragrant and moist without being too dense while the Crème Brulee made from caramelized Pulp and Vanilla Custard re-inserted into the hollowed Rind may just be the best version served in Las Vegas.
THREE AND A HALF STARS: Dollar for dollar and plate for plate Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar occupies a position somewhere between the likes of Cheesecake Factory or Elephant Bar and places like Joe’s Stone Crab or Aquanox on The Strip, certainly not “destination” dining but at the same time far better than it needs to be for an upscale dining option in an shopping mall.
RECOMMEDNED: Coconut Cloud, Grilled Baby Back Ribs, Citrus Marinated Jumbo Prawns, Pina Colad Cake, Pineapple Crème Brulee.
AVOID: Zuppa de Mare.
TIP: Yes, there is also a retail store for those who are interested.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.