The Cuisineist is always looking to introduce our readers to a variety of Restaurants , Chefs and experience their unique spin on what are many times classic dishes. On this visit we drop in on Executive Chef Kim Canteenwalla at the Society Cafe .
The ENCORE at the Wynn has many great dining venues. One of them is Society Cafe headed up by renown Executive Chef Kim Canteenwalla. Chef brought 25 years of culinary expertise to the Encore when he joined forces with Steve Wynn to open Society Café Encore as Executive Chef/Partner.
His restaurant offers a classic American menu of old school favorites with a special twist from Canteenwalla . Society is one the few restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even late night on weekends.
Canteenwalla began his culinary career in Montreal at the Institute of St. Denis. He continued to work in his native Canada as Sous Chef for the luxury five-star Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto and went on to serve in executive chef positions that took him all over the world, including Raffles International Hotel Group, Hotel Le Royal Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Grand Mirage Resort Bali, Indonesia.
When he returned to North America, Chef Canteenwalla held the position of executive chef at Beau Rivage, and was then recruited to serve as executive chef for the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.Gourmet Festival in Chef Canteenwalla has participated in international culinary events as well . He was the guest chef at the Hilton in Shanghai for the Formula One Races and appeared at the Bon Appétit Wine and Spirits focus in San Francisco and Las Vegas, the Grand Jury European and the DavidoffKitzbuhel, Austria. He was invited to prepare a Guest Chef dinner and lecture to the graduate students at the internationally famed Swiss Ecole Hoteliere in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2005, he teamed up with chef and partner Kerry Simon for Food Network’s “Iron Chef America Series,” and came home home a winner.
The best way we could describe Society Cafe is "trying to bridge the gap". The decor definitely reminded us of a upscale Parisian cafe , however the food is fine dining all the way. What a better place to relax and hang out but in a casual cafe with very upscale dishes along with a wonderful wine list and classic cocktails.
Taking a look at Society's wine list we chose a Barbieri Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard Santa Barbara County 2006. We know this area very well and knew this Syrah should pair well with whatever Chef would surprise us with. In the glass , this lovely full bodied Syrah showed dark intense deep red to purple colors with hints of french Oak on the nose and aromas of blackberries , smoke and violets as the wine opened with a long lingering finish.
With so many small bites to choose from, Chef Kim decided to send over a sampling of some of the most popular starters and the "hits" just came coming most of the night.
GRANDMA ROSE’S MEATBALLS
Beef & Veal, Caramelized Onions, Tomato & Horseradish Sauce
SPICY PIGS IN THE BLANKET
Smokey House Ketchup
MAC ‘N CHEESE “BITES”
Truffle Dipping Sauce
After all of these "starters" we still had to get ready for the Entrees that were soon to follow.
GRILLED JIDORI CHICKEN
Yukon Mashed Potatoes, Garden Beans, Chicken Jus
This full bone in Chicken breast with the garden beans was a complex blend of delicious juicy flavors of Chicken and creamy Yukon mashed potatoes.
Slow braised lamb shank with goat cheese and polenta on top of a sauce made of red beets.
The lamb was braised for 6-8 hours and produced a mouth watering, fall off the bone meat that was extremely tender. With the hardy flavors of lamb, goat cheese and the creamy texture of the polenta, we were given a dish that was very difficult not to finish to the last bite. The Syrah paired perfectly with all the earthy and robust flavors of the dish.
And for the grand finale Chef recommended his Warm Donut " Bites " with Chocolate and Carmel Dipping sauces to finish up our culinary experience at Society. These Donuts arrived in a traditional "white sack" Even after these delicious treats were gone , the second best treat was smelling the aromas of those freshly baked donuts still trapped in the bag.
Espresso Chocolate Martini
Van Gogh Espresso Vodka, Dark Creme de Cacao and half and half
Chef Kim Canteenwalla sat down and explained his newest concept , The Society Lunch box. What a wonderful way to enjoy 3 mouth watering courses for a very reasonable $23. Chef explained to save time, all three courses are served at once.
For the first course, you can choose from two soups or four salads including a hearty market chop salad or roasted tomato bisque.
Second course options include delicious sandwiches like rare tuna or filet mignon. And for the last course but certainly not least , Society’s signature warm donut bites served in a paper bag.
Society Cafe under the guidance of Executive Chef Kim Canteenwalla is a must stop for anyone who wants to experience a real culinary journey from morning to the early morning hours , no matter what time of day, the service and menu are sure to impress.