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.
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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