Thursday, September 25, 2008

Table 10, Las Vegas Nevada

Having gone to Delmonico just one day prior and leaving less than impressed with the overall experience, yet thoroughly pleased by the food I decided to hold off on more Emeril (or rather more bread pudding) until next trip and instead reacquaint myself with Mr. Batali at Enoteca San Marco. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) my friend who arrived early on Thursday morning doesn't fancy Italian and Vegas' dearth of quality lunch options led us to Table 10 at the Palazzo. I've said it before and I'll say it again, regardless of others' opinions on Emeril his cooking is top notch, and his bread puddings and shrimp have never failed to be excellent.

Arriving at Table 10, one immediately notices the staunch contrast to Delmonico's white/wood/elegant setting with the fancy wrought iron gates out front and multiple colored tables, televisions, and wide open kitchen. Elegant yet trendy in a similar fashion to the New Orleans Fish House, yet more unique and upscale in appearance, decor, and service.....sort of bridging the gap between the casual Fish House and upscale Delmonico.

Seating was prompt and menus and water were delivered quickly. While the lunch menu was slightly more limited than dinner, the options were still substantial. I was slightly annoyed by our waiter who seemed somewhat bored and aloof as he mentioned their "famous signature dish" was the Maine lobster pot pie (the most expensive item on the menu.) First of all, a dish cannot be "famous" when you've only been open for a couple of months. Secondly, as a creole cook, Maine lobster is NOT signature....shrimp, crawfish, and jumbalaya, and bread pudding are. Third, this is Michael Mina's signature, not yours, so don't lie.

As I'd had breakfast at Bouchon followed by a stop at Bouchon bakery I must admit I wasn't entirely hungry, but my buddy had not eaten since flying in from Michigan. For my meal I selected two appetizers; the Jambalaya with andouille sausage, clams, and shrimp plus the rotisserie chicken pizza w/ mushrooms, garlic, and buffala mozzarella while my friend opted for the enormous plate of Jambalaya pasta. After orders were taken we sat and chatted and were delivered some of the most delicious sweet butter rolls I've ever experienced. All told I think I consumed 3 rolls but it very well could have been 5, they were that good.

Mains were served after approximately 20 minutes and everything looked and tasted great. The jambalaya was spicy without being overpowering and the roux was thick and hearty. Ample pork sausage, shrimp, crawfish, and clams were all present along with a well cooked rice that provided good texture and contrast. Not the very best jambalaya ever, but certainly an excellent representation. Similar to my dish, my friend’s jambalaya pasta contained wonderfully cooked egg noodles and a substantial number of jumbo shrimp plus shredded crawfish in a spicy broth.

While the jambalaya’s were excellent, the pizza was even better with a truly “cracker-thin” crust perfectly basted with olive oil and covered with fresh veggies, tender marinated chicken, and fresh/smooth mozzarella. While not substantial in portion, the price was right at $10 and I’d definitely put this on the list of best chicken pizzas I’ve tasted. Not quite as good as Batali’s pizza at Otto, but darn good.

For dessert, Bread pudding – a no brainer when dining with Emeril….though I must admit there wasn’t a single bad sounding option on the dessert menu. The bread pudding at Table 10 was exemplary consisting of a wonderfully tender Strawberry Brioche Bread Pudding, firm in texture and served hot with Toasted Almond Ice Cream on top. From the crunchy almonds to the tart berries to the smooth icecream this dish was fantastic and the second best of the 5 Emeril options I’ve experienced. Small in portion, yet just right for lunch, I would put it in my top 6 all time behind Gramercy Tavern, the two Bouchon Options, Dessert Truck, and Emeril’s in Orlando. My buddy, a fiend for all things chocolate opted for the Almost Flourless Bourbon Chocolate Cake with Tart Cherry Compote and Brown Sugar Crème Fraiche which he noted was very good, though not as good as the chocolate cake at Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House.

All told, I’d rank Table 10 as my favorite lunch in Vegas (compared to Delmonico, Mesa Grill, Burger Bar, Sensi, and numerous buffets.) Great quality, decent service, and a decent setting. Looking at the menu I’d probably not return for dinner since the best items are also available at lunch, but if I lived close to Vegas I’d certainly not turn down an invite for lunch or dinner. Best Emeril’s in Vegas and second best Emeril’s overall.

No comments: