Michael Mina Restaurant
2017 Chartogne Taillet Michael Mina Cuvee Champagne
Laffa Bread – Kalamata Olive Tapenade, Housemade Hummus, Red Onion Labneh
English Pea and Mint Pavlova – Alaskan King Crab, Olive Oil, Turnip
Michael Mina’s Caviar Parfait – Siberian Osetra Caviar, Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraiche, Shallot Potato Cake, Chive Oil, Egg Mimosa, Onion Syrup
Crudo Sampler – Gulf Red Snapper, Carrot, Jalapeno, Cilantro / Tasmanian Ocean Trout, Kiwi Salsa Verde / Yellowfin Tuna, Poppyseed, Fried Capers, Parsley / Sea Urchin a la Grecque, Lemon, Olive Oil, Coriander / Hamachi, Ginger, Lime, Jalapeno, Dill, Holy Basil, Snap Pea
Grilled Shellfish Platter – Maine Lobster, Red King Crab, Gulf Prawns, Shigoku Oysters, Diver Scallops, Red Miso Butter
Asparagus Tempura – Lemon-Royal Osetra Caviar Cream, Grilled White Asparagus, Delta Green Asparagus, Chive Blossoms
2014 Château Roûmieu-Lacoste Sauternes
Whole Roasted Hudson Valley Foie Gras – Carved tableside with Brioche, Kataifi, Glazed Mangoes, Pistachio, Hibiscus
Ginger & Scallion Broiled Whole Kona Kampachi – Bok Choy, Fried Rice, Trumpet Mushrooms, Fermented Black Beans, Radishes, Jalapenos
2015 Weinlaubenhof Alois Kracher Cuvee Beerenauslese
Strawberry Granita – Buttermilk-Rose Water Panna Cotta, Sicilian Pistachio Streusel, Harry’s Strawberries, Basil
Milk Chocolate Souffle – Vanilla Crème Anglaise, Cappuccino Ice Cream
Mignardises – Dark Chocolate, Raspberry-Cassis / White Chocolate Key Lime
Back from a brief hiatus it was on Saturday night that four friends sat down to dinner at a refreshed Michael Mina Restaurant, the kitchen toqued by Chef Nick Sharpe opened up to a brighter dining room where guests are invited to experience a menu that additionally comes across lighter with the focus more than ever shifted to Seafood.
Still located just off the Bellagio Conservatory Gardens, the current Springtime theme as free and elegant as ever, it is immediately upon entry that guests will find themselves greeted at a podium by familiar faces, several longtime servers and managers overlooking both a fully refurbished Bar and Lounge as well as the main seating area.
Adding a private dining room where Dale Chihuly’s gallery once stood, a space suitable for twenty complete with customizable music and lighting, it was after a brief tour including an area with fresh Seafood on Ice that guests sat in the center of a room full of crisp linen and chandeliers, light music overhead appropriate to the environment and virtually unnoticed aside from its ability to hush the din of other diners.
Offering a bevy of seasonal Appetizers, Entrees and Desserts in addition to two tasting menus, pre-theater Prix-Fixe and an all-new “Market List,” it was with deference to Chef Sharpe and a visiting Gary LaMorte that a Champagne toast kicked off what would turn out to be nearly four hours of great Food and conversation, the bubbles quickly followed by an all-new Bread service replacing Rolls with warm Laffa and Butter with a trio of Kalamata Olive Tapenade, Housemade Hummus and Red Onion Labneh that are replenished as necessary throughout the evening.
Maintaining only a few of Chef Mina’s Signatures, the shift to several tableside presentations and large-format whole Fish preparations necessitating the change, it was starting out light that a crisp Meringue was shattered with a spoon spilling contents of King Crab amidst fresh-shucked Peas and Mint, the tiniest of Turnips offsetting sweetness and offering a pleasant lead-in to Mina’s iconic Caviar Parfait that has recently been freshened up through the addition of fragrant Onion Syrup.
Coursed out slowly but never noticeably lagging, the slowest diner’s pace dictating the flow, it was with one member of the group enjoying Wine pairings that course three saw five raw bites served on a wave of glass, the Ocean Trout with citrusy Salsa particularly noteworthy though so-too was a snappy slice of Amberjack dressed to impress with Ginger, Snap Peas and Holy Basil.
Expectedly offering a variety of Shellfish, the Charcoal grilled Platter standing out thanks to both the quality of its constituents and the added umami of Red Miso Butter that contributed particularly well to Scallops, it was in another Japanese inspiration that course five built around Tempura battered Asparagus with additional grilled segments and luxurious Caviar Cream added tableside.
Updated but never forgetting a classic, both the legendary Whole Foie Gras and Michael’s Rootbeer Float available to those giving the Restaurant at least 24-hours notice, it was with a glass off 2014 Sauternes poured that longtime General Manager Jorge Pagani carved the Liver before placing segments atop Mango Chutney, Greek Pastry and Pistachios, each bite pure decadence and probably best shared by tables of six while the same is also safe to say regarding the Ginger-perfumed Kona Kampachi flown in daily from Hawaii and dressed with fermented Black Beans alongside Rice and Mushrooms.
Turning Pastries over to the skilled Monica Delgadillo, a half-pour of late-harvest Austrian Wine just sweet enough to pair, it was as the group awaited a faultless Milk Chocolate Soufflé piped with Creme Anglaise and large enough to share that attentions focused on a bowl titled “Strawberry Granita,” the designation doing what lies beneath hardly enough justice as the Panna Cotta eats more like Greek Yogurt given vibrancy by fresh Strawberries and what can best be described as crumbled Financiers.
FIVE STARS: Rounding out the evening with two types of Chocolate as the crowd finally began to thin, not one unsatisfied face in a room that at times appeared completely full, it can only be said that Michael Mina and his team have continued to raise the bar even as his empire grows, this recent meal easily the best yet and arguably placing Michael Mina Restaurant amongst the five best fine dining destinations in Sin City.
RECOMMENDED: Whole Foie Gras, English Pea and Mint Pavlova, Michael Mina’s Caviar Parfait, Ginger & Scallion Broiled Whole Kona Kampachi, Strawberry Granita.
TIP: The Market List Menu is prone to daily change and Whole Foie Gras requires advanced notice.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.