Known for scorching hot Summers and mild Winters, most living outside Sin City fail to realize that Spring is definitely a “thing” for local kitchens, chefs and the patrons that they serve. With an ever growing bounty from Local Farms as well as produce from nearby Pahrump and Southern California, many believe this to be a prime time for dining. Below are ten dishes found everywhere from the rarefied air of a Casino’s top table all the way out to a Strip-Mall in the ‘burbs.
35 Steaks + Martinis: Foie Gras a L’Orange with Seared Duck Liver, Candied Orange, Cara Cara Marmalade, Almond Crusted Bread Pudding Toast – Long overlooked in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, a poolside location full of eye-candy as pretty as the plates being served. Marty Red DeLeon Lopez and Michael van Staden present this perfect lobe of Duck Liver with sliced Mandarin Oranges alongside bread pudding seared into French Toast. It is surrounded by a crunchy Almond crust bathed in bittersweet Marmalade, with a taste that is as balanced as it is rich and big enough to share.
Foie Gras a L’Orange
Carnevino: Dungeness Crab Crespelle with Ricotta, Asparagus, Lemon, Basil – Always reimagining the pastas of a meat-centric menu, Spring has brought several new sauces and fillings to Chef Nicole Brisson’s previous great bites. But newly launching a classic Italian Crespelle that eats something like a French crepe with slightly more elasticity, there are few better dishes in the city than this one rolled around large chunks of Dungeness Crab and creamy ricotta plus asparagus tips, the flavor of fresh herbs perfuming the palate atop the sweetness of the sea.
Dungeness Crab Crespelle
Carson Kitchen: Rhubarb Sammy with Rhubarb Sorbet, Rhubarb Macaron, Elderflower Whipped Cream – Now a true collaboration between Chefs John Courtney and Cory Harwell, Carson Kitchen’s Rhubarb Sammy finally offers a lighter option to those looking for a sweet finale at the 2 year old Downtown Las Vegas Destination. The crisp Macaron shining in part due to Courtney’s time working with Jean-Philippe but more so due to the sour rhubarb sorbet and fragrant elderflower whipped cream.
Elements Fine Casual Dining & Cocktails: Lamb Carpaccio with Lemon Lebne, Olive Tapenade, Pita Crumbs, Garlic – Reinventing a restaurant previous held by a Michelin Star recipient is no easy task, but at the youthful age of 30, Jon VanHusen hopes to reignite local passion for Elements. With dishes like this one featuring thinly sliced Lamb Carpaccio whose intrinsic grassiness is allowed to shine beneath citrus yogurt, fresh garlic and pita crumbs, the Mediterranean flavors leaping off the plate as if to give notice that Spring has finally come.
Lamb Carpaccio with Lemon Lebne
Fiamma Trattoria & Bar: Morel and Summer Truffle Carbonara with Poached Egg, Spaghetti, Pancetta, Pea Tendrils – A daily special from Chef Pawan Pinisetti, this plate of housemade Spaghetti may not be an Italian Grandma’s idea of Carbonara, but with flavors as big as the room in which it is served there is no doubt that Fiamma continues to be overlooked as one of Las Vegas’ best Italian Kitchens. The full seasonal menu update is to debut by the end of the month.
Morel and Summer Truffle Carbonara
Gelatology: Roasted Red Beet and Ricotta Gelato – Perhaps the most beloved Chef in Las Vegas, Desyree Alberganti has been known to churn gelato in flavors as unique as Foie Gras or Smoked Salmon. Now taking a cue from local Farmer’s Markets with Roasted Red Beet and Ricotta, the now-ubiquitous salad combination is spun on its head with earthy notes tinged in smoke plus just a touch of added sweetness. Those prone to questioning anything but chocolate or vanilla are well advised to take the advice of mothers everywhere and “just try it.”
Roasted Red Beet and Ricotta Gelato
Glutton: Japanese Street Corn with Miso Butter, Furikake, Chives – The sort of side dish that can diminish an “entrée” by the sheer greatness of its own flavors, Bradley Manchester’s shucked Corn sees each roasted kernel glistening with butter while the Japanese accents contribute volumes of umami and just the slightest hint of spice – as true a case as ever of a dish meant for sharing that is best ordered in multiples of in order to prevent fighting over the last bite.
Japanese Street Corn
Herringbone: Red Mullet with Spring Pea Puree – Chef Geno Bernardo is undoubtedly at his best when allowed to take great ingredients and coax then to show their very best. The Rouget with Pea Puree a textbook example with flesh and skin that slips effortlessly from the bones while light smokiness finds an amicable partner in the natural sweetness of spring.
Red Mullet with Spring Pea Puree
Le Cirque: Atlantic Turbot with Flavors of the Spring Garden, Green Tea Powder, Pomelo, Chamomile – Raising an already high bar ever since taking over the kitchen at the ripe old age of 27, Chef Wilfried Bergerhausen presents this fresh filet of Turbot perfectly roasted amidst Carrots of varying textures and colors with Matcha plus Chamomile proving a surprisingly refreshing accent atop the sweet acidity of Pomelo Cells.
Atlantic Turbot with Flavors of the Spring Garden
Naked City Pizza on Paradise: Bacon Risotto with Sorrel, Five Minute Fifteen Second Egg, English Peas, Chicaron – Not the sort of dish for those looking to ready their bikini body for summer, Christopher Palmeri’s Brunch-Special Rice cooked tender with Bacon would make for an excellent risotto even without the slow-poached Egg Yolk and crispy Pig Skin. However, by mixing it all together into a sort of makeshift “porridge”, the flavors and textures are as vibrant as they are decadent with topnotes of fresh Sorrel dancing across the palate.
Bacon Risotto with Sorrel