BOTERO Brunch (plus a few thoughts on Mark LoRusso)

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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


5 thoughts on “BOTERO Brunch (plus a few thoughts on Mark LoRusso)

  1. excellent review ELV. Back up to the standards that we have come to expect and cherish. Ill be checking the Botero lunch out in short order

  2. Botero and Mark LR = underrated. The decor is fabulous and the food is the kind that doesn’t disappoint but doesn’t need to be the reason you go. No one will say it isn’t worth it, no one will be intimidated. And the art is real. Love it. Agreed. It’s the clientele that doesn’t measure up.

  3. I had lunch poolside at Botero and all I can remember are the fries and home made ketchup. Go just for those!

  4. Went for diner at Botero last night after the Super Bowl party. Had one of the poorest dining experiences we have had in the city.

    While the place was 1/3 full the service was the poorest we have had. Our waitress took our order and then we never saw her again until she tried to sell us desert.

    My wife is a foie gras nut, when it came it was cold and the crostini it was on was like a hockey puck, almost uncutable. The worst however was my steak, bone in ribeye medium rare. The most tastless, unseasoned, chewy piece of beef I have ever eaten in this city. Like a cross between Sizzler and Outback.

    Our waitress never checked on us so I had no one to say anything to. Check was $250, we will never go back!!!

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