After a less than stellar lunch, J. and I were hoping to get back into the successful groove of great dining in Las Vegas. Although, we decided to take a chance and leave the city limits of Vegas and go to its largest suburb Henderson for dinner. (Interestingly enough, Henderson is now larger than Reno. Who knew?)
We took our time getting to Todd’s Unique Dining on Sunset Road and were able to get a parking spot right in front of the entrance. Again, another restaurant in a standard-built strip mall.
Upon entering we were immediately greeted and taken to a quiet table toward the back of the restaurant. We were handed menus along with a recitation of the specials of the day.
Moments later, our server appeared with water and asked for our drink order. I had a Diet Coke ($3.00) and J. had an Iced Tea ($3.00). She then asked us if we had any questions about the menu and gave us a few extra minutes to make our selections. I am glad she did because we had a tough time decided on everything, but we did finally make up our minds.
Our server returned with our drinks and then took our order. We both were excited to try the Goat Cheese Wontons with Raspberry Basil Sauce ($8.00), the Flatbread with Apple ($9.00) and the Honey Curried Nuts ($5.00) for our appetizers. For our entrees, J. selected the Boneless Braised Short Ribs with Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes ($27.00) and I had the Kobe Skirt Steak on Fire with Homemade Chili Cheese Fries ($26.00). I also ordered a House Salad ($7.00) and J. had the Frissee Salad ($9.00).
Moments after ordering, our server brought us a loaf of herb buttered bread and a side of room temperature butter. The bread was hot, fresh and very aromatic. The crust was slightly chewy and the herbs really enhanced the flavor of the bread. It was a very satisfying start to the meal.
About 10 minutes later, our appetizers started arriving. The first one to arrive at the table was the Goat Cheese Wontons in Raspberry Basil Sauce. We weren’t quite sure what to expect and J. mocked the fact that we had eaten more goat cheese in the past three days than in the previous year. The five wontons were golden brown and pipping hot. We dredged the ones we grabbed through the raspberry sauce and brought them to our individual plates before cutting into them. They were very hot and the cheese was soft and warm inside its wonton shell. The first taste was dynamic. The goat cheese was creamy and smooth and the crunch of the wonton wrapper was great. We both loved the raspberry basil sauce which was tart, slightly bitter and lightly sweet. Putting it all together, it made for a widely successful dish.
Next up was the Flatbread with Apples. Two long, thin slices of toasted flatbread were layered with apples, arugula and a balsamic vinegar reduction. In concept, it seemed like a good plan, but in execution, it just didn’t wow us. The ingredients were certainly top notch but the flavors were about as flat as the bread. I did like the crispness of the flatbread and the bite of the peppery arugula, but the apples seemed to be missing something. I am pretty sure they used Roma or some other red apple on this production, but I think the sweetness of the balsamic really called for a Granny Smith or other tart apple. It wasn’t terrible, by any means, but rather wasn’t as bold as the other items we would have that evening.
Our final appetizer was the Honey Curried Nuts. Oh, were these ever so tasty. Assorted nuts were heated in a thick honey-based glaze and then dusted with curry powder and various herbs. They were excellent for snacking and the savory nature of the curry was wonderful. The honey paired so well with the curry. J. and I both joked about them being dusted with Methadone so we would keep grabbing more. J. was correct that these would be a very nice change from Chex Mix at our next party.
We were still munching on the nuts when our salads arrived. J.’s Frissee Salad was gorgeous. A sizable portion of frissee lettuce had been tossed with a red wine and mustard vinaigrette and lamb bacon. Yes, lamb bacon. I thought J. was going to explode: “It’s lamb. It’s bacon. I am in heaven.” Okay then. The final bit of the salad was a perfectly poached egg resting on top waiting for a fork to pierce its beautiful white exterior and expose its sunshine yoke. What caught J. off guard was the fact that the entire salad was hot. What surprised me was that at that temperature the frissee was still crunchy. The flavors were exquisite and we were both very happy. What a treat.
My House Salad was much more than your average house salad. The plate of greens also had tomatoes, cucumbers and a generous smattering of diced artichokes. This ensemble had been tossed with a very light, tart and superb lemon balsamic vinaigrette. This was perfect to separate the appetizers from the entrees. I had no complaints and J. was very pleased with the simplicity of the salad and how light the dressing was.
We had a small window of time between our salads and our entrees. I mentioned to J. that I had initially been concerned with the noise level but it didn’t pan out to be a problem at all. The dark interior and the general layout of the room with banquettes on the sides and tables in the middle did a good job of keeping the noise at bay. The restaurant was very comfortable.
When my Kobe Skirt Steak with Chili Cheese Fries arrived, the aroma of the plate hit my nostrils with a might force. The scent was outstanding and I could tell immediately this was going to be a very spicy dish. J.’s “oooh!” and “awww!” told me he gave his approval to the presentation. The steak had been marinated in various forms of chile and then grilled and sliced into bite-sized pieces and topped with a black bean sauce. The chili cheese fries were crispy, homemade fries topped with a black bean chili and grated cheese. I took a bite of the steak and a smile crossed my face immediately. The meat was tender and flavorful and the chile marinade was outstanding. Whew, this was very spice and I loved every minute. I then tried one of the chili cheese fries. Oh, was this a big hit for my taste buds. First, the potatoes were perfect. Crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside was the way to go. The chili did not drown the fries but enhanced the fries quite nicely. J. tried my dish and immediately said that the next time we came to Todd’s, he would be getting my dish.
J.’s Boneless Braised Short Ribs were a masterpiece. A huge portion of the meat was resting atop a dollop of Jalapeno Mashed potatoes and a touch of J.’s fork had the meat melting. There was no need for a knife. Simply touch, stab and eat. J. raved about the dish, particularly how well the meat had been treated. The braising broke the meat down and the juices were fantastic. Each bite was an event worth savoring. J. noted how well the crisp onions and the sauce were the perfect counterparts to the meat. He also loved the mashed potatoes with just a bit of heat from the peppers and the luscious sauce that had drained down from the meat onto them. The entire dish was wonderful and I loved it as well.
After a wonderful meal, our server returned and asked us if we wanted dessert. Being very full, we decided to split a dessert and agreed upon the Creme Brulee ($7.00). We also ordered two glasses of the Ice Wine ($10.00 each) to round out the entire meal.
We waited no more than a few minutes before our wine arrived. J. and I both adore Ice Wine. It is such a wonderful treat. (Please forgive me for not remembering the winemaker of this.) The glasses we had were robust, sweet, and decadent. This was a great after dinner drink.
Our Creme Brulee was brought to the table and it was a classic presentation. A small bowl was filled with the thick, rich custard and the top had a prefect crust on it. The dish was decorated with a large strawberry, raspberries and blueberries. The audible crack of the top as we plunged our spoons into the dish signaled they had done a great job in the kitchen. The brulee was perfect. Not cloyingly sweet and a delicious melted sugar top. We couldn’t have asked for better of this classic attempt.
We finished up the wine and requested the bill. The total was $134.04 including tax. Joining Todd’s email list prior to our trip had garnered us a $25.00 coupon off two entrees, so our actual total was $109.04. At $134, we thought our meal was a very good value. At $109, this was a bona fide steal. The meal was very good and we were not displeased (although we were somewhat disappointed with the flatbread). Service was very friendly, attentive and accommodating.
We left Henderson and headed back to our hotel talking about the experience and thinking that we had been blessed with some great meals in Vegas, including Todd’s.
Then, reality set in and we knew that we were heading back home the next day.
With the lights of the Strip twinkling in the background. J. and I took it all in and spoke little on the drive back.
Todd’s Unique Dining
4350 East Sunset Road
Henderson, NV 89014
Dress: Resort casual on up.
Hours: Dinner daily from 4:30 to Close.
Notes: The local Costco’s in Las Vegas have gift card for Todd’s. The cost is $79.99 for $100.00 worth of value.
Alcohol: Full bar and nice wine list.
Website: http://www.toddsunique.com (You can see videos on the site of how the Wontons, Skirt Steak and Shortribs are created.
Additional photos can be found at www.feastinginphoenix.com
Todd's Unique Dining
4350 E. Sunset Rd., Henderson, NV 89014