Disclaimer: being from a land of a zillion restaurants (SF) and having traveled extensively, my expectations are high and my foodometer runs on a different scale from many. Interpret accordingly.
We're staying at Bellagio and caught in a decision loop between Picasso, Le Cirque, Prime, Michael Mina and Shintaro, we went for Shintaro. Le Cirque's menu looked attractive but we felt we're going to be stuffed and we've been eating very well for last 3 days. Picasso is helmed by Julian Serrano who used to cook at Masa's, one of SF's top restaurants but Masa's was never a favorite of mine and I prefer modern art so down went Picasso. Michael Mina - same story. He has a place in SF and while it's great, we're not fans of it. Prime didn't have reservations. Given time and money, I would go to Prime first, then Le Cirque or Picasso and skip Michael Mina.
Shintaro is Bellagio's Asian entry. It's pan-Asian with some fusion aspects but it tries hard to remain faithful to the original recipe in any given dish. The front of Shintaro's space is a sushi bar with a huge watertank full of jellyfish highlighted in yellow, blue and red. Very nice! We had a tasting menu ($85) and a few lychee martinis ($12). The lychee martinis were fantastic. The tasting menu was mostly a hit but we felt it was a little too much food and we would have done better ordering individual entrees. As everything in Bellagio, it was a poor value.
On the tasting menu were:
1. Seared ahi tuna with plum sauce
2. Crab cakes with wasabi aioli/mayo on top of mushrooms in some sort of pepper sauce
3. Rock shrimp with chili mint sauce
5. Green tea creme brulee with fudge and chocolates
Rock shrimp was the best of the bunch, closely followed by the green tea creme brulee. I'd grade shrimp 10 out of 10 and 8.5-9/10 for the creme brulee. The crust on the brulee needed a lot of work but the content, flavor and consistency of the custard was fantastic.
Crab cakes were good inside and as it became obvious to us throughout the meal, had excellent 'sides' and 'sauce'. Unfortunately they were not crispy at all. My grade: 7/10. Sushi/sashimi plate had two pieces of maguro sashimi and one piece of ebi (shrimp) nigiri, sake (salmon) nigiri and halibut nigiri. Ebi nigiri was killer, one of the best I've ever had! The rest was above average but far from the best in my experience. The seared tuna was mediocre at best, maybe 5/10.
We're going to have dinner at Red Square (Mandalay Bay) tonight and at Commander's Palace tomorrow - stay tuned for those reviews :)
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