Opened in the closing days of 2015, but long awaited by in-the-know locals as a homecoming for former Nove chef Geno Bernardo, Herringbone represents the most recent addition to an ever-revitalizing second floor of Aria. Although technically a spin-off of celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey’s “Fish Meats Field” concept from Southern California, the restaurant is anything but a ‘spin-off’ in the city of Las Vegas – dinner, lunch and brunch almost completely different from the original, not to mention anything else in Las Vegas as a whole.
Billed as a social dining space, lounge-style seating or tall-boy bar stools dominate the interior while a spacious patio offers more traditional tables but also low-slung couches for relaxing in the sun. Herringbone sits poolside to the one of the resorts most see-and-be-seen places and with music ranging from modern rock to up-tempo dance played by a DJ, the vibe is as casual as any in the casino while the menu ranges from a raw bar and clever comfort foods to compositions many-fold more vibrant.
Easily featuring one of the most attractive wait-staffs in the city, a fact that does not preclude them from also being more attentive and knowledgeable than others as well, those put off by trendy new Casino-based options will be happy to know that Herringbone started off strongly and has only progressed in its first four months of existence. Chef Bernardo relies on relationships with several of the city’s best purveyors to source nothing but top-tier ingredients which his skilled hand coax to heights deserving of the menu’s upscale pricing.
Bringing in Coffee and Tea from LAMill, the bar program is strong with seasonal cocktails, mimosas, wines and beer. A meal at Herringbone should unquestionably start out with Oysters or Crudo and with the former offered on-the-half-shell or via pure Ice shooters, the oft-lamented land-lock of Las Vegas proves a non-issue as daily selections range from East to West Coast. The Fat Bastard Oysters are kicked up by pale ale and jalapenos while Wahoo shines beneath a slick of Mani Olive Oil.
Far reaching in terms of influences, the Hawaiian Poke, an amalgam of no less than a half-dozen recipes with Chinese Pancakes presented as warm means of delivery, vegetables from Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby further display Geno’s commitment to sourcing. Heirloom variety beets are a highlight whether used to produce a lively gastrique, encircling tuna belly or as a jewel-box worthy Mille-feuille that marries flavors of earth and sweet.
Riffing on comfort with warm plates, concepts presented showing Geno’s versatility atop an Italian heritage that provides the recipe for one of the city’s best meatballs resting in a rich pork ragu. Those recalling the Chef’s pastas from high atop The Palms will be happy to know the handmade Gruyere ravioli swimming in rich beef stock are absolutely reference standard. The same to be said of egg-yolk pockets lightly accented with bacon alongside blistered tomatoes or the spicy Spaghetti teaming with gently poached seafood.
Onion Soup – Gruyere Cheese Ravioli, Pretzel Crouton, Beef Stock
Having fun with the house made peanut sauce Lollipop Wings while doing beautiful work with Branzino, White Sea Bass or Red Mullet simply grilled; brunch at Herringbone shows an equally broad range of ideas as those presented at dinner. Although not the sort of place one may think of for Chilaquiles, Pastries or Pancakes the latter is particularly memorable with a buttermilk base pocketed by Ricotta and Chocolate beneath segments of Citrus. The Maple Bourbon Bacon with a Brûléed Banana and Peanut Butter Mousse provides another noteworthy bite.
Soon to transition the dessert menu, though much like Malarkey’s Seersucker a place where the restaurant offers no lack of innovation or skill, those looking for a sweet send off during any of the Herringbone’s meals are encouraged to inquire as to whether the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding is available. This dish somehow manages the impossible task of being light but thoroughly decadent while the Carrot Cake impresses by way of spice and coconut frosting, and the cream-topped Caramel Panna Cotta is completely devoid of gelatin and as such smooth as silk.
Still a work in progress, the seating a source of contention for some while the bill of fare continues to evolve, Herringbone has already emerged as one of the best places in Las Vegas for seafood. With a beautiful patio now allowing Chef Bernardo to show his skills to a broader audience at the peak of Spring and Summer, the fact that the place is only likely to get better with time is definitely something to be excited about.