Sparrow + Wolf
Hearth Baked Bread – Aged Umami Butter, Sea Salt
Ocean Parfait – Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, Smoked Trout Roe, Kizami Wasabi, Toasted Nori
Heritage Pork Pate En Croute – Pickled Pear, Brined Mustard Seeds, Cornichons, Petite Arugula, Olive Oil
Duck Confit & Sweet Potato Dumplings – Calabrian Chili, Five Spice Broth
Foie Gras – Pumpkin Oil, Cranberries, Pepitas, Brioche, Duck Sauce
Wood Fired Lasagna – Lamb Bolognese, Miso, Burrata, Garlic Bread
Skate Wing – Yuzu Kosho Aioli, Winter Citrus, Lemon Ash
Braised Lamb Neck – Scallion Pancakes, Pickled Vegetables
Dry Aged Porterhouse – Miso Rub, American Banchan
Hot Potato – Potato Pave, Smoked Trout Roe, Chive Crème Fraiche, Sichuan Peppercorn
Wood Grilled Japanese Eggplant – Zataar, Chickpea Yogurt, Crispy Sunchoke, Orange Peel
Caramelized Honey Toast – Mango Ice Cream, Asian Pears
Carrot Cashew Cake – Parsley-Yogurt Sorbet, Candied Rainbow Carrots
Vanilla Bean Pavlova – Yuzu-Bergamot Curd, Citrus Confit, Thai Basil
Caramelized White Chocolate Terrine – Flourless Chocolate Cake, Ras el Hanout Pear Butter
Without question one of the most important off-Strip Restaurants in Las Vegas, ongoing recognition from customers and local Media attesting to this fact while several new openings on Spring Mountain Road suggest Chef Brian Howard to have initiated a cultural shift, it was as a group of six that dinner was enjoyed at Sparrow + Wolf of Friday, the new Private Dining Room utilizing previously neglected real estate and creating an environment more conducive to conversation.
Open since May 2017 and an ongoing hot-ticket, frequent menu changes plus an innovative Cocktail program drawing a diverse crowd that trends young, it was just prior to 6:15pm that all were seated at a long table situated where the hostess stand previously existed, views of the kitchen available but somewhat more limited than previously thanks to a culinary library reportedly soon to triple.
Serving seven days a week based on popularity, signage out front suggesting Tuesday’s dark no longer accurate, it was after greetings from educated staff led by John Anthony that options were perused, three nightly specials offering additional temptation beyond 75% new plates compared to nine months prior.
Now presenting just one tasting menu, $125 per guest, it was as a result of less-adventurous palates that a la carte was instead selected, two Loaves of housemade Bread starting things off and quickly devoured prior to the arrival of other plates including Crudo, Salad, Scallops and a complimentary “Ocean Parfait” that placed tender Tongues of Uni beneath saline Cream with a bit of heat and added umami from lightly smoked Fish Eggs.
Acknowledging Urchin to be an acquired taste, though this allowed plenty of Parfait for those who enjoy the flavor and consistency, it was as a sort of mid-course that additional plates arrived as Rage Against the Machine played overhead, Duck Confit & Sweet Potato Dumplings unfortunately over-aggressive with Chili Oil that rendered the contents mute while Pate En Croute amidst assertive sourness and an elegant Foie Gras preparation serving three ounces prepared in Pumpkin Oil atop Brioche were hearty yet balanced and perfect for colder temperatures outside.
In no particular hurry, conversation flowing from both ends of the table as System of a Down played at modest volume, it was thirty minutes after Appetizers were cleared that Entrees arrived, a staggered delivery allowing everything to be tasted temperature appropriate with the Wood Fired Lasagna expectedly a fan favorite while many encountering Skate for the first time marveled at its buttery Flesh that Chef Howard carefully pairs to bright Citrus.
Growing heavier from here, sides of layered Potatoes with Chives and Trout Roe plus grilled Eggplant that reminisces of deconstructed Baba Ghanoush completing a full table, guests willing to share are encouraged to strongly consider the 32oz Porterhouse offered with side-plates including Eggs, Octopus and several Sauces while those seeking something truly special should not forgo Lamb’s Neck braised on the Bone and served with pickled Fruits and Vegetables that can either help refresh the mouth between bites or be used in conjunction with supple Meat and Scallion Pancakes to create a complex mouthful
Requesting Coffee with Dessert, its arrival almost ten minutes after never explained, suffice it to say that the fact that some Carrot Cake was left-over despite being divided by six diners should attest to how well “Parsley-Yogurt” Sorbet went over, the remainder all far better with flattened Pavlova light and fragrant while Honey Toast and the all-new Caramelized White Chocolate Terrine competed for top-billing, the latter surely more labor intensive and multifaceted thanks to top notes of Cardamom and Cumin though the guilty pleasure aspect of toasted Bread, Honey and lots of Butter is impossible to deny.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Always a confident Restaurant, but evolving by way of a series of self-edits into a mature space that can accommodate almost any sort of diner, Sparrow + Wolf may never serve a “perfect meal” because of the chances Chef Howard is willing to take, but for the sake of progress that is something guests seem willing to accept and any minor “miss” is sure to be made up for by at least three that are very impressive.
RECOMMENDED: Heritage Pork Pate En Croute, Foie Gras, Wood Fired Lasagna, Skate Wing, Braised Lamb Neck, Honey Toast, Caramelized White Chocolate Terrine.
AVOID: Duck Confit & Sweet Potato Dumplings and Carrot Cashew Cake were completely overwhelmed by their accoutrements.
TIP: According to Mr. Anthony the long-term plan for Sparrow + Wolf’s PDR is that it become a daytime library for those looking to further their culinary knowledge.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.