John Curtas is …

BRUNCHWATCH: Brunchtober Begins: LA CAVE

Oh golly, this weather sure has been a thing, hasn’t it?  It has.

In the same way that Mr. Curtas enjoys the luxury of a fine cotton seersucker suit (white on white, Tom Wolfe style), I enjoy the obverse side of this sartorial coin: TWEED.  Oh and by my various speckles and herringbones, I can feel that tweed weather coming along quite nicely.  And along with tweed weather comes the rarest of Las Vegas enjoyments, the foreign tradition known as “Eating Outside”.  And that, my friends, means brunch.

We’ll enjoy Brunchtober and Brunchvember, and enjoy it prudently.  Thinking of hitting EggzNstuff?  Hope you can wake up earlier than someone who goes to an exclusively Senior Citizen church.  Drawn in by a billboard promising all you can stomach industrialized mimosas?  Please destroy yourself.

I’ve been there guys!  I know it, and I know you.  And even among the best brunches, sometimes we’ll crave something outside Mexican-fusion (the always amazing Border Grill) or a music video-esque lavish French Bistro (Bouchon, the earliest “fine dining”). I wanted quality, brunchy items, not with a twist on the traditional, more like a slight rotation. I was pointed towards the unlikely La Cave.  Yes, they brunch!  Dim Sum/butler/AYCE style: you pay, they meander with trays, you grunt in approval.
First big winner: this veal short rib hash!  Oh man, it accomplishes exactly what all hashes mean to do, and that’s be a spiced up, satisfying pile of stuff.  This isn’t a big lump of canned salt or some over-thought hangover remedy, just a deliciously unctuous (adj.: a word exclusive to food critics to mean “slippery with egg yolk”) and meaty hash.
Truffled grits.  I know it’s not “cool” to like anything with truffle oil in it, but dangit there are some applications.  I’m not saying we should go all 2007 style “pour some truffle oil on it” with the stuff, but a dash into some mushroom grits can cut the creaminess and add a satiating bit of aromatics.  I don’t know if we’re responsible enough as a society to start using it, but at least we can decriminalize it, or even allow it for medical use!

Like I said, I wanted these items to have just a liiiiiiiiittle bit of unique touches, no big crazy moves there to dazzle me with jive.  A plain ol crepe gets jazzed up with a very finely chopped bit of mint right in the batter, that’s a solid move.

Why am I looking to a humble bean salad as my parting note?  Well, dear reader, it was the biggest surprise and the greatest indicator of what I’m talking about here.  Some crazy perfect storm of the creamy avocado, the crispy fried artichoke heart, and the super simple light dressing (apparently Icewine vinegar, fancy stuff too).

Sure, there is about four times as many items, and as much as we’d both love my color commentary and snarky remarks (or when concerning the scrambled eggs, downright cutting cruelty), yet I decided to highlight the items that met my challenge with good marks.  Even our most lauded of food-brains out there can fall into the trap of adding and adding and adding flavor profiles onto a rickety foundation, because it’s an easy fix.  But starting with a solid textbook foundation and showing some restraint?  Restraint can be a beautiful thing.

LA CAVE

In the Wynn Hotel and Casino

3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702.770.7377

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