You Fancy, Huh?

Upscale eateries with class.

La Cave

I've noticed that I've really neglected the Wynn & Encore restaurants. So I've made it a point to start knocking out a few places in each. I started with La Cave inside of the Wynn.

La Cave is a Wine Bar that is equalled out by their menu of tapas. The restaurant is gorgeous inside and there are all kinds of intricacies to it's overall design. The dining floor is separated into three or four main areas, each with their own characteristics. I went with a good friend of mine and we decided on dining out on their patio that overlooks the Wynn pool. 

Being at wine bar, of course we had to have some wine, so we ordered the Sommelier's Selection Wine Flight. With two white and two red wines each from different regions of the world, we loved our choice. The two stand outs were the Chenin Blanc from South Africa, and the Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain. Both very well balanced and delicious. (Click picture for larger image to read the wine descriptions)

For our first small plate we had the Crispy Wonton Salmon Sashimi. These were a great way to kick off our meal. The salmon was tasty and not too fishy with the wonton really being the hero and giving a great contrast in texture and flavor vs. the party on top of them. The sesame soy dressing was excellent and had a little heat to it. Avacados were also in the mix, but really didn't add anything other than color to the dish. A good plate overall, but $15 for three bites is a little rich. I know it's at the Wynn, but I could get way more fish for the buck at most sushi restaurants.

On to one of my all time favorite small plates: Bacon Wrapped Dates! I've had some tremendously good bacon wrapped dates in my time, and these ones were pretty good. The dates were served very hot and gooey with the bacon having a great crisp and a very rich flavoring.   A very good offering from the bacon Gods. Not in my top three, but still damn good. A puzzling component to this dish though was a blue cheese fondue (not pictured) that was made to dip the dates into. The fondue couldn't have been more bland. It added nothing to the dates. They could save some money and just not even serve it. They're bacon wrapped dates, there's not much else to need to add there.

Flatbread. There's oh so much you can do with flatbread. When reading La Cave's menu and checking out their six flatbread options I picked Chef's Selection Flatbread for two reasons: Nueske's Bacon and Poached Quail Eggs! Nueske's Bacon is like the Kobe Beef of bacon and quail eggs are always a great delicacy. Both together equals and amazing flatbread. The quail eggs were rich and creamy, the bacon was about as good as you can get, and the cheese was the winner above all! With two stellar ingredients atop it, the cheese still blew me away. It looked to be a blend of sorts and man did it make me savor each bite. And underneath all of this goodness? Boring bread. Perhaps intentional since all the other additions were so top notch, but nonetheless, the bread itself was very bland. But that's easily forgotten once to take a bite and have all of the other wondrous flavors breakdancing on your tongue at the same time. (Side note, this flatbread could've fed four people easily and had expensive ingredients on it and was only $14 vs. the three bite Salmon Sashimi for $15, just sayin'.)

Polenta Cake. That's not something you see every day. Especially wearing hats of  Diver Sea Scallops on top. This eclectic offering is a little all over the place. The scallops themselves were divine and cooked perfectly. The polenta cakes seemed a little too cooked and were crunchy and dry, the mushrooms were a hair al dente, and the sauce was pretty but had no flavor to it. If the polenta cakes weren't as crunchy I think this would have worked a lot better. As I had it though, it felt like forced creativity to make scallops more fun that didn't quite work.

More Flatbread?! No, S'mores Flatbread! We figured since we had a delicious regular flatbread already that'd we'd indulge in trying a dessert flatbread as well. Interesting is the best word to describe this take on s'mores. Overall, the flavors were very subtle. The marshmallows were good and nicely melted and the cream added a good richness to it, but it still fell short. Conceptually, a good idea, execution-wise, it's missing something. Also, an extremely large dessert. It should have been half that size.

Two desserts are better than one! I don't think this little guy is on the menu, I believe it was a special. Chocolate Risotto. Also something you don't see often. Served in a little cup with little spoons, this dessert is in the OK category. The cookie was good, but the risotto itself was lacking a real chocolate punch. It was more Chocolateish Risotto. Way more savory than sweet. And as much as I love pistachios, these added good color, but were completely lost in the one note taste of the risotto. I was a little disappointed with this one. It coulda been a contenda!

So, what have we learned? La Cave's dishes are a mixed bag, their prices are not quite on point, and some ideas are better left in the chef's head. I like most of what I had at La Cave and I'd like to go back to have more wine flights and try different menu items. I just hope the rest aren't as inconsistent as what we encountered on this trip. 

Rating Description
out of 10
7 Location
Inside the Wynn on the Strip, it's at least centrally located for most Las Vegans. And the Wynn has a pretty easy parking garage.
10 The Décor
Beautiful. It's very well done and the attention to detail is outstanding.
8 The Prices
As a whole, the prices are pretty good. I don't think anything is over $19. There are just a few dishes that are obviously overpriced.
10 The Drinks
The wine selection is outstanding and they actually have a decent craft beer list as well. And of course a fully stocked bar.
6 The Food
The food was just not memorable for the most part. Everything was flawed in one or more ways.
8.2
OVERALL
La Cave has good things going for it, but some things are holding it back from being epic.
(out of 10)

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The Barrymore

A diamond in the rough. That's what I think The Barrymore is best described as. Nestled in the newly renovated Royal Resort on Convention Center Drive, The Barrymore really is a destination. Unless you're cutting through, going to a convention, or indoor skydiving, there's no real reason to be on that road. But now The Barrymore presents a reason to stop and take in it's cool, retro atmosphere with a great layout and even better food.

We were first greeted by the hostess at their enormous white door that transports you from the dreary Royal Resort into the decadence that is The Barrymore. From the entrance you can see the hip and stylized bar directly in front, the relaxed outdoor patio with cushy seating and a fire trimmed wall, and the two dining rooms, one directly ahead past the bar, and one to the right. We were escorted to a plush booth in the dining room on the right and seated. The décor inside The Barrymore reminds me of the Cosmo, attention to detail and quality at it's finest. Everywhere you look you see something posh and nostalgic. The ceiling is given style with film reels, the space between booths has golden eagle statues jettisoning out, and the walls are covered with mirrors small and large. It gives you the retro Vegas feel while at the same time feeling very updated. I love the look and feel of every part of The Barrymore.

The menu is very straight forward and precise. It's simplicity is part of its genius and is really well thought out. We started out with the Chef's choice of the Lobster "Deviled Eggs" and the Roasted Artichoke. The Lobster "Deviled Eggs" are served beautifully and a perfect amount for two to share. The fillings were fluffy and very flavorful by themselves, but the American caviar on top really puts it over the edge. For what this appetizer lacks in size, it makes up for in richness and flavor. The Roasted Artichoke easily could be my new favorite appetizer. At first glance it looks like a salad, but once you dig in, you see the meaty artichoke hearts waiting for you. The flavor profile is robust and just downright amazing. The char was perfect, the consistency was outstanding, and the salsa verde sauce takes it to a whole other level. I will order this every time I go to The Barrymore.

We were so delighted with our appetizers we had forgotten to even try the Table Bread! When presented to us, I couldn't completely understand the server, but I'm pretty sure she said one of the breads had bacon in it. Even if it didn't, it was quite good. The parmesan flat bread was über cheesy and fresh while the "bacon" bread was also delicious and went great with their slightly salty butter. 

When our waitress was telling us about the specials for the day, an off menu item caught my attention... Swordfish, I love me some swordfish. My Swordfish was served on a bed of sausage, a great tomato sauce, and topped with delicately sliced onions that were sweet and complimented the fish well. The Swordfish itself was very well cooked and was excellently seasoned. It had a great char on it as well, and was a decent portion size. The two slices of sausage and the tomato sauce were very rich and kept a good contrast of flavors compared to the Swordfish. It was overall very enjoyable and I'm glad I ordered it.

Our other entree was the 16oz Pork Chop. This beast was exceptional. Sporting amazing grill marks and being very tender throughout, this was a stellar choice. The rustic seasoning on the chop was perfect and well paired with the aioli sauce on the side that was buttery and creamy(Not Pictured). We ate half at the restaurant and I had the rest reheated in the oven the next day, still amazing!

For our sides, we had the French Fries and Asparagus. The fries are cutely served in a mini "frying basket" and are great, but they're the same as the ones at Public House. I would have liked to have seen a little more of a "Barrymore spin" on those. The Asparagus was offered grilled or sautéed, I got them sautéed which included them being dressed with a heavy parmesan cheese spread. The asparagus themselves were very thick and cooked through and they all had a great parmesan flavor even without the cheese stuck to them. 

For our closing act we went with the Gelato: vanilla & berry flavors. I've had more gelato in my life than you could ever think of (long story), so I'm picky when it comes to this dessert. If The Barrymore makes their own Gelato in house, I'm extremely impressed, if it's outsourced, it's still damn good. The vanilla was bold and strong in its taste but not overpowering and the berry had a great fruity mouth feel and was definitely made with real fruit. Absolutely grade A Gelato.

I feel like we just scratched the surface of The Barrymore on this trip. I really want to go back to explore the rest of the menu and to also try out their signature Cocktails at the bar. I really hope The Barrymore is here to stay, I'm not saying that because of the establishment, more of the establishment it's located inside of.   Otherwise, this should become a great local secret like Chicago Joe's and the Ranch House, where only the cool Vegas people know where it is and what it's all about.

Rating Description
out of 10
7 Location
The actual venue is amazing. But it's located in a small redone hotel/timeshare on Convention Center Drive. At least it's centrally located!
10 The Décor
Beautiful. It's very well done and the attention to detail is outstanding.
9 The Prices
You're looking at about $50 a person for a decent meal, but the price definitely is worth the quality of the food.
N/A The Drinks
I'm going N/A for my trip this time. I didn't have any alcoholic beverages, but I do know their wine selection is astounding and they have great looking cocktails. I'll update this eventually.
10 The Food
Nothing we had was mediocre. Everything was great. I'm stoked to try more off of the menu ASAP.
9
OVERALL
A Sin City Foodie top pick!
(out of 10)

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Jaleo

In the midst of the insane opulence of that which is the Cosmopolitan, lies an equally over the top experience at Jaleo. Located on the 3rd floor of the Cosmo is a mix of amazing places to eat with Jaleo holding up the growing Tapas category. The entrance to Jaleo is inviting and enticing and holds a level of energy not seen by most eateries on a Tuesday evening. Just walking in and sitting at the bar, I knew we were in for a treat.

Just as the rest of the Cosmo, no level of detail went underlooked inside this Spanish Tapas endevor. From the Tapas Kitchen mid dining room, to the wood burning circle kitchen right next to the bar, Jaleo's let's you marvel in the mastery of culinary design by seeing how it's made right before your eyes. 
At the bar, we ordered two drinks, I had a Tomato infused something or other that was out of this world, very pricey for the serving size, but worth having at least once. My friend ordered a glass of champagne which was also good I was told, but also on they high side for price vs. Volume. That aside, it was time to order. We got the Bacon Wrapped Dates, the Potato Chips with white and red sauce, Chirizo Wrapped with Potato chips, White Asparagus, and the Conejo (Rabbit). 
To make this easy, I'll simply break it down:
Bacon Wrapped Dates: A typical order for us from Firefly, so we wanted to compare. The presentation was definitely not what we were expecting, but very fun to experience. They come served in a tennis shoe from a brand that we were told is the "Adidas of Spain". Aside from the off the wall plating, the Dates were amazing. The difference is, they deep fry the bacon wrapped dates so the whole bite is moist and flavorful with more of a hint of bacon and the richness of the date compared to most places where the bacon wins the flavor battle. A+
Potato Chips with Red and White sauce: A simple dish with lots to love. The chips seemed freshly made and the sauces had a good contrast to each other. Being so fresh, the chips had less crunch than you'd normally expect, but I saw it as a good thing. Not mushy, just less crunch and more smooth textures. B+
Choirzo Wrapped in Potato Chips: Simple, yet delightful. It is what it is, delicious Spanish chorizo, fresh potato chip, and a toothpick. Pick it up, bite, and enjoy. Simplicity at it's best, and tastiest. A
White Asparagus: This was served inside a sardine-can-like tin sprinkled with a bit of cheese. The fresh crunch of each bite, cut by the slight bitterness of the cheese made each tiny serving seem like so much more. A
Conejo (Rabbit): Something that's definitely not on everyone's top choices to try, but should. This was a leg and ribs serving with an apricot compote that was light and rich with enough sweetness to nicely balance the supreme flavors of the juicy Rabbit. If you've never tried Rabbit before, this is the one to try. It is not off putting at all, and will make you wish you could have it every day if you could! A+
To finish us off, we figured we'd indulge and have the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake. What a work of art this dessert was. I would've paid for just one bite of it. The chocolate and hazelnut combination they use is an absolute marrige commencing on your pallet. It was so good, I'd go there to just order that! A+
I thank the Cosmopolitan for choosing such an outstanding Tapas joint. I can't wait to try more of the menu. Hopefully over time, Jaleo's gets a happy hour or local's night, but even until then, this will be my new place to enjoy Tapas with friends and family.

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Location
A fun location on the restaurant floor of the Cosmo.
10 The Décor
Outstanding! Tables made from foos ball tables, stools made from tree stumps, open kitchen in the middle of the dining room, it's all something to marvel.
8 The Prices
Overall the prices are appropriate. The drink prices were a little high, but the cost for the food was on par with any other tapas joint in town.
8 The Drinks
The drinks were made with care and stood out in taste.
10 The Food
Best tapas I've had. Everything from presentation to flavor profiles have been perfected.
8.8
OVERALL
A definite favorite!
(out of 10)


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