Top of The World
Bada Bing – Grey Goose Cherry Noir Vodka, Benadictine, Lemon, Chandon Brut Sparkling Rose
Mango Maggie – Absolut Vodka, Malibu Rum, Orange Juice, Mango
Moon and Stars – Ketel One Vodka, Watermelon, Lime, Fresno Chili
Grin and Pear It – Grey Goose La Poire Vodka, St. Germain, Cointreau, Lemon
Bread Basket – Parker Rolls, Focaccia Bread, Multigrain Roll, Lavash, Pistou Butter
Lobster Tacos – Maine Lobster, Wonton Shell, Lemon, Hawaiian Lava Salt, Crushed Tortillas
Local Mixed Greens Salad – Shaved Root Vegetables, Tomato, Cucumber, Super Food Vinaigrette
Maryland Lump Crab Cake – Apple Slaw, Citrus Aioli
Australian Lobster Thermidor – Spinach, Organic Mushrooms, Hollandaise Sauce, Pommes Puree
Ōra King Salmon – Fennel Soubise, Citrus Segments, Lemon Butter
10oz Tajima Ranch Wagyu Skirt Steak
16oz Cape Grim Grass Fed Ribeye
Zucchini and Squash Spaghetti – Marinara, Vegan Truffle Cheese
Creamed Sweet Corn – Truffle, Parmesan Cheese Bread Crumbs
Potato Puree – Butter, Chives
Housemade Sauces – Red Wine Reduction, Truffle Gouda Cheese Fondue, Peppercorn
Double Espresso – Ice
NY Style Cheesecake – Berries, Tahitian Vanilla Whipped Cream
Salted Caramel Crème Brulee – Salted Caramel Corn
21 Layer Chocolate Cake – Decadent Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Ganache
Baked Alaska – Strawberry Ice Cream, Cookies & Cream Ice Cream, Brownie Ice Cream, Streusel, Meringue Brulee
Although it may be hard to recall the last time a local recommended Top of the World as a place for fine dining the fact that it continues to gross $20,000,000.00+ a year clearly indicates tourists believe otherwise, a 4.5/5.0 rating across nearly 6,000 Tripadvisor reviews further attesting to the popularity of dinner with a view that has recently undergone some changes, most notably the hiring of Executive Chef Pawan Pinisetti whose former work at Fiamma inside The MGM Grand speaks not only of an ability to work a big room but also the sort of dedication needed to turn around a Restaurant’s culture.
No doubt a surprise signing in the wake of Chefs Johnny Church and Scott Green, Blake Sartini’s late-2017 purchase of The Stratosphere clearly coming with a mandate to improve the experience across Golden Entertainment’s expanding cadre of Restaurants, it was with no formal announcement or fanfare that Pawan one day began posting pictures of creations including Shellfish and Steak from 106 stories above Las Vegas Boulevard, each progressively more impressive and soon leading to a lunch reservation for four on Saturday.
Now working the property for going on two months, a revamped Menu from Chef Church inherited and certainly upping the ante in terms of product sourcing while at the same time occasionally attracting the ire of longtime customers in search of standbys such as Seafood Alfredo, it was half-past noon that Chef Pinisetti was found working the line of a small kitchen at the center of Top of the World’s rotating room, a convivial pair of hostesses handing guests off to a team of servers who remain attentive to details even though diners may not always be found in the same place they were last seen.
Certainly an extraordinary venue, a panoramic vantage of The Valley and beyond only otherwise experienced by way of a trip to the Sky Lounge or observation deck, it was shortly after seating that Pawan took a short break to say hello and explain the Restaurant’s new focus on “Ingredients with a story,” companies like Ōra King Salmon and Tajima Ranch proudly replacing past commodities without a substantial hike in price though a look at the menu nonetheless sees most Appetizers hovering around $15 with Entrees at least double and occasionally as high as triple digits for Lobster topped with Foie Gras at dinner.
Offering a three course “Power Lunch” for $49 plus plenty of options to fit a variety of dining styles and dietary restrictions it was shortly after receiving four top-shelf Cocktails that dining began with a Basket featuring an equal number of Breads plus Butter brightened by Pistou, the “Parker Rolls” a bit disappointing compared to those at places serving them warm from the pan while both a Multigrain Roll and herbal Focaccia fared much better.
Impressed by the beverage program, a fruit-forward approach to each Vodka-based selection creating deceptively easy sippers that could get a lightweight into trouble, it was not long before an amuse of off-menu Lobster Tacos arrived to whet guest’s palates, each of two bites light and elegant with only a touch of Salt plus Citrus used to amplify the Crustacean’s sweet flavor.
Moving next into menu items, John Church’s time at Aureole bringing a version of Chef Palmer’s “Super Food Vinaigrette” to the other end of The Strip atop crisp Greens and thinly sliced Root Vegetables, it was in follow-up that a flaky Crab Cake with almost no binder served as an introduction to two additional sea creatures, the Australian Lobster propped up on Pommes Puree even more impressive than that at Bardot a day prior thanks to a mélange of Mushrooms and more luxurious Sauce while true King Salmon from New Zealand justified its price and accolades by not just melting across the tongue but also impressing several diners who had never previously considered Salmon nor Fennel particularly enjoyable.
Continuing to share a new narrative by way of Beef, two ethically raised breeds imported from Australia prepared medium-rare largely a matter of personal preference as to whose texture was more enjoyable, it was occasionally using one of three housemade Sauces that each bite slowly disappeared, the Cheese Fondue particularly indulgent but even better utilized as an addition to Top of The World’s buttery Mashed Potatoes.
Happy to see another Aureole-inspired dish created to satisfy Vegans, ribbons of Squash largely indistinguishable from al dente Pasta topped in vibrant Marinara plus subtly-truffled “Cheese” also a making an excellent side dish for those seeking something healthy and unique, it was additionally with Truffles that Top of The World’s Creamed Corn was topped, the ‘cream’ itself not quite as prominent as purists might like but the flavor still pleasant.
Always excited for Dessert, particularly having seen some recent Social Media shares of Top of The World’s revamped collection, it was fortified by Espresso that four of five options were selected, the New York Cheesecake true to its origin in terms of density, crumble and taste while Crème Brulee got an ever-popular Salted Caramel upgrade but otherwise retained its characteristic texture.
Assuredly saving “the best for last,” an extra two bucks compared to alternatives more than justified by portions best shared, suffice it to say that for $28 plus tax and tip a couple can obtain views equal to a trip to the top for approximately the same price plus two of Las Vegas’ best classic Desserts, the towering Chocolate Cake so moist and rich that few could finish it solo while an equally tall Baked Alaska comes without tableside fire but makes up for it with luxurious Ice Cream that stands up to torching atop a buttery base of Streusel.
FOUR STARS: At this point best seen as ‘in transition,’ classics beloved by fans of the ambiance cut in favor of more simple presentations focused on product, Top of The World remains a place most will still visit primarily for the view but no longer should it be a Restaurant gourmands roll their eyes at because despite “Strip pricing” the sourcing and cooking is ready to rival many of Las Vegas’ top tables.
RECOMMENDED: Grin and Pear It, Bada Bing, Local Mixed Greens Salad, Lobster Thermidor, Ōra King Salmon, Tajima Ranch Wagyu Shirt Steak, Truffle Gouda Cheese Fondue, 21 Layer Chocolate Cake, Baked Alaska.
AVOID: Parker Rolls are not fluffy enough, Creamed Corn needs less “Truffle” and more Cream, Red Wine Reduction tastes like A1.
TIP: Trips to the top of The Stratosphere are currently $18 per adult plus extra for rides…take that into consideration when considering Top of The World where one gets the same vantage in comfortable seats without wind and sun.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.