Monday, July 21, 2014
Yusho at the Monte Carlo Resort is most likely the best , innovative restaurant that has opened in Las Vegas in years.
The Monte Carlo Resort has recently completed a multimillion dollar renovation to its strip facing façade. This fun, open air plaza features six dinning venues, live entertainment literally located right on the famed neon of the Las Vegas strip. One of these homes of gastronomic treats is Yusho.
We dined on creative Izakaya fare, perfectly prepared by the tutelage of chef Matthias Merges, His artful culinary creations have been honed for years as he was at managed the helm of Chef Charlie Trotter’s acclaimed Chicago flagship and now has brought this experience to Las Vegas with this gem of a restaurant. His culinary expertise is amplified in this new Japanese street food eatery
We started our meal trying some very unique on tap cocktails, which are made in limited quantities and then poured from a tap like a beer, giving the cocktail a fizzy, slightly carbonated finish. Our meal started with lovely oysters, fresh with their salty briny taste, alongside our plate of the octopus with haricot vert, egg yolk and enoki mushroom. The octopus is cooked to perfection and the mixture of the green beans, and creamy egg yolk makes it a dish worth visiting over and over again.
Up next, our server delivered an assortment of tasty bites. A stand out was the Logan Poser Ramen, made with crispy pork, egg, nori and cucumber. This dish had a rich savory broth, delectable noodles, and a lovely dallop of nori and egg. Another treat was their homemade pickled radishes which help bring a bite of acidity and sparkle between courses. The 2X Fried Chicken, created with spicy kanzuri, green tea and lime zest was sumptuous and satisfying. We weren’t over yet as perfectly cooked rib-eye that would satisfy any meal-lovers palate arrived on our plates.
The final ending to our meal was their signature dessert, the soft serve-ice cream drizzled with Fernet caramel. This refreshingly light treat left us presently pleased. Yusho is most likely the best , innovative restaurant that has opened in Las Vegas in years.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
He is back, that grand and gracious gastronomic genius, Chef Daniel Boulud is back in Las Vegas. He has opened his DB Brasserie in the world renowned Venetian and Palazzo Resort. We were fortunate enough to get a preview of the menu with Executive Chef David Middleton, a legendary Chef in his own right, as well as attend a culinary all-star VIP reception that included Chef Thomas Keller and many more.
We could not wait to make our first official visit to see DBBrasserie in full service mode. Walking past the hostess stand, we noticed this bright 280 seat venue also includes two private dining rooms, as well as a casual bar and lounge.
Taking our seats we were greeted by Wine Director Devin Zendel who has graced this city for years with unmatched service and knowledge of sprits as well as wine. We took a long look at his approximately 300 bottle wine list featuring international as well as many new American AVAs and great classics of California. Of course this is a Daniel Boulud restaurant, the list features the best French producers from the Rhone Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace, the Loire Valley, Provence, the Languedoc and Roussillon.
After choosing a wine it was time to jump right in and THAT, we certainly did. Starting with salade lyonnasie, a juicy Chicken Breast, frisée, lardons, and poached egg to top it off. Being its Chef Daniel, we went classic French. A COQ au VIN Braised Chicken, lardons, mushrooms, pearl onions, hand-rolled garganelli was a perfection of layering of flavors. Salmon you say? , sure! let’s do this. The Salmon llettes with fennel, crème fraÎche, dill, egg mimosa and caper emulsion was a palate pleasing delight.
Taking a breather, we looked over the menu and spotted a few dishes we just had to try. Thai Calamari, crispy beer battered, spring onions, pickled red peppers, mizuna salad topped with kaffir lime was a huge favorite. The Maine Sea Scallops with sweet corn, king trumpets, tomato and jalapeño were prepared in perfect fashion with fresh favors from the sea and land merging for a culinary work of art. It’s time for some beef and of course we choose a Daniel house specialty.
The Frenchie burger is a juicy medium rare 7oz. beef patty with morbier cheese confit pork belly, arugula, tomato-onion compote mustard on a peppered bun finished with cornichon & pommes Frites was a nice way to finish, or so we thought. Devin arrived at our table with a Black & White Fondant and Gateau Basque , a custard cake, brandied cherries and vanilla anglaise.
The beverage of his choosing was Micthter’s Small Batch Bourbon Whisky which provided a perfect FINI to a perfect experience. Of course what else would be expect from Chef Daniel Boulud but perfection? DBBrasserie is much needed. We are grateful that Chef Daniel is back and here to stay.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
It was only a matter of time . Where will she do it? The Food Network’s sweetheart Giada De Laurentiis has been looking for just the right place and feeling to open her first restaurant for quite some time. After searching, she has added her star to the long list of celebrity chef all-stars on the famed Las Vegas strip.
Doing it up in true classy Giada style she opened her namesake “GIADA” in the brand new $185 million boutique hotel The Cromwell operated by Caesars Entertainment. Located on the second floor her comfortable venue overlooks one of the most bustling intersections right on the Las Vegas strip.
Over the last month we have had the opportunity to speak with Giada about her venue and what it means to her. “It’s time to get some girl power here in Las Vegas “she said. If you really think about it, she is the only celebrity chef that did not have a restaurant, until now.
She has been working with Caesars Entertainment for close to seven years. “When I saw the building, I immediately said, I want this space “she stated. “The space is high up and light is very important to me “she added. “ Giada’s maternal grandfather, is renowned film producer Dino De Laurentiis. “My name is a big one. I want make my family proud and stay true to who we are “she said with determination.
Her warm venue features three dining experiences for guests to enjoy. Diners can choose the main dining room, lounge or the terrace where you can dine al fresco with a bird’s eye view of the strip. We really enjoyed the terrace on our visit with a view of the Bellagio fountains through seven custom 12X10 remote controlled hydraulic windows that wrap around the entire restaurant.
This is Giada’s “baby” and she was very hands on in the development. She even tested every chair in the restaurant. “I need to know how narrow, how wide, how sturdy they are. “If I don’t sit in each chair, how am I going to know ‘?
The kitchen also adds to the overall experience. As we walked in for the first time, aromas from the custom antipasti bar, pizza and bread ovens jumped out at us and making us feel right at home.
The highlight of the antipasti bar is the hammered brass bar face and a Carrara gold marble counter stop, with floating glass display shelves.
The menu has something for everyone. Keeping true to her De Laurentiis Italian heritage, the menu offers Italian fare with California influences. Her dishes utilize fresh ingredients and show off her take on new Italian cuisine. Looking over the menu, signature dishes Lemon Spaghetti , Lobster Arancini , Pea Pesto Crostini , Marsala Herb Chicken Meatballs and our favorite, Lemon Ricotta Cookies jump off the page.
GIADA is a gastronomic party for its guests. Chefs prepare fresh pastas by hand, slice Italian meats, and make bread and desserts, all as guests watch with anticipation. We highly suggest a look at their wine list that features a nice section of Italian and California wines. For something a little stronger enjoy a signature cocktail or a tasty martini with blue cheese hand stuffed olives.
Giada’s opening is probably the most highly anticipated restaurant in the country. Giada De Laurentiis‘s GIADA will be a big hit with locals and visitors alike. Open for Lunch and Dinner, we highly recommend a visit to GIADA where the food, décor and atmosphere make you feel right at home with Giada herself. Who knows, Giada herself may see you at your table.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Downtown Las Vegas is constantly evolving with new bars and
restaurants opening almost weekly. Keeping with that pace, the farm-friendly
eatery and bar, WILD in downtown Las Vegas, has unveiled an all-new menu
developed by Chef Natalie Young, owner and chef of locals popular breakfast and
lunch restaurant, Eat. WILD’s new menu
stays true to its original intent to offer delectable comfort food favorites
with a healthy twist.
“We were honored to have Chef Natalie lend her years of
restaurant and culinary experience to us as a consultant and oversee the
development of a new menu that brings the restaurant to the next level,” said
Elyse Martin, general manager of WILD. “She has brought our menu from good to
New appetizers include Pulled Chicken Nachos and WILD’s own
guacamole and chips. Entrees include Emily’s Zucchini Pasta made with fresh
julienned zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, marinara, basil, garlic and parmesan
cheese and a half free-range Oven Roasted Chicken served with fingerling
potatoes and roasted seasonal vegetables. Tasty sandwiches also join the menu,
including an Ahi Tuna Burger and a double decker Chicken Salad Club.
Downtown Las Vegas is constantly evolving with new bars and restaurants opening almost weekly. Keeping with that pace, the farm-friendly eatery and bar, WILD in downtown Las Vegas, has unveiled an all-new menu developed by Chef Natalie Young, owner and chef of locals popular breakfast and lunch restaurant, Eat. WILD’s new menu stays true to its original intent to offer delectable comfort food favorites with a healthy twist.
|Chicken Salad Club.|
The menu retained some of the signature items, like a selection of its oven flatbreads, including the Wild White with mozzarella, truffle ricotta, cracked black pepper and arugula, as well as WILD’s popular gluten free cupcakes created by Pastry Chef Tatiana Lewis. To end a meal on a sweet note, WILD offers three cupcake flavors daily, including vegan chocolate with mocha frosting, vegan lemon with blueberry compote, and carrot cake with orange butter cream frosting.
|Tuna Shrimp Poke|
In addition to the new menu, WILD has hired new culinary and front of house team members, including Sous Chef Judy Dezarn-Mack, previously a sous chef at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa.
“Great food that just so happens to be gluten free, is their mantra and they live it. WILD’s new menu remains completely gluten free and continues to offer vegan options and whenever possible, using meats and cheeses that are hormone and antibiotic free, as well as local and organic produce.
This vibrant area is alive with locals and visitors alike, exploring the plethora of options awaiting them all day and into the night.
It’s a wonderful feeling to see a home town boy do well. In this case we are taking about a very special UNLV grad that has become a household name.
That name is none other than Guy Fieri. His highly anticipated Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar opened at the Quad Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Excited guests entered and were greeted by Guy Fieri himself who was at the door greeting and thanking his wide eyed patrons. He took time to sign autographs and take pictures before jumping back into the kitchen for dinner service.
The menu features a taste of Fieri’s signature cuisine, featuring bold flavors and unique twists on traditional dishes. His new venture is open for brunch, lunch, dinner and even late night dining. His 200 seat restaurant features a blend of casual foods including burgers, wings, tacos, small bites and shareable food items.
Over at the bar, we found an extensive drink menu featuring 16 craft beers, Sonoma County wine and a state of the art frozen tap system shot bar that creates a one-of-a kind experience for those that indulge. This very fun tap system bar dispenses eight different shots straight out of iced dispensers.
The 6,500 square foot space is highlighted by a large outdoor patio and dining area to seat patrons who are able to enjoy the panoramic views of the Las Vegas Strip. The cooking space features a metal, tile, and wood theme that closely resembles Fieri’s kitchen at home.
For a personal touch, Fieri’s tattoos are also incorporated as part of the design elements throughout the restaurant and bar, including coasters, napkins and dishware, as well as memorabilia from his alma mater, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
There is no doubt with his Food Network notoriety as well as his connection to the city, Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar will be an instant sensation on the famed Las Vegas strip.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Situated on the artsy suburban Alberta St. in the north-east side of Portland (Concordia neighborhood, or thereabouts), Aviary is an upscale dining spot for the hip young professionals of Portland that want to rebel against the chalkboard-and-communal-bench style eateries that populate the majority of the neighborhood.
It has a modern style bordering on sterility, but a severity that preludes the equivalent severity that characterizes their cuisine. Coming from Las Vegas, and a guest to the alien culture of P-land, it was refreshing to get the “Yes sir, right this way sir.” treatment again, as opposed to the “Comin’ right up boss, by the way if you like the Pixies you should come hear my band play at the Jukein’ Java on Sunday, no cover.” Unfortunately, the cocktail list did not benefit from the same forethought. Each of the four (out of ten) I tried looked alright on paper, unique ingredients or interpretations of classics, but in practice seemed like someone forgot to make them enjoyable.
The wine list could have made up for this, if even a third of their selections could come by the glass. This is kind of an odd situation, at least in my mind, as they share a name with one of the greatest cocktail spots on earth, Aviary (sister restaurant to the famous Alinea) of Chicago. Note, the Chicago Aviary has a dedicated Ice Chef, on par with the Sous or Pastry Chef, it’s THAT kind of cocktail bar.Honestly though, the best of their food should be enjoyed with the clearest mind. This is nothing that leans on crowd-pleasing fried goods or heavy-handed smoking.
Take for example; their Cauliflower Flan is an appropriate platform for an array of Japanese flavors, using sea urchin, salmon roe, crisp sweet potato, and a cold dashi broth. Creamy, savory, and spiked with peaks of the sea flavors, it is a very attention-grabbing dish. A dish that was a bit simpler, but still great, was the Chestnut Soup. Very creamy and nutty (obviously), but topped with a dollop of crème fraiche and crispy fried brussels sprout leaves made it a rich, addictive treat. There was a bit of bottarga grated on top, which could have been an interesting twist to it, but was just not enough to stand up to the rest. Crispy Pork Belly, which I would have assumed to be just another mandatory pork belly dish, was a great surprise.
Sure, you have little Asian spice-rubbed cubes of pork, but an accompaniment of an endive, pomegranate, edamame, and parsnip “slaw” tossed with a black sesame seed vinaigrette is what really puts the dish over the edge. Honestly, the slaw itself would have made a beautiful salad for any dish, but it’s crisp, almost smoky flavor was perfectly suited towards the fatty, savory pork belly. It really was the first pork belly dish in a very long time to warrant any attention past stuffing it down with a pint. Their mains seem like they were scaled-up versions of apps, but are no worse for the transition.
Dishes like their Four-Cup Chicken, a kind of Asian/Euro fusion of vegetable stuffed breast rolls, on a taro purée and thinly sliced wood-ear mushrooms, are always complex and well executed enough to stay interesting the whole way through. Even something that can be at first off-putting, like a Douglas Fir smoked NY strip steak, can end up being a pretty original and fun dish.
The smoke ends up just being a kind of herbal or resinous background note, not as overbearing as one would fear. The desserts are a matter of some acclaim for Aviary, and they are admittedly a good experience. Chocolate pudding, a dish becoming quite rare at places like this, is made from scratch in a very telling way. It’s a far cry from any kind of slick, slimy kids treat, and made quite delicious with the addition of black sesame ice cream, mango puree, and crispy candied rice. While the rice helped keep the dish from becoming a completely homogenous texture, it was still a bit like eating (rather high-end) jaw surgery food.
This dish needs something to raise it into the rest of the menu’s tier of quality. Aviary is not without flaws, but definitely rich in enough world-class food to more than make up for them. Hell, they could be serving their small plates in a crack house and it would still be worth a trip. Aviary survived a fire and four years in a very competitive and fine-dining resistant environment, and it’s because of dishes like their Cauliflower Flan, their Four-Cup Chicken, that just put themselves so head and shoulders above almost all their contemporaries.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Memorial Day marks the beginning of picnic season and summer fun that includes food-on-the-go. This year, discover how easy it is to save money and make treats you can take along on outings with family and friends.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Los Angeles Chef, Restaurateur Sam Marvin heads to Las Vegas with the Development of Five Culinary Concepts at the soon to be open Grand Bazaar shops.
Las Vegas is always changing and coming up with new concepts. When traveling, ever discover a great meat shop and wanted to ship your treasure home? Or treat your family to the best ice cream they've ever had, or some Paris-worthy macaroons? This fall, the Las Vegas strip has a treat for you.
Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Sam Marvin, known for originating creative culinary concepts, is launching no less than five of them at the upcoming Grand Bazaar Shops™, an outdoor retail, dining and entertainment destination to open this fall on the busiest corner of the Las Vegas Strip.
He first made his mark in Las Vegas from 1997-2002 as chef at Piero’s, which Zagat ranked as the top Italian restaurant in town during his tenure, he returned last fall to open the acclaimed Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse in Summerlin.
|Chef Sam Marvin|
This amazing Chef is known for his ambitious, best-in-class philosophy and is developing five separate shops selling artisanal cupcakes, ice cream, macaroons, meats and spices. “For me it was a no-brainer,” says Marvin. His is decision began with the unequaled location, Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, across from the Bellagio fountains and flanked by Bally’s Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas. One of the world’s busiest intersections, it’s a site that more than 20 million pedestrians walk through annually.
“Grand Bazaar Shops really fits my own brand,” says Marvin. Many of its tenants are firsts in Las Vegas, the U.S. or worldwide, with some of its key retailers to date including Swarovski, Swatch, Superdry, Havaianas and Campo Marzio.
Five shops “felt like the right number” stated Marvin, who spread them around the two-acre property, choosing the best location for each 144-sq. ft. business. His ice cream boutique will be right on the Strip at the front, appealing to those who stroll by. Having lived in Europe for ten years, where specialty shops of all kinds gain a reputation for being “the best,” Marvin sought to develop a similar, must-visit destination offering “chef driven, artisan quality ice cream,” with a curated selection of rotating flavors and forms.
Marvin’s philosophy of launching venues that fulfill people’s needs, rather than just the whims of imaginative chefs, comes to life in his cupcake shop. “A cupcake is an easy sweet to pick up, something small and decadent!” he says, and as the father of a nine-year-old and a six-year-old, he recognizes their appeal. With a nearby kitchen to make all of his cupcakes fresh daily, his portable desserts will taste as good as they look, many topped by fanciful designs.
“At Bottega Louie we’d sell literally hundreds of macaroons a day,” Marvin says, and he liked the idea of opening a macaroon shop in the complex “near another cool brand” like Swarovski. Macaroons were one of the first concept shops he considered when he signed a lease more than a year ago, becoming one of the first official tenants of Grand Bazaar Shops.
We look forward to this Fall where we can see the famed Las Vegas strip can another world class venue.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Dallas Texas, widely known for its BBQ, Mexican cuisine and Steakhouses has a new star to add this renowned city and Lone Star state. Nationally acclaimed, James Beard-nominated and Bravo's "Top Chef" contestant Chef John Tesar will open KNIFE late-April in downtown Dallas on 5300 E. Mockingbird Lane.
Chef Tesar is well regarded for his modern American cuisine prepared with classic European techniques. His culinary artistry has garnered much acclaim throughout his 20+ years in the restaurant industry, most recently including a 2014 James Beard Foundation "Best Chef Southwest" nomination. Knife is Tesar's second restaurant in Dallas, including his highly acclaimed Spoon Bar & Kitchen, which has been recognized by Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit and Esquire as one of the best new restaurants.
"I have traveled across Texas and America eating in just about every known steakhouse to see how to improve upon the experience, first from a quality and creative standpoint and then economically," said Tesar. "I want to up the ante on the steakhouse and give people a little of what they expect from a traditional steakhouse, but also surprise them with specialty cuts you rarely find cooked in unique ways."
"All of our restaurants are driven by very creative individual chefs who focus on local, sustainable ingredients and seasonal menus. We're excited to collaborate on Knife with Chef John Tesar, who is a clear talent on Dallas' dining scene," said James Lin, SVP of Restaurants and Bars at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. "He brings a unique concept and a true visionary culinary team that will give our guests an experience they won't find anywhere else."
You can expect the highest quality ingredients reflecting true Texas roots. Chef Tesar has built relationships with Texan ranchers and farmers including Heartbrand Beef and 44 Farms to ensure the best sourced meats. Gastronomic delights at Knife will meld classic and modern steakhouse dishes featuring all-natural born and raised Texas beef, pork and lamb in dry-aged prime cuts prepared in cast irons and customary steakhouse broilers, as well as specialty cuts such as chuck flap, outside skirt, tri tip, culet, beef cheeks, beef tongue, oxtail as well as rich, exotic Akaushi beef.
Unlike most steakhouses, the menu will incorporate an extensive charcuterie program, grass-fed bison and lamb and specialty breeds of pork, chicken and seasonal game birds, as well as a full line of house made sausages, hot dogs and brats. Tesar will even feature his signature C-Vap cooked burgers, praised for their perfectly medium-cooked insides foregoing the heavily charred edges that regular pan preparation causes.
Bring your friends, share and socialize. KNIFE offers larger portions or "Slabs" to share for groups, as well as interactive dishes such as pork belly brisket, house cured pastrami and pig's head served with international bread and sauces. In the mood for pasta? Knife makes all pasta in-house, and offers fresh seafood and vegetarian main dishes, family-style seasonal salads and raw bar selections.
For the Fini , dive into desserts including "Cheesecake 2.0" with cheesecake mousse and ice cream, liquid graham crackers and berry foam; the caramel pretzel with caramel coulant and Valrhona dulcey panna cotta; and chocolate cake with caramel foam, caramelia milk chocolate ice cream and chocolate panna cotta.
It’s not just about incredible food at KNIFE. It takes teamwork and Tesar has assembled quite a team. Design firm Breckinridge/Taylor created a space and platform to display his unique brand of culinary artistry with an artistic and appealing design. The decor offers modern sophistication combined with traditional steakhouse elements that one would expect with rich fabrics, leather upholstered chairs, rustic chandeliers and warm wood paneling.
Knife's culinary team, of course, was selected by Tesar. Chef de Cuisine Jeffrey Kent, who has opened numerous restaurants, including Arizona 206 and Bistro 26, both earning accolades from the New York Times will captain the ship. Long before the term "farm to table" was commonplace, Kent was connecting a large network of fish suppliers directly with producers. Master Pastry Chef and James Beard award semifinalist David Collier reinvents classic desserts in his signature modernist fashion while local mixologist Michael Martensen and advanced sommelier Scott Barber have designed the opening bar and wine program to complement the menu with a strong emphasis on creativity and individuality. Sabrina Snodderly, the original sommelier from Spoon, will manage the wine program on-site.
KNIFE will be open seven nights a week and will become a vibrant hotspot after the sun goes down, with host DJs spinning and a late night dining menu until 1 a.m. on the weekends. Dallas has a new place to sip, dine and party. KNIFE will quickly rise be on the top of everyone’s list to visit.