Dining highlights from our recently concluded two-week trip:
9/20 We dined at Lindo Michoacan a family-operated, upscale Mexican restaurant located on Sunset Road in Henderson. The usual complimentary chips and salsa were served along with a bean dip. Based on a Las Vegas Weekly review, ( http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/2003/10... ) I requested the excellent, though spicy, chipotle salsa. Ms. Westie ordered the cammarones dionisia shrimp in a combination of green chilies blended with sour cream. I chose camarones sarandeados estillo Tia Estther pointing to the menu listing rather trying to recall my Spanish vocabulary skills. This dish is not for those with acid reflux, it is shrimp basted in sarandeados sauce with a selection of dried chilies and secret spices blended with a touch of mayonnaise spicy, but wonderful. Entrees include a cup of delicious sopa fideos (hearty broth laced with noodles), Mexican rice and refried beans. The use of cheese throughout was understated (amen). This is the best Mexican restaurant we have patronized in Las Vegas. 4.5 Forks out of a possible 5.
09/21 The restaurant of choice this evening was Soul 2 Soul Bistro on North Rainbow
http://www.usmenuguide.com/soul2soul.htm ). This restaurant was chosen as a Best of Las Vegas staff selection in the soul food category, but Creole and Caribbean dishes are also served. The restaurants décor was quite attractive and service was, contrary to published reviews, fairly efficient. We were served a light corn bread while we waited for our entrees of mesquite grilled salmon served with mango salsa, plantains and a tasty (dirty?) rice. The least satisfying part of our dining experience was the fish, overcooked and surprisingly bland. 2 Forks
09/22 Lunch today was at Commanders Palace in the Desert Passage for their $18.80, 3-course Creole lunch. Ms. Westie and I each selected the turtle soup au sherry, blackened Mississippi catfish and banana praline white chocolate bread pudding. This was unadulterated gastronomic decadence! Oh yeah. I almost forgot to mention those 25-cent martinis!!
Round 1 Westie orders a lemon drop, Ms. Westie squares off with a Cosmo (Westie wins round)
Round 2 Westie responds with a Commanders Palace, Ms. Westie counters with a lemon drop (draw)
Round 3 Westie retaliates with a Commanders Palace, Ms. Westie passes (receives a standing 8 count)
Round 4 Westie finishes Ms. Westies lemon drop (Ms. Westie was TKOd and POed)
In contrast to other reports on this lunch, the restaurant was packed this afternoon. Our sole complaint was they ran out of martini glasses and served our first martinis in whisky glasses. What the isnt that illegal? I managed to persuade our server to hold off on a second round until he located two (clean) martini glasses. As I exited singing We are family, all the Brennans and me, the maitre d handed each of us a praline. 5 Forks
09/23 Dinner tonight was at the Mayflower Cuisiner on West Sahara. http://www.usmenuguide.com/mayflower....
This is a gorgeous Asian restaurant, a past recipient of a Best of Las Vegas award in the Chinese category, with impeccable service and décor. The mother is the chef and her two children serve as waiter and hostess/bartender. Our entrée in February received an unqualified rating of 5 Forks so we decided not to test fate and again ordered the miso-sake, crusted seabass with chicken ravioli, veggies and rice cake. This time the meal was over sauced detracting from subtle flavors we had so enjoyed in the past. 2.5 Forks.
09/24 No lunch today so we arrived at the Ambiance Bakery & Bistro hungry. This is a 32-seat French restaurant located on East Sunset in Henderson. http://www.gayot.com/restaurantpages/.... There were less than a handful of patrons this Saturday evening and a sign hung from the front door informing others that the restaurant would be closing early. We learned owner/chef Jean-Pierre Giron had a number of wedding cakes/desserts to prepare for Sunday and his lone helper had been hospitalized earlier in the day. Our salmon in champagne sauce entrees were accompanied by sliced potatoes and fresh veggies. The fish was moist and everything was sublime. Portions did not seem overly large, but still left no room for one of his signature desserts. BTW his desserts are available at the Palms. 4.5 Forks.
09/25 On every trip in recent memory we have enjoyed a meal at Ventanos Corner & Oyster Bar in Henderson and this trip would be no exception. http://www.usmenuguide.com/ventano.html Beautiful views of the valley at night, excellent southern Italian cuisine and affordable prices proved to be a winning trifecta. We shared a fabulous warm spinach salad, a delicious eggplant rollatini (think lotta ricotta), a more than satisfying side order of cappelini with marinara and a killer crème brulee. Kudos is extended to our waitress Amy for not assessing the plate splitting charge. 4.5 Forks.
09/26 Swish Japanese Hot Pot on West Sahara was our dining destination this evening.
This recently opened restaurant serves 2 types of hotpot, shabu-shabu and sukiyaki. The staff is very friendly and patiently walks newbies through the entire process from ordering to cooking. We selected seafood (shrimp, salmon, tilapia and scallops) shabu-shabu. Veggies, tofu, mushrooms, and (2) types of noodles accompany each entrée. You cook your own food in a hot pot filled with a seaweed-enhanced water and then dip each cooked item in one of 2 sauces. You are encouraged to adjust the sauces to taste by adding chili sauce, scallions, hot pepper sauce, minced garlic and/or minced white radish. The broth is not consumed, as is the case with Vietnamese Pho. Unlimited rice is included and prices are reasonable. It was truly a unique and delicious dining experience. 4 Forks.
09/27 Dinner this evening is at Comos a French restaurant in Lake Las Vegas. Owner/chef Joseph Keller is the co-founder with his brother Thomas of Napa Valleys Buchon. His brother also operates the highly acclaimed French Laundry, Buchon at the Venetian and Per Se. Based on this dining experience, Joseph is the less talented of Mrs. Kellers sons. Our meal started off with a white bean, anchovy, garlic and EVO spread delivered to our table with hot rolls. Ms. Westie opted for the crispy skin salmon served with cippolini onions, Peruvian potatoes, kalamata and asparagus tips in a sundried tomatoes tapenade. I chose the roasted chicken over garlic spinach accompanied by Josephs signature French fries cooked in duck fat. I believe Heidi, the Review Journals restaurant reviewer, must have based her rating on these fries because we found both entrees to be unremarkable. http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_hom... 2 Forks.
09/28 Dinner tonight was at Rosemarys on West Sahara.
This restaurant has been selected as the Best of Las Vegas in both the Power lunch and Gourmet categories and who am I to disagree? http://www.rosemarysrestaurant.com/ I chose the 3-course prix-fix diner saving us a whopping $3 over ordering a la carte. Our meal began with warm potato and raisin rolls delicious. We were also served a complimentary dollop of seafood salad on a fried wonton. Shared portions of Hugos BBQ shrimp with Maytag blue cheese slaw were delicious. My entrée was halibut Lindquist, seared fresh halibut on a bed of garlic spinach with buttermilk onion crust topped with fried onion rings. Ms. Westies entrée was sesame seared ahi tuna with Asian veggie slaw, fresh cilantro and ginger soy butter sauce. We also shared a piece of goat cheese cheesecake that sounded far better than it tasted. By the time our waiter arrived with a complimentary dessert, (2) each chocolate truffles, lemon bars and peanut butter bars, we were satiated and requested a doggie bag. 4 Forks.
09/29 Dinner was at Bonjour Bistro on Eastern in Henderson. http://www.bonjourvegas.com/dinner.htm Ms. Westies selection this evening was crusted salmon in a tarragon-based sauce accompanied by carrots and wilted spinach. The filet was baked in pastry with cheese, spinach and pine nuts. This has to be one of the best salmon dishes ever created and I only got one itsy bitsy bite. My bouillabaisse included ample portions of white fish and shellfish floating in a delicious seafood/safron/tomato broth. We shared a chocolate and banana crepe that sounded and looked better than it actually tasted. 4.5 Forks
09/30 Picture yourself on the veranda of an Italian villa seated under palms gently swaying in the breeze on a perfectly clear and beautiful evening. The immediate view is of a lake bordering a golf course with distant lights from a hillside village twinkling. This was the setting for our dinner at the MiraLago Mediterranean Lakeside Restaurant in the Reflection Bay Golf Club on this Saturday evening. http://www.miralagollv.com/. Ms. Westie ordered the Brie fondue rib eye grilled Black Angus steak with melted Brie and tempura onion ring accompanied by fresh vegetables and potatoes. My entrée was the pan-seared mahi topped with fresh mango crab salsa over sautéed spinach in an orange fennel reduction and herbed rice. The Westies were living large this evening. 5 Forks.
10/01 Our dining choice this evening was Isabellas Ristorante on Sand Hill. http://www.usmenuguide.com/isabellasd....
I ordered penne with broccoli, sun dried tomatoes and garlic topped off with shaved Parmesan cheese. Ms. Westie wisely chose the puttanesca sauce over angel hair pasta. All pasta dishes come with a choice of soup or salad I chose Caesars while she opted for baby greens. 3 Forks.
10/02 No dining of note.
10/03 Tonights dinner reservations are at Todds Unique, Sunset Road in Henderson.
http://www.toddsunique.com/menu.php It is a highly acclaimed restaurant that turned out to be at least as good as all the published reviews I read. Contrary to most Strip restaurants, Todd is the on premises chef and frequently (daily?) changes the menu based on the availability of ingredients. Mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, beets and asparagus accompanied my entrée of wild sturgeon in Cajun butter sauce. Ms. Westie chose the daily special - monkfish in a curry sauce over mashed potatoes, mushrooms and asparagus. Both entrees were a symphony for the eyes and taste buds. 5 Forks.