For the longest time, we’ve considered FIX, STACK, SIMON and SOCIETY to be the Four Horseman Of The Apoplectically-Good Gourmet Bar Food.
But there’s a new sheriff in town…and his name is Sam DeMarco. And we’re here to tell you, those others had better hitch up their spurs a notch or two if they want to ride in the same rodeo.
Because none of them….none of them….has anything to compete with his walnut shrimp with clove honey mayo, Philly cheesesteak dumplings, deconstructed pastrami “reuben,” or Cobb salad with spiced roasted chicken.
Those walnut shrimp are given a light glaze with the aforementioned clove/honey/mayo, and the combination is every bit as delicious-tasting as it is strange-sounding. As are the Philly cheesesteak dumplings, which are….well…Chinese potsticker-like-things (or Japanese gyoza-like-things) that taste exactly like a Philly cheesesteak.
“But ELV,” you’re probably asking yourself right about now, “Didn’t DeMarco practically invent the whole, small plates take on lowbrow finger food thing like….fifteen years ago? Surely, you can’t have forgotten that?”
We haven’t forgotten that… and don’t call me Shirley.
As we’ve mentioned before, DeMarco opened the Bellagio with Sam’s American Bar and Grill way back in 1998, and even before then, he was making a splash in the Big Apple with his lollipop Buffalo wings, crispy oysters, mini-burgers (before everyone did them), and mojito lamb chops.
We’ve been here three times now, and have only found the pulled pork eggroll and mini-lobster rolls to be less than mind-blowing — that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them — they just won’t have you dropping your fork in appreciation like the others will.
Oh yes, and the greasy-doughnut-thing we encountered a month ago has been cleared up. And by “cleared up” we mean they’ve been de-greased (i.e. cooked in properly heated oil). The last batch we had was perfect…if not up to the standards of uber-pastry chef Sarah Kosikowski — who told us she could top them.
Picky, picky. But as long as we’re being so, the rock hard Rebecca’s chilled candy bar was more trouble than it was worth. And by that we mean you’ll need a pick ax to penetrate it.
Just like you may need a Sherpa guide to find it (FIRST and its candy bar) — wedged as it is between the Venetian Canal Shoppes and The Palazzo. But find it you will, if you’re craving the best small plates this town has to offer — with Sammy D. standing in the kitchen every morning, noon and night making sure you enjoy yourself.
Of our three meals here we’ve paid for two of them. A lunch or dinner of multiple small plates for two will run around $75 with no booze. We’ve been too intrigued by the small plates to dive into any big ones. The restaurant is open every day for three meals a day plus late night dining.
FIRST FOOD & BAR
In The Palazzo Hotel and Casino
3377 Las Vegas Boulevard South Suite 2500
Las Vegas, NV 89109