Restaurants & Bars 2

Las Vegas Dining Report

westie | Jan 14, 200802:24 AM

The following summarizes our 14 days of feasting in Las Vegas:

Agave - I-215 @ Charleston

We first dined at this gorgeous Mexican restaurant on our September trip. Warm blue and white corn tortilla chips were served with a pair of salsas and a warm bean dip. My wife ordered the blue corn chicken enchiladas and a soda. I opted for the taco sampler again, this time receiving what I ordered, namely birria (goat), rock shrimp and carnitas (pulled pork). In order to meet the $35 minimum purchase requirement on our restaurant.com (R.com) gift certificate we were forced to order a coffee flan. Our bill exceeded the requirement by a mere 81 cents before tax and gratuity were added. ($18.59, 4 Forks out of 5) http://agavelasvegas.com/location.html

Ararat Pastry - 9440 W Sahara

This small bakery is owned by an Armenian couple, but the desserts are made by a Brazilian man who was trained by a world famous French pastry chef. The choices were mind boggling and my wife wasn’t available for consultation so I winged it by ordering a white chocolate mousse and an Armenian Napoleon to go. The Armenian Napoleon, a light, layered concoction with custardy cream in phyllo dough that was pure heaven. The white chocolate mousse, consumed the day following, was not as successful being more like a cheesecake with hard pieces of chocolate throughout. ($5.50, 5 Forks for Napoleon, 2 Forks for the mousse)

Binion’s Deli - 128 Fremont Street

We shared a corned beef sandwich on a Kaiser roll with pickles and a side of potato salad plus 2 sodas. The corned beef these days is nuked prior to serving which is yet one more example of the continuing decline of Binion’s. ($8, 1.5 Fork)

Chapala's - 2101 Decatur

I found a 2/1 coupon in the print edition of the RJ. We dined at the Tropicana location approximately 4 years ago and thought the food was more than decent. I arriving on a Sunday evening it took awhile for anyone to wait on us after being seated, but we eventually were served industrial taco chips and two bottled salsas. Our cheese enchiladas were accompanied by the usual refried beans, dried out Spanish rice and iceberg lettuce salad. The enchiladas were tasty, but everything else was very mediocre. ($12.70, 1 Fork)

Food Express - 2003 S Decatur Blvd

Neither the name, location in front of the Fantastic Swap Meet nor physical appearance would suggest fine dining, but fine dining is what we enjoyed. Unlike many Asian restaurants, service was both cheerful and attentive. We shared orders of sautéed shrimp coated with mayonnaise with honey walnuts, Singapore rice noodles and pea leaves with garlic. The latter was not on the menu and relatively expensive at $11, but delicious. ($35.68, 4.5 Forks)

Gaetano's - 10271 S Eastern, Henderson

This restaurant is very much a family affair with the wife serving as maitre d, the husband reciting the night’s specials and the son serving as our waiter. We shared a Caesar salad that was disappointing, but our pasta entrees saved the evening. My wife ordered ravioli do zucca al burro e salvia - homemade ravioli stuffed with roasted butternut squash, topped with brown butter and sage. I ordered the mezzaluna di vitello con Porcini - homemade half moon pasta filled with veal, served with peas, prosciutto and porcini mushrooms in a light cream sauce. Both pasta dishes were bursting with flavor and I rated mine as the best entrée of the trip. We used a coupon for 50% off a second entrée that I located on the Las Vegas Review Journal’s (RJ) website. ($40.89, 4 Forks)

Patsy Grimaldi's Coal Fired Pizza - 9595 S Eastern, Henderson

This rapidly expanding pizzeria franchise originated in Brooklyn and currently operates 6 restaurants in Arizona and Las Vegas. We ordered a large white pizza with fresh tomatoes and basil. The place was very busy so it took a while for the pizza to be served and we immediately noticed a piece was missing. The manager accidentally dropped a piece on the floor while slicing our pizza. Rather having us wait for another pizza to be prepared, they served us the original and offered to prepare a personal pizza. I protested and told him we probably wouldn’t be able to finish the pizza anyways and couldn’t take the second pizza with us since we were on vacation. The pizza was very good, but the crust was not quite as crunchy or tasty as those prepared on Wooster Street in New Haven. Just as we were about finished a personal pizza arrived that we were encouraged to take it with us. Prior to departing for this trip my wife signed up the company newsletter and subsequently was emailed a coupon for a free pizza during her birthday month which we used. ($5, 3 Forks)

Hummus Mediterranean Grill - 2980 S Durango Dr

This small unassuming restaurant was virtually empty on this Sunday evening. My wife ordered the chicken shish kebab that was served sans the kebab, but included rice pilaf, a grilled pepper, grilled tomato, sumac onion and Greek salad. The rice pilaf was very bland and the grilled items had been prepared hours in advance. I ordered the chicken sharwama – an enormous serving of what was billed as sliced, but looked like pulled dark meat chicken that had been marinated in special shawarama spices and served with hummus, Greek salad and garlic sauce. The latter was a solid mass of something that I have never seen and only mildly hinted of garlic. The entire dish was visually unappealing and not particularly flavorful. In the restaurant’s defense we dined on a Sunday night only an hour or so before closing time. ($16.98, R com, 1 Fork)

Jerry’s Famous Coffee Shop (Jerry’s Nugget) - 1821 Las Vegas Blvd N
North Las Vegas

We ordered a bread pudding and a piece of chocolate swirl cheesecake to go. We had to wait a few minutes because the bread pudding was not quite ready. The cashier seemed confused on how to handle my coupon and when I suggested she just deduct the cheaper item she grew a little testy. Instead of deducting the cheapest ($2.50), she deducted the most expensive ($4.50). Maybe this is what makes Jerry’s Cofffee shop famous? The cheesecake was very creamy and tasty, but the bread pudding was pure heaven. ($2.69, ACG, 4 Forks)

McCormick & Schmicks (M&S) - 335 Hughes Center Drive

Due to snow in Chicago where we changed planes, we arrived approximately an hour after our 7:15PM reservation, but were greeted with Happy Birthday (my wife) wishes and seated in a booth as requested. A bountiful mixed green salad with bleu cheese and candied walnuts in a light vinaigrette dressing was shared. My wife’s entrée was cashew crusted tilapia with Jamaican rum butter and tropical salsa which came with crisp green beans and white rice. I ordered the pecan crusted catfish with Cajun remoulade sauce that was served with mashed potatoes plus a mix of crisp green and yellow beans. Service was attentive and the food delicious. I used a $25 gift certificate received after joining this chain’s Preferred Guest program. ($26.18, 4 Forks)

A week later we returned and shared a spinach salad with fennel and cranberries tossed with a basil dressing that sounded much better than it tasted. We each ordered the seafood fettucine – rock shrimp and bay scallops in a garlic cream sauce. This dish was very tasty, but the bay scallops were the smallest I have ever seen. ($27.90, R.com, 2.5 Forks)

On our last night in town we started off with the fried calamari appetizer with three sauces which were light and flavorful. My wife ordered the swordfish “au povre” which was finished in a pomegranate demi glace, chanterlles, asparagus and a truffle potato cake. I ordered corvine devon port, similar to seabass, which was roasted in pecan honey butter and accompanied by Brussel sprouts and fingerling potatoes. Both dishes were excellent though on returning home, I googled corvine devon port unsuccessfully. We finished the meal by sharing a gingerbread crème brulee. The total bill pre tax and gratuity after deducting a $75 gift certificate came to 75 cents. After this meal you could have trussed me up because I was already stuffed. ($17.61, 4 Forks)

Orchid's Garden - 5485 W Sahara

We were one of the first to arrive on a Saturday, but the room filled up over the next hour. I failed to write down what we ate, but 5 of the 7 dishes we tried contained pretty much the same ingredients of ground pork and shrimp. The best dish was the egg tarts with the worst being the barbecued pork bun which was all bun, no pork. ($16.40, 1 Fork)

Origin India - 4480 Paradise Road

On our first visit of this trip we were served housemade papadum with mint and tamarind sauces followed by a complimentary sweet potato salad that managed to be both spicy and cooling. My wife ordered the lamb chop masala - small tender chops that had been cooked in masala sauce. The lamb chops were most and delicious though the masala sauce on the top was a bit heavy handed. My entrée was chicken makhani, aka butter chicken, melt-in-your mouth pieces of chicken cooked in a creamy tomato sauce. Both entrees included basmati rice, a black lentil dipping sauce, naan and an unadorned salad. I previously signed up online for the restaurant’s VIP club and used a 2/1 entrée coupon that was emailed to me shortly before we departed for this trip. ($30.86, 4.5 Forks)

We were the only customers this Saturday afternoon so I suspect luncheon hours may be curtailed in the future. We each ordered chicken kebab roll – grilled tandoor chicken wrapped in a Romali roll. Lunches include a choice of ice tea or soda, we chose the former. The flavor of our chicken kebab roll was truly amazing, but the amount of food was more than we needed. The cost of the meal is net of a $10 coupon received after I provided feedback on our experience in September. ($11.62, 4.5 Forks)

On our third visit of the trip we were once again served complimentary papadum with mint and tamarind sauces. Orders of chicken Chettinad - boneless thigh pieces cooked with pounded southern spices with a hint of coconut and lamb Rajwari - boneless lamb cooked with spices, tomatoes, yogurt and a touch of cashew were shared. Both dishes included a vegetable dish, naan, rice and salad. We used a printable 2/1 coupon that had been emailed to members of the restaurant’s VIP club. ($25.65, 4.5 Forks)

Paymon’s Mediterranean Café - 8380 W Sahara

We shared a flaming saganaki appetizer served with pita bread – a slice of Kefalotyri (Greek) cheese that has been sauteed and then flambéed with rum and finished with a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice. This dish was not flambéed tableside as is customary, but it was quite tasty though very filling. My wife’s entree was moussaka - a layered casserole of sliced eggplant, onions, potato and ground beef topped with a bechamel sauce. It was accompanied by a small cup of vegetables and plain basmati rice. I ordered fesenjan, a Persian dish – pieces of boneless chicken slowly cooked with crushed walnuts in a tangy semi-sweet pomegranate sauce and served with a large mound of plain basmati rice. In order to meet the minimum dollar amount required under the terms of our restaurant.com certificate I was forced to consume an order of Athens fries as well. Overall we were under whelmed by this dining experience. ($21.66, R.com, 2 Forks) http://www.paymons.com/med_main.html

Pho Kim Long - 4029 Spring Mountain Rd

After seeing Mama Mia earlier in the evening, we decided we needed some sustenance. My wife ordered bun tom thit nuong, also known as old #43 - charbroiled shrimp & egg roll with rice vermicelli served cold. I ordered pho tai, #10 – rare steak noodle soup with basil, sprouts and lime. I requested the steak on the side and cranked up the spice level through a liberal application of hot chili sauce. The beef was amazingly lean, the veggies fresh and pho delicious. I shudder to think of the battle that was waged in my stomach that evening having dined at Origin India at lunch and pho for dinner, but I managed to sleep like a baby. ($17, 4 Forks) http://www.usmenuguide.com/pholong.html

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