Botero isn’t open for lunch/brunch except on weekends. Which is a shame because its chef — Mark LoRusso — served one of the best brunch/lunches in town for several years when he was top toque at Tableau.
Who knows ’bout Tableau these days? It seems to function as an in-house eatery for the fat cats at those special Wynn tower suites, but no one talks about it, and for all we know, it could be a bingo parlor.
But we’re happy to say LoRusso still struts his stuff every night at Botero — a restaurant that remains one of the prettiest and most dramatic in town. If ELV had his way, he wouldn’t chain a talent as great as his to a steakhouse. If you remember, it was Mark LoRusso who originally put Aqua (now Michael Mina in the Bellagio) on the map in the late ’90’s and early aughts. He is an ingenious and hard-working cook; a chef’s chef, that others in the biz speak of with awe and admiration.
Putting him in charge of a steakhouse is akin to strapping a thoroughbred to a milk wagon.
Night in and out he soldiers on in the Wynn mini-universe, slinging good beef to conventioneers, high rollers, and more than a few douchebags who are biding their time before X/S opens.
But if you look closely, you see flashes of his brilliance that, for the most part, are hemmed in by the hoary steakhouse format.
Like those lobster rolls pictured above. Made with good, old-fashioned rectangular rolls, with just the right amount of celery crunch and mayo to highlight the summer-y goodness of the crustacean.
Or the five sauces that come with every steak (including a house made ketchup and chimichurri) — each a revelation of what compliments beef best. Or french fries that are never less than perfect. Or his wild mushroom tarte….or one of the best mac ‘n cheeses you’ll ever taste.
The steaks and the sides are always impeccable too, but even in writing these words, it reminds us how rudimentary (albeit delicious) the whole menu is.
The only thing keeping it from reaching the top tier of tenderloins isn’t the considerable talents of its kitchen, or the top flight service and decor, but rather, the clientele. We weren’t kidding about the db’s or the hordes of conventioneers that flock here. It just seems to us that Botero has positioned itself (literally and figuratively) as a volume-driven, cattle call creation amongst our beef emporiums.
In other words, it’s so busy, no one goes there anymore.
Which fits nicely with the dreams of Wynn’s bean counters…but is a waste of a great chef’s talents.
In the Encore Hotel and Casino
3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109-1967