Named after Wynn’s wife and featuring her ever-present eyes glaring across the expansive lifted dining area Big Brother-style, Andrea’s opened just before NYE among a roar of… cautious optimism? I’m not sure what everyone was supposed to feel about something as vague as another “hip Asian dining” opening in a casino that has Mizumi, Wing Lei, Wazuzu, and even a central dim sum kitchen (for buffet, brunches, in room, and any dim sum menu items in the restaurants) in the way most just have a central pastry kitchen. While I’m sure the people tirelessly churning out mountains of dumpling steam-baskets were perhaps less than thrilled, the promise of Joseph Elevado taking the reigns as Exec Chef should pique a good interest or two. With experience in Social House, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, and TWO whole Nobu locations, Andrea’s looks right in his wheelhouse. Wynn does have a penchant for churning out spaces that fit his specific view of class, and Elevado’s cuisine sounds like a match made in heaven. Well, let’s go ahead and take a look at the website, why not?
She's always watching...
“Chef Elevado’s shareable Asian-inspired menu features seafood, noodles, steak and sushi that you can enjoy in a private dining enclave.”
Oh, that sounds cool. I like all those things, and I’m a sucker for enclaves.
“Chef Joseph Elevado brings his mastery of Asian flavors while Musical Chef Steve Angello serves up beats in the hip, high-energy setting.“
And we’ve all got high hopes fo- wait a minute. A musical WHAT? A WHAT chef?
“Andrea’s is the first restaurant to combine dining and nightlife into one environment, marking the beginning of a new era in dining.“
WELP. That didn’t take long to snap into focus. Was ALMOST surprised that the Wynn of all places was going to have some properly good food in a nice setting without dislocating a femur and kicking themselves in the bean-bag for it. I’m going to need to shake my old man cane with both hands for this one.
Firstly, I guess we’ll just ignore half of the new on-strip openings being a clone of that same popular STK model of just blasting pre-tween pop music at the decibel level of a space shuttle takeoff. Sure, Andrea’s, that was all you. We’ll be sure to let the World Court blame you for that crime against dining. And before some calculatedly-scruffy guy in a shoelace-thin tie writes “In Defense of the Dining Room DJ”, I can at least say that this DJ had some pretty cool tunes (even an interesting remix of Smokey Robinson’s “Tears of a Clown”!). But we all know it isn’t about that. Hell, it isn’t even about having to hear “Call Me Maybe” over my dining companions. It’s about trickery and the corporate fascination with testing diner’s ability to “Just deal with it”, something about our ability to consume when disoriented, or just what we “need” when one prepares for Surrender’s fray… But this is a subject for it’s own article in the future, just not this one. Here, there is a real disconnect from the environment and the food, too likely an indication of the business model “blaring din of techno and hip-hop=money in the bank” becoming near ubiquitous. The space itself is stunningly beautiful, balancing all the cream and gold and marble against the giant neon changing eyes, and just barely intimidating enough to keep people from standing on their booths “woo”-ing. Truthfully, I’d love to see them have relaxing, much quieter lunch.
Great view of the action
Anyway, here’s the skinny. The Hamachi plate was perfectly balanced and surprisingly complex, topped with a tiny crisped garlic chip, pickled red pepper, and sudachi (relative to yuzu) ponzu. The Five-Spice Squid salad was generous with the lightly cooked squid tops, and was near pitch-perfect but a little underwhelming in the choice of greens (throw some fennel in there or SOMETHING). Everything on the dim sum menu was… well, it was dim sum. No more, no less, but definitely fit the rest of the menu. Wagyu Beef platter, Wok Broccoli, Eggplant Tofu, all great and what you’d expect from a chef of Elevado’s experience. The beef especially was a great use of a wagyu rib cap cut, cooked perfectly and enviable to any on-strip steakhouse. The pan-seared scallops in a curry sauce was a refreshingly risk-taking dish, and executed as perfect as any could imagine. The sushi rolls may not take too many chances -with the wagyu and lobster roll standing out almost as if it were an obligatory addition- but they fit with the rest as examples of the pendulum swinging back towards simple, elegant, quality cuisine.
the scallops dish
The cocktails: a WAR CRIME. Half come in these big fishbowl things with glass flowers and light up rocks and whatnot, all but one Patron Silver based cocktail were just flavored vodkas with uninspired mixers, and the Patron one I had was downright undrinkable. I would tell them to get it together, but I am almost Absolut-ly certain these cocktails were written for someone else’s dime. I could expect that caliber of drink to fly at any other hopeful pre/post-club restaurant, but not at one with an otherwise superb menu like Joseph Elevado’s. To give whoever’s responsible the benefit of the doubt, I could see a cocktail menu like this being tailor made to a crowd fast with drinks and loose with money. It’s been a whole month, time to realize there’s been a rift between food and drink. It’s almost like your cool best friend is forced to take their extremely awkward goofy cousin along, but he’s allergic to grass and peanuts and only talks about Star Wars.
a stairway to heaven
Dessert was as good as some of the best I’ve had anywhere. I would go back just for their tower of assorted tiny ice cream cones (chili dark chocolate was my favorite) or the perfectly creamy coconut cannoli, though for drinks I’d stick to their solid sake list. Overall, Andrea’s has some serious chops in the kitchen and is definitely worth the visit for all but the most misanthropic gourmands, but is essential for anyone looking for a pre-club spot to have some seriously good food.
– Your pal, Mitchell Wilburn
Some dim sum
Special cucumber roll
lemongrass semifreddo in the center was amazing as well.