Saturday, September 22, 2007

Emeril's New Orleans Fish House, Las Vegas Nevada

Unlike many, I do not judge a restaurant by it's "location." Just because something is in Las Vegas doesn't mean I will rate it lower than if it were in Columbus. If possible, I'd give Emeril's Fish House 2.5 stars, but because of the experience and the dessert, I'll bump up.

Went to Emeril's before Frozen Fury X last year, both my buddy and I dressed in LA purple. Although not "fine dining" I worried that we would be underdressed, yet fortunately most of the people in the MGM were there for the same reason. Go Kings Go.

Service was prompt, friendly, attentive, and intelligent. Although clearly not a Kings fan, she knew the right questions to ask and was quite personable. Bread (delicious garlic bread and a not-quite-Mina-quality cornbread) were served promptly and refilled continuously. Drinks and water were also promptly attended to.

For my meal I opted for Cedar Grilled Yellowtail with Potatoes while my buddy selected Filet Oscar. While both presentations were relatively simple, the plating was attractive, the food was very fresh, and portions were adequate for the prices. For a side we split Lobster Mac n' Cheese that was incredibly creamy and cheesy, yet with enough lobster that it wasn't overwhelmed. Definitely the highlight before dessert arrived.

For dessert I was delighted to see two of my favorite items combined, one from the 95% of the time I eat healthy, and the other from the 5% when I don't; Sweet Potato Bread Pudding. Served with a caramel cookie and marscapone icecream I'd say this was one of the 5 best Bread puddings I've tasted, though nowhere near the one at Emeril's Orlando location. My friend choose a flourless chocolate cake with a Godiva liquor milkshake that, although small, was enjoyed greatly by my friend.

All told, I've certainly had better meals, but the place was above average 'dinner out.' Perhaps I overrate it for great presentations of my favorite bread and one of my favorite desserts, but all told I think Emeril is a pretty decent chef who people like to pick on because he is a little over the top. The man can cook. Thats what matters.

Social House, Las Vegas Nevada

"Scenester" sushi bars are generally all about the glitz and less about the fish. One would expect this to be even moreso in Las Vegas. One would be incorrect.

Reservations for the patio overlooking the pirate show were easy on a Thursday night and the crowd was a mixed bag of older rich guys with their wives and younger hipsters wearing True Religion. Like everywhere else in Vegas, however, it isn't as much about how you look as how you spend.

Seating was prompt and the servers were quick......too quick, in my opinion, to suggest the most expensive menu items when my buddy asked for recs. Admittedly, though, he was knowledgable of the menu and knew how to guide my non-sushi-loving friend to some safe choices.

Throughout the course of the meal we selected and sampled the Tempura shrimp with cold udon and sweet sauce, Unagi Avocado Rolls, Kobe Tartare Roll, Jalapeno Hamachi Tartare, Cracklin Scallops with grilled eggplant, Chocolate Lava Cake, and Mochi. Each dish was delicious and my friend raved the Kobe roll so much I actually ate beef for the first time in 7 years (what happens in Vegas, I guess.) Particular standouts were the flawless Scallops and the Cherry Blossom Mochi.

After the pirate show (from an AWESOME angle directly behind and w/o the crowd) we made our way out to the bar area, and although not particularly my 'scene' had a great time. The waitress was friendly (not to mention gorgeous,) the drinks were pricey but tasty, especially the espresso Martini, and the crowd was fun.

All told, for a "scenester" sushi club, the place is nice and the fish is much fresher than most places of the like. If you're looking for a place with a good view of the strip, some dinner time entertainment, a happening scene afterwards, and decent prices (expected Vegas Markup) for the food quality I'd say Social House might fit the bill.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mesa Grill, Las Vegas Nevada

I don't really like BBQ. I don't really like Southwest Style cooking. I actually don't really like Bobby Flay or his cocky attitude either......I liked Mesa Grill.
While the location may not do it for some, my buddy and I stopped in here for a quick bite to eat while betting on the NFL games as it is in direct view of the Sportsbook at Caesars.

Immediately on being seated we were brought a complimentary bread basket with absolutely amazing jalapeno corn bread, biscuits, and a cheesy garlic bread that was out of this world. I ordered a diet coke which was repeatedly refilled and we were not charged for despite sitting around BSing for nearly 2 hours while my buddy drank two beers that he noted were well priced.

For meals, my buddy ordered the Mesa Burger with Double Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Vidalia Onion, and Horseradish Mustard on a House Roll with Southwest fries.....the burger was enormous and per his word "awesome." I opted for the Thick Cut Ahi Tuna Nachos with spicy aoili and blue corn tortillas. While it appears this amazing dish has since been removed from the menu, I still contest it is one of the 3 best forms of raw tuna I've yet to consume. The portion was large and at only $11 my total bill with tip for 2 baskets of bread, nachos, soda, and 2 hours of hanging out was a mere $15.

While this isn't "5 star" dining, it is one heck of a deal for high quality food in a nice 'bar' setting when in Vegas. In retrospect I wish I'd have ordered dessert, but with dinner reserves at Simon later that evening I didn't want to overindulge.....y'know, after eating the Paris buffet for breakfast.