Fiamma Italian Kitchen [4,] Las Vegas NV

Fiamma Italian Kitchen

Iced Tea

Olive Focaccia and Soft Rolls with Tomato Basil Butter and Unsalted Cow’s Milk Butter

Pear & Bleu Cheese – Arugula, Frisee, Champagne Vinaigrette, Roasted Bosc Pears, Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Candied Walnuts

Beef Carpaccio – Spicy Patatine, Hungarian Paprika, Classic Cipriani and Citonette Dressing, Shaved Parmigiano, Smoked Black Hawaiian Lava Salt, Brioche Croutons, Burgundy Truffles

Grilled Mediterranean Octopus – Yukon Gold Potatoes, Kalamata Olives, Red Pepper Romesco, Crispy Capers, Parsley

Italian Beef Meatballs – Salsa Pomodoro, Mozzarella, Pecorino, Ricotta, Grilled Ciabatta Bread

Capellini All’Amatriciana – Guanciale, Caramelized Onions, Cold Smoke Tomatoes, Fried Shrimp and Lobster

Linguini and Clams – White Wine Garlic Sauce, Manilla Clams, Cream, Chili Flakes

Saffron Risotto – Pea Tendrils, White Tiger Prawns

Chicken Cacciatore – Fontina Cheese, Soft Polenta, Onions, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Capers, Olives

Baramundi – Heirloom Tomato Marmalata, Summer Panzanella, Balsamic

Sauteed Broccolini – Garlic Confit, Chili Flakes

Crispy Patate – Green Onion, Crispy Guanciale, Parmigiano

Pistachio-Raspberry Tartufo – Pistachio Financier, Pistachio Ice Cream, Raspberry Sorbet, White Chocolate-Pistachio Shell, Raspberry Coulis

Peach Bellini – Prosecco & Peach Gelee, Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Schnapps-poached Peaches, Peach Sorbetti, White Chocolate Pearls, Bellini Macarons

Triple Cioccolato Bread Pudding – Dark Chocolate Bread Custard, Warm Milk Chocolate Ganache, White Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Sable

Tiramisu Parfait – Hazelnut Sponge Cake, Coffee Soaked Ganache, Espresso Bean, Speculoos Cookie, Chocolate Macaron

Gelati and Sorbetti – Passion Fruit-Vodka, Jack Daniels-Cherry Coke, Lemon-Basil

More than a little impressed by Fiamma on three previous occasions, Chefs Pawan Pinisetti and Shawn Hamada continuously tweaking the seasonal menu while also tempting diners with Social Media shots of daily specials, it was alongside two friends that dinner was enjoyed on an unexpectedly quiet Friday, the first visit in nearly nine months showing several familiar items but many new ones as well with more to come in just a few weeks.

Catching the back-side of Autumn just a week before the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas sees many restaurants slow, Chef Pinisetti reporting several record weeks prior thanks to convention season, it was with deference to the kitchen and Fiamma’s Tasting Menu option that control was turned over to the Kitchen shortly after ordering Iced Tea, Caleb Anderson as well as Chef Hamada and the restaurant’s new GM all stopping by to say hello as diners conversed while enjoying the housemade Bread and Tomato-Basil Spread.

At this point a known entity with several signature dishes, MGM Grand’s website dubbing the Restaurant “Fiamma Italian Kitchen” doing the menu no justice by only listing “Featured Items,” it was for the sake of time that this visit was compressed into three courses featuring sixteen total plates, appetizers once again composed of the smoky Mediterranean Octopus and Beef Meatballs in addition to Fiamma’s stellar Carpaccio topped in Burgundy Truffles, the lone new dish a Frisee and Arugula Salad with crisp Vegetables, Roasted Pears, Candied Walnuts and Bleu Cheese.

Combining Pasta and Secondi into a single table-flooding course, the focus entirely on new plates including two daily specials and an impressive spiral of thin Capellini slicked with smoked Tomato Sauce and topped in Fried Lobster from the upcoming menu, it was somewhat surprising that a bowl of Linguini and Clams was this time a highlight having previously been off-putting and acidic, the substitution of Cream for Tomatoes making the dish far more comforting and creating for a nice back-and-forth with the daily special of fragrant Saffron Risotto topped in Prawns and a tangle of Pea Tendrils.

Changing the prior Sea Bass to a generous filet of Baramundi served alongside Summer Panzanella with crispy Croutons and vibrant Heirloom Tomato Jam it was from the skilled hands of Chef Hamada that another daily special of Hunter-style Chicken was presented, the crispy Breast’s perch atop soft Polenta and smothering with melted Fontina playing well off Capers and Olives amidst crushed Tomatoes and Mushrooms while both side dishes were equally well presented, the Broccolini lightly spiced and rife with Garlic while Potatoes seen prior remain crisp on the exterior and soft within amidst Cheese, fried Pork Jowl and Green Onions.

Transitioning from savory to sweet, Pastry Chef Denise Elrod recently posting pictures of upcoming items for Fiamma as well as Morimoto and Crush, it was as the dry-ice display of the Restaurant’s Peach Bellini billowed forth that Pawan described two new Desserts in addition to the Triple Chocolate Bread Pudding also seen in March, the Tiramisu Parfait a bit heavy handed as both the Chocolate and Espresso were quite bitter while the Pistachio-Raspberry Tartufo excelled in its subtlety, the ‘crust’ thin but dense enough to give the Ice Cream some tooth while the trio of Gelato and Sorbet saw Passion Fruit predictably cloying though the Lemon-Basil and Jack Daniels-Cherry Coke were both very well executed with the latter quite boozy.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Understanding the need to maintain signature items and serve guests of all sorts, but with a bit less “wow-factor” this time than last, Fiamma nonetheless remains one of Las Vegas’ best Italian Restaurants in terms of Food and service even when doing bit volume, the prix-fixe/tasting menu additionally giving guests a chance to experience a great restaurant on the Strip at a good value.

RECOMMENDED: Beef Carpaccio, Capellini All’Amatriciana, Linguini and Clams, Baramundi, Crispy Patate, Peach Bellini, Pistachio-Raspberry Tartufo

AVOID: Tiramisu was enjoyed by others but too bitter for my liking while Passion Fruit will never win my favor.

TIP: The Website Menu remains woefully inadequate and undersells the restaurant dramatically. See @chefpawanpinesetti on Instagram for daily specials.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Fiamma Trattoria & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Bread Pudding, Coffee, Dessert, Fiamma, Fiamma Trattoria, Fiamma Trattoria & Bar, Fiamma Trattoria and Bar, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Lobster, Macaron, Macaroon, Nevada, Octopus, Pork, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu, Truffle, Truffles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sababa Mediterranean Grill, Las Vegas NV

Sababa Mediterranean Grill

Babaganoush – Open fire cooked Eggplant, Tahini, Garlic, Lemon Juice served with Pita


Hummus with Shawarma – Chicken Rotti, Parsley and Tahini with Pita and Pickles


Falafel Pita – Chickpea Fritters, Pickles, Tahini, Hummus, Mediterranean Salad

Located within walking distance of home it was largely a matter of conflicting schedules that had prevented a visit to Sababa Mediterranean Grill in the past, ownership’s observance of Shabbat seeing the space on the corner of Durango and Desert Inn closed from Friday at 3pm until Sunday at eleven o’clock, a relatively light schedule on this particular Friday creating an opportunity to visit a space that has apparently changed ownership several times over the course of its ten year existence.

Presumably a family run space not dissimilar to the likes of Amena and other Mediterranean spots in town, the strong smell of disinfectant prevalent on entry just past 11:30am with no other patrons present and a man who spoke to colleagues in his native tongue seated watching television, it was with curt “hello, what can I get you” that he stood and returned to the counter when a digital menu paraded options slowly, a laminated card with several items crossed off in Sharpie later provided to help better clarify the choices.

Said to be a 100% Kosher space, a warning on the window about bringing in outside food and beverages stressing this while the man in charge also abruptly asked “why you take pictures?” like such a thing were not commonplace or as if he had something to hide, it was with culturally appropriate music playing and Roku idle screens on television that a three part order was placed, the Pita taken from a Styrofoam cooler and briefly warmed before being placed in foil and presented to the table alongside Babaganoush that was thin yet fragrant with Garlic and Herbs plus plenty of Lemon Juice.

Not particularly in love with the Pita Bread, no evidence of it being homemade in terms of the presentation or fluffiness, it was with another round presented similar to the last that the man brought forth an enormous plate of Hummus topped in marinated Chicken cooked for several minutes on the flattop and drizzled with Tahini, the Bird itself juicy and lean with the plenty of Cumin and Garlic flavor while the Hummus was thick and creamy with enough there to share amongst a party of two or more.

Enjoying two plates of Pickles with the Shawarma, though an unexpected segment of Lemon amidst Carrots and Cabbage was a bit assaulting in one bite, it was with the tab paid and a Sandwich taken for later that the man softened his comment on photographs stating he saw someone else doing it the day prior and wondered why, the sloppy presentation of a Falafel Pita perhaps one reason he may not want people Instagramming his food though the Chickpea Fritters were quite flavorful and relatively low in heft compared to most which prevented them from overwhelming the Lettuce, Tomatoes, Pickles, Dressing and Cucumbers.

THREE STARS: Although hospitality could use a little work and cleaning of windows should probably be relegated to the hours between closing on Friday and sundown, Sababa provides good value on the dollar in an ever competitive Mediterranean market, the fact that the restaurant keeps 100% Kosher likely of relevance to many as well.

RECOMMENDED: Hummus with Shawarma, Falafel

AVOID: No Desserts, Pita bread is below average.

TIP: Check Groupon as the restaurant occasionally offers 33-49% off discounts, though the online Grubhub link does not currently appear functional.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Sababa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Sababa, Sababa Mediterranean Grill Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ace Donuts [5,] Las Vegas NV

Ace Donuts

Strawberry Cake Donut with Sprinkles

Chocolate Old Fashioned Donut

Cinnamon Crumb Donut

Buttermilk Bar

Blueberry Crumb Cake Donut

Raised and Orange Glazed Donut with Sprinkles

It was just six days prior that the first visit in over twenty months had been made to Ace Donuts, yet thanks to good fortune and a new office there those lovely Pink Boxes were again on Friday morning, a whole glut of favorites plus several previously unexplored delicacies proving every bit as good as those prior with the Blueberry Crumb Cake and Buttermilk Bar still amongst the best Classic Donuts in America while the Strawberry Cake and fluffy Cinnamon not seen in nearly three years were also quite delicious.

Moving on to the two ‘new’ choices, an Old Fashioned iced with Chocolate and a Yeasted Ring with Orange Glaze, Ace once again shows why they are simply better than the likes of Ronald’s, Real or Coco by using a better grade of Chocolate that doesn’t have the strange Paraffin finish while the Orange tastes a lot like Tang with the sourness mellowed by adding enough Sugar to help it set.

FIVE STARS: In an era when more and more food is tilted towards being photogenic as opposed to delicious it seems the classic Donut shop is becoming rarer and rarer across the States and as much as I like what places like Pink Box, Sidecar and others are doing there is simply not a place I’ve found thus far in the world who outperforms Ace Donuts for simple classics.

RECOMMENDED: Blueberry Crumb Cake, Cinnamon Crumb, Buttermilk Bar.

AVOID: Making Donuts at work a habit.

TIP: Open at 5am daily at 9435 W Tropicana Avenue, call in advance for special orders at (702) 222-3370.

Ace Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Robert Irvine’s Public House, Las Vegas NV

Robert Irvine’s Public House

Iced Tea

French Onion Fondue – Gruyere, Caramelized Onion, Thyme, Toasted Ciabatta

Public House Poutine – Tater Tots, Pulled Pork and Shiitake-Onion Gravy, Peppered Goat Cheese, Red Vein Sorrel

Deviled Eggs – Pickled Jalapenos, Grain Mustard, Crispy Pork Belly, Capers

Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings – BBQ Rubbed, RI Signature Blue Flame Buffalo Sauce, Celery and Ranch Dressing, Toasted Bread

Mixed Heirloom Tomatoes and Grilled Ciabatta – Avocado Puree, Lemon Ricotta, Toasted Garlic, Basil, Tomato Vinaigrette

Roasted Vegetables – Farmer’s Market Vegetables, Fine Herbs, Lebanese Garlic and Lemon Sauce

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad – Salt Roasted Beets, Pickled Beets, Goat Cheese, Grapes, Arugula, Sherry and Honey Vinaigrette

Steak Tartare – Capers, Red Onion, Egg, Lemon Zest, Herb Potato Chips

F&K Fondue Sliders – Creekstone Farm Black Angus, Mushrooms, Onions, Crispy Smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Brioche Bun

Bar Snack Fish & Chips – Beer Battered Cod, Malted Curry Aioli, Green Onion, Bacon, Feta, Green Cabbage Slaw

Stone Fired Shepherd’s Pie – Ground Lamb, Onion, English Peas, Mashed Potato Crust

Buttermilk Fried Duck Confit – Maple-Sherry Vinegar, Braised Kale and Chard, Buttery Sriracha Sauce

English Banoffee Pie – Banana, Toffee, Espresso Ice Cream

Dessert Shepherd’s Pie – Strawberries, Lemon Curd, Pound Cake, Toasted Meringue Crust

Spotted Dick – Traditional English Steamed Currant Pudding, Vanilla Custard Sauce

Skillet Baked Triple Chocolate Cookie – High Road Vanilla Fleur de Sel Ice Cream

Happy to wander the world seeking out great meals but not so fond of Food Television there was no real reason to know Robert Irvine before the Chef opened up shop at The Tropicana, and although the name Public House still seems terribly unoriginal with two additional Restaurants similarly dubbed less than 3/4 mile away it looks as though the Restaurant: Impossible star’s spot is doing quite well based on a visit Saturday evening.

Reportedly built at the request of Tropicana High Rollers in need of a place to use comps, the property certainly never considered a dining “destination” in a city filled with several Resorts that could legitimately make such a claim, Robert Irvine’s Public House officially opened its doors in July after significant hype including a daredevil stunt during which the TV-Star lept from the top of the white tower over a year prior, Chef Scott Green making his return to Las Vegas after a stint in Canada to head up a kitchen focused on upscale yet accessible fare and Irvine’s British upbringing.

Admittedly a first-timer at The Tropicana, its southerly location on The Strip and lack of dining venues never really a draw despite being one of the few places in town still offering free parking, it is upon entering the front doors that signs immediately point guests left towards the sprawling room with a bar and lounge up front plus several tables and banquets lining the space behind, a dinner rush of over 150 covers seeing the place slammed on a big football weekend but a party of four happy to wait until the assigned 8:00pm reservation time while sitting at a first come-first serve high top.

Doing a reasonable job of isolating itself from the gaming floor, a walkway between slot machines and Public House’s doors at least fifteen feet wide, it is only once diners make their way to the back that the full scope of design can be seen, varying shades of wood comprising floor and ceilings sandwiching comfortable orange leather seats, stone walls and an immense glass window facing Las Vegas Boulevard outside.

Dining with three frequent tablemates and thus able to sample a wide range of the menu it was after others had requested Mixed Drinks and Beers featuring flavors like Peanut Butter and Passion Fruit that Food was ordered, a total of twelve savories far more than would be recommended for even a group of six and beginning with Appetizers including Bar Menu Deviled Eggs atop Mustard alongside Tater Tot “Poutine” with Pulled Pork and Goat Cheese plus smoky Wings featuring Irvine’s own Buffalo Sauce and two styles of housemade Dressing.

By no means a bad way to begin, even those tired of “small plates” and “gastropubs” likely to find lots to love in the Tots that remain crispy beneath Mushroom Gravy and a bubbling dish of French Onion Fondue meant to be slathered on Toast, it was with some additional Bread requested and Gruyere still molten that a trio of Salads soon appeared, the Heirloom Tomatoes vibrant and acidic amidst fresh Herbs and Garlic while the ubiquitous Beet Salad outperformed many thanks to Grapes and lightly pickled flavors, the same sadly not to be said for a dish simply listed as “Roasted Vegetables” that featured good Produce but seemed poorly conceived as the Sauce was too thick to be considered ‘Soup’ and too runny to function as Dip without quickly getting messy.

Using a pair of bar items plus thick-cut Steak Tartare served with sizable housemade Potato Chips as a sort of mid-course, business finally beginning to dwindle around 9:30, suffice it to say that the much publicized F&K Burger smothered in Cheese is tasty but plenty in its smaller “Slider” format while the shrunk-down Fish & Chips unfortunately suffered from Cod being too bland, the bed of matchstick Fries showing far better amidst Bacon, Feta and thickened Malt Vinegar.

Rounding out savories with two items one won’t just find anywhere in Sin City, the Buttermilk fried Duck Confit (also offered as Chicken) crisp and intensely flavored but balanced by a Jean Georges-esque combination of braised Greens plus “buttery” Hot Sauce and Irvine’s signature “Stone Fired Shepherd’s Pie” achieving where many others fail by letting the Potatoes get a little bit crispy which adds texture to the classic Lamb filling, it was with most already stuffed that four Desserts arrived with each presentation proving at least enough to warrant a bite from each…and several more for others.

Part classic and part clever, items like Mason Jar Apple Pie and Blue Cheesecake saved for a later date, it was instead with bites of Robert’s famous Banoffee Pie that things got underway and taking a far lighter approach than most to the combination of Bananas and Toffee while mellowing sweetness with Espresso Ice Cream the presentation sets a high bar for the dish locally, the same to be said of traditional Spotted Dick served in warm Vanilla Sauce while the Dark Chocolate Skillet Cookie and “Dessert Shepherd’s Pie” are definitely best shared, the former as rich as it sounds while the item in cast iron riffs on Trifle with sliced Berries, Meringue and cubes of Pound Cake.

THREE AND A HALF STARS: While many, including the local papers, have criticized Chef Irvine for everything from high prices to Food that does not fit his healthy persona Robert Irvine’s Public House nevertheless succeeds in terms of providing guests with a good experience, the necessity of an “everything to everyone” menu undoubtedly offering up a few duds but the overall batting average strong and most plates sharable by at least two rendering prices far lower than they seem.

RECOMMENDED: French Onion Fondue, Public House Poutine, Steak Tartare, Stone Fired Shepherd’s Pie, Buttermilk Fried Duck Confit, English Banoffee Pie, Spotted Dick.

AVOID: Roasted Vegetables, Fish & Chips.

TIP: Open 11:00a to “Late Night” on Weekdays and 10:30a to “Late Night” on Saturdays and Sundays, reservations recommended for prime times but walk-ins at the Bar and High Tops encouraged where several menu items plus Bar Specials such as the Sliders and Deviled Eggs are offered.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Robert Irvine's Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Public House, Robert Irvine’s, Robert Irvine’s Public House Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gelatology [9,] Las Vegas NV


Samples: Ube, Almond, Cheese & Crackers, Crème Brulee, Green Tea Kit Kat, Honey Comb, Crumble Apple Pie, Cookies ‘n Cream, Gino’s Double Coco Malted Milk Crunch

Small Honey Comb and Gino’s Double Coco Malted Milk Crunch

Small Green Tea Kit Kat + Small Cookies n’ Cream

With little more to be said about Desyree Alberganti’s Gelatology at this point, her eclectically flavored and silky smooth Gelato truly world-class, it was after lunch at Town Center that the car was steered onto South Rainbow for another fix, the charming owner present and greeting guests with smiles and hugs plus all the samples they can handle.

Still pending a move to Indiana but also striking deals locally that will see her confections sold both at Gelatology and other outlets, an exciting situation for those who live further North but surely no replacement for Chef Alberganti herself, it was while exchanging stories of recent events that samples of nearly the whole case of flavors were tasted, old favorites like Ube and Crème Brulee joined by the sweet and savory “Cheese & Crackers” or seasonal Crumble Apple Pie.

Eventually settling on three $4 small cups, two singles and a double, it was as others enjoyed the mellow flavors of Green Tea Kit Kat or sweet Cookies n’ Cream that bites of Honey Comb were followed by “Gino’s Double Coco Malted Milk Crunch,” the housemade base of each as cool and creamy as ever while textures were dialed up in each by crunchy bits.

FIVE STARS: Sure there is “rolled” Ice Cream and Fro-Yo and now “Nitro” Ice Cream but no matter how you mix it or match it none of these trendy places are doing what Gelatology does in terms of textures or flavors and whether Desyree herself is on-site or not it seems hard to assume that will change pending further notice.

RECOMMENDED: Ube, Honey Comb, Gino’s Double Coco Malted Milk Crunch…or, honestly, anything.


TIP: Still have to love the daily Instagram feed of flavors @gelatologylv.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Gelatology Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, Gelatology, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Las Vegas NV

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.

Tommy Bahama's Restaurant & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Lobster, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tommy Bahama, Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ace Donuts [4,] Las Vegas NV

Ace Donuts

Cronut Hole

Buttermilk Bar

Blueberry Old Fashioned

Cinnamon Roll

Red Velvet

Apple Fritter

Blueberry Fritter

Originally visited in the waning days of 2014 and again just under a week later it is largely a matter of committing to sleeping in on weekends that more frequent visits have not been made to Ace Donuts on the corner or Tropicana and Fort Apache, the small shop opening at 5am having caught on thanks to favorable word of mouth now selling out of most of their product by noon on weekdays and as early as nine or ten o’clock in the morning on Saturday as well as Sunday.

Still owned and operated by the same pleasant women, only one present on this particular Saturday just after 9am with store shelves still full as opposed to during an attempted visit at 10:15 just one month prior, it was with a big smile that guests were greeted from behind a counter which she can barely see over, the old-school collection plus Croissant Donuts slightly higher priced in the past but still every bit worth it with discounts now offered on boxes bought by the dozen or half.

Told by an elderly couple seated at one of the tables that Ace sells “the best Donuts in town,” a smile and agreement offered before choosing a half-dozen including several “gourmet” and “fancy” selections for $10.49, it was with a complimentary Cronut Hole thrown in that the Pink Box was taken elsewhere for indulgence, the two-bite Hole oilless and airy with shards of Glaze flaking and falling to the table.

Not purporting to be ‘small-batch,’ ‘handmade,’ ‘artisanal’ or any such catch-phrase, the approach very much a straightforward classic Doughnuttery, it was once again with previous favorites that much of the box was filled, the Buttermilk Bar with a great tang and exterior crisped by oil overlying the soft center while a Sourcream Old Fashioned was this time coated with Glaze featuring bits of pureed Blueberries.

Passing on filled or yeasted selections save for one Cinnamon Roll, the only novel item on this visit proving every bit as good as memories of a light and fluffy Crumb Donut in the past recall, it was once again that the sampling was rounded out by a moist Red Velvet Round followed by two Fritters, the smaller or two available sizes each retaining their title as best in the city with the Blueberry this time slightly better than Apple thanks to the higher concentration of Fruit amidst the sugar-shellacked Dough.

FIVE STARS: In an era when more and more food is tilted towards being photogenic as opposed to delicious it seems the classic Donut shop is becoming rarer and rarer across the States and as much as I like what places like Pink Box, Sidecar and others are doing there is simply not a place I’ve found thus far in the world who outperforms Ace Donuts for simple classics like Buttermilk Bars, Old Fashions and Fritters.

RECOMMENDED: Apple Fritter, Blueberry Fritter, Buttermilk Bar, Old Fashioned, Red Velvet.

AVOID: Arriving too late.

TIP: Open at 5am daily at 9435 W Tropicana Avenue, call in advance for special orders at (702) 222-3370.

Ace Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Red Hen, Washington DC

The Red Hen

Bread with Olive Oil and Balsamic

Fresh Burrata – Broccolini Marinati, Salami, Brown Butter Pine Nuts, Cherry Mostarda, Breadcrumbs

Crispy Arancini ‘Cacio e Pepe’ – Fried Risotto Balls, Black Pepper, Pecorino Romano, Basil Aioli

Garganelli – Roasted Wild Mushrooms, Porcini Crema, Spinach, Lemon and Pecorino Tartufo

Mafalde Verde – Braised Duck Ragu, Calabrian Chili, Mint, Kale, Pecorino Romano

Ricotta Cavatelli – Spicy Lamb Sausage, Broccolini, Chickpeas, Parmigiano, Breadcrumbs

Mezzi Rigatoni – Fennel Sausage Ragu, Fennel Pollen, Pecorino Romano

Maple Custard – Caramelized Hazelnut Crumble

Chocolate Brownie Fudge Sundae – Candied Almonds, Whipped Cream, Chocolate Pearls, Luxardo Cherries, Fior di Latte Gelato

Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts – Chocolate Glaze, Nutella-whipped Ricotta, Hazelnut Praline, Mascarpone Gelato

Autumn-Spiced Carrot Cake – Cream Cheese Frosting, Candied Ginger & Pecan Crumble, Toasted Oatmeal Gelato, Salted Caramel Sauce

Still white hot nearly five years after opening, Chef Michael Friedman since going on to open All Purpose Pizzeria downtown, The Red Hen was booked as the final Dinner during a trip to Washington D.C., Bloomingdale’s neighborhood gem packed to capacity at 5:30pm on Saturday evening with patrons standing three deep at the bar.

Described as an “Italian-influenced American Restaurant,” the New Jersey native Chef already proving quite capable with his Eggplant Parm and malted Pizza Dough three days prior, it was with reservations made nearly a month in advance and timely arrival despite pouring rain that three guests were seated at a table facing Seaton Place, the somewhat aloof server at first a bit off-putting but soon settling into his role and adapting to the table though he never really seemed to smile.

Offering a seasonal menu of Crostini, Appetizers, Pastas, Mains, Sides and Desserts, Chef de Cuisine Krystal Cripe standing over the pass on this particular evening, it was with wide eyes that options were perused and discussed before placing a three-course order consisting of ten items, the table Bread replenished on request starting things off as thin strips with crispy edges and an open, yeasty crumb.

Rightfully focusing on Pastas, each handmade daily and garnering a lot of attention for both craft and creativity, it was as these were prepared that the meal began with appetizers of housemade Burrata amidst sweet and savory condiments plus golden orbs of fried Rice, the former raising the bar in terms of taste and texture thanks to finely chopped Broccolini, Cherry Compote and Breadcrumbs while the latter were fried golden with creamy centers and a lot of Pepper mellowed by herbal Aioli.

Opting for four out of five possible pastas and no entrees, only the Squid Ink Linguini with Fresno Chiles left behind, it was in an attempt to taste from mild to robust that first bites were taken of Garganelli tossed with Mushrooms and Spinach, the flavor profile entirely overwhelmed by Lemon and salty Pecorino much to the table’s disappointment though quickly forgotten within two bites of the Ricotta Cavatelli matching spicy Lamb Sausage to more Broccolini and Breadcrumbs plus crispy Chickpeas that created a great contrast to the soft Shells.

Moving next to tender green Ribbons topped in Duck and Calabrian Chiles tamed by Mint, a personal favorite that was unfortunately not enjoyed as much by others thanks to the heat, it was nonetheless with universal agreement that everyone felt that Red Hen’s Rigatoni was exquisite, each al dente tube lightly slicked in Tomato sauce rife with Fennel Sausage plus a dusting of Fennel Pollen that created a light licorice linger on the heels of grated Cheese.

Making decisions amongst Desserts as difficult as those relating to Pasta, another order excluding only one bringing four sizable selections dreamed up by Chef Cripe to the table, rumors of a destination-worthy Maple Custard were immediately confirmed even by those who do not particularly enjoy Maple Syrup thanks to the mellow flavor and textural juxtaposition created by crumbled Hazelnuts, the seasonal Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts unfortunately getting lost amidst Chocolate Glaze and Nutella while the Chocolate Sundae and Autumn-Spiced Carrot Cake fared far better, the Ice Cream largely due to a thick Brownie and tangy Gelato while the Carrot Cake’s Ginger notes were warm and pleasant shining through Ice Cream that tasted like an Oatmeal Cookie and thick Salty Caramel.

The Red Hen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Pie Sisters, Washington DC

Pie Sisters

Apple Sour Cream Cuppie

Pumpkin Cuppie

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Cuppie

Coconut Cream Cuppie

Banana Cream Cuppie

Like most small businesses Pie Sisters began as a dream, siblings Alli, Bear and Cat Blakely bringing a longtime family tradition to the masses in 2012 when they opened up shop at 3423 M St Northwest after years of selling their creations online and at local markets, the Great Falls Virginia natives quickly expanding their offerings from a fairly traditional collection to one that now offers both sweet and savory Pies as well as seasonal inspirations.

Tucked away on a cute corner in Georgetown, the nearby “Exorcist Stairs,” shopping and College itself all assuring a fair amount of foot traffic both day and night, patrons entering Pie Sisters will quickly find themselves greeted by one of two clerks and a cute room with crown molding, photographs and flowers with a wide variety of treats on counters or behind glass in back.

Open from 11am-7pm Wednesday through Sunday, though assuring guests that “any time is Pie time,” all recipes at Pie Sisters begin with scratch-made crust loaded with Butter and offered whole, by the slice or sized down into cute “Cuppies,” pronounced Cup-Pies, the latter perfectly sized for one though the better idea seems to be bringing a group and tasting a few.

Charging the same price for each item, each Cuppie just $3.75 and a relative bargain compared to most “Artisan” Cupcake places putting less effort or quality ingredients into their product, it was with the Sister’s Apple Sour Cream that the Crust immediately impressed by both its Butter content and flakiness, the stewed Fruit ample amidst Cinnamon Sugar Streusel and quickly leading to tastes of the nicely spiced Pumpkin that made one long for Thanksgiving even though it was a week after Trick-or-Treating.

Moving next to two Cream Pies, each again seeing the golden Crust hold up admirably to picture-perfect Filling, a choice between Banana or Coconut really comes down to a ‘pick ‘em’ based on personal tastes while the Black Bottom Pecan should not be missed by anyone save for those allergic to one of the ingredients as the Nuts themselves are caramelized and smoky without a whole lot of filler atop a slightly melted Dark Chocolate base.

Pie Sisters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Washington DC

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Samples: Boozy Eggnog, Pumpkin Five Spice, Pistachio Honey

Single – Boozy Eggnog

Standard on a Waffle Cone – Sweet Potato and Torched Marshmallow, The Matterhorn

Having spent nearly ten years in Columbus between undergrad, residency and fellowship the only real regret from that period is how infrequently visits were made to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Mrs. Britton Bauer going from a small stand in the North Market at that time to a Beard Award Winner with several locations and hundreds of thousands of fans stretching from Los Angeles to her newest location in Washington D.C.

Nothing short of a self-made success story, the decision to leave college and pursue a dream more than paid off with nearly thirty location and a healthy mail-order market plus distribution deals with retailers like Whole Foods, it was just past 1:00pm on a Saturday that the location in the U-Street Corridor was visited, a bevy of new seasonal flavors joining classics with a line that ebbed and flowed from five to ten guests throughout a nearly thirty minute stay.

Continuing a trend of opening in newly developing areas, 14th Street in D.C. as much a growing concern as Venice, Silverlake or Nashville, it was with predictably friendly salutations that patrons were greeted upon approaching a pair of glass chests, samples quick to come as the smell of freshly baked Waffle Cones permeated the air.

By no means a low-priced product, Jeni’s use of high fat Organic Milk and Essential Oils plus fresh Herbs clearly not occurring in the same environment as a company like Thrifty, it was with each spoonful coating the palate that tastes of aromatic Pumpkin and texturally complex Pistachio Honey were enjoyed before eventually deciding on two cones, the “Boozy Eggnog” selected by a tablemate spot on and likely to please fans while the Smoke n’ Honey Matterhorn and Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallow were each like an early taste of the Holidays.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Lapis, Washington DC

Lapis Afghan Bistro

Mantoo Beef Dumplings – Yogurt, Yellow Split Pea and Tomato Sauce

Bolani Flat Bread – Pumpkin and Leek-Cilantro with Yogurt and Chutney

Sambrosa Trio – Philo Pastries with Shrimp with Saffron, Spinach and Beef with Onions served with Chutney

Pakowra – Gram Battered Vegetables with Chutney and Yogurt

Halwa – Semolina, Saffron, Almonds

Sheer Berenj – Rice Pudding, Cardamom, Pistachio

Sharbat – Warm Pound Cake, Orange Zest Syrup

Awarded Bib Gourmand status in the most recent Michelin Guide for Washington D.C., a designation used to recognize Restaurants where one can “enjoy two courses and a glass of Wine or Dessert (not including tax and gratuity) for less than $40,” it was for Saturday Brunch that a visit was paid to Lapis in Adams Morgan, their Afghani cuisine representing a style many Americans are likely not familiar with, though much of it is based on recipes and ingredients commonly seen in other central Asian countries.

Family owned and operated by refugees who launched their career as restaurateurs nearly fifteen years after escaping the motherland, an additional pair of European bistros giving them the financial freedom to finally pursue something much more personal at 1847 Columbia Road Northwest, guests entering Lapis after 5:30pm throughout the week will be greeted by a sizable menu of cultural favorites while those partaking in Brunch will find a slightly truncated collection plus several Euro-American carryovers plus Cocktails and bottomless Mimosas.

Not a space for those desiring to dine expeditiously, an entirely Afghani staff moving slow and deliberately in all tasks from seating to filling water and delivering plates, it was after some time perusing the options while listening to culturally appropriate music that a middle aged gentleman who appeared to be in charge arrived to jot down orders, a total of four plates arriving one after another and beginning with two crispy stacks of Flatbread, one filled with stewed Leeks and Herbs while the other tasted quite a bit like Pumpkin Pie filling.

Clearing empty dishes but not refreshing share plates between courses, only an issue in terms of the boiled Beef Dumplings which got a bit messy thanks to the soft and hearty filling plus Tomato Sauce and fragrant Yellow Peas, it was with a thud that Lapis’ Pakowras hit the table, the deep fried Fritters heavy and not particularly flavorful without the liberal addition of housemade Yogurt or fiery green Chutney.

Decorated in old family photographs and cultural artifacts, a more subdued downstairs room discovered upon visiting the restroom, it was with three Sambrosas each filled with something different that savories concluded, the Shrimp and Saffron a hand-down winner that is also offered in a boiled style like the Mantoo Beef that is considered to be a Restaurant signature.

Suggesting that “Afghans have a sweet tooth” on their Dessert menu and thus compelling a three part order, the Semolina “Halwa” bland and nowhere near as delicious as it’s Carrot based cousin seen at many Indian Restaurants, better bites were found in the Cardamom-tinged Rice Pudding as well as the housemade Poundcake, the choice to serve it warm more than welcome while the use of Orange Syrup made each bite sweet yet refreshingly vibrant.

Lapis Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, Washington DC

Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats

Sticky Bun

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie

Cowvin Cookie

Sweet n’ Salty Cookie with Oats, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chips and Sea Salt

Brownie with Dark Chocolate Chips