In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in the midst of another restaurant revolution. A mini one, if you will, but one with far greater benefits for locals and those willing to travel downtown (and to the ‘burbs) for refined, personal, chef-driven cuisine.
Consider the following: When was the last time you can remember this many good restaurants opening in one month?
Lago by Julian Serrano
Tapas by Alex Stratta
The fact that three of them are downtown also says something about a remarkable, recurring renaissance in our humble ‘burg. It also does our little pea pickin’ heart proud to see restaurants starting to catch up with the bar scene around East Fremont Street.
We haven’t had time to sample all of them, but here’s an hors d’oeuvres platter of opinion based upon some early bites:
Other Mama –
“It’s like Sen of Japan and Velveteen Rabbit had a baby,” said one of our foodie friends (whose name shall remain secret, but whose initials are Nicole Brisson). After our first meal here, we had to agree with her; after our second, our ardor had cooled somewhat — not because the cocktails were any less concupiscent, but due to the nigiri sushi and the oysters having less sparkle than they did on our first sampling. That said, chef/owner Daniel Krohmer and mixologist David English are on the right track. They’re aiming to combine a raw bar with a simple menu of tasty pub grub like “Oysters Foie Rockefeller”:
….into what we can only call an American izakaya. Once refinements have been made (and the lighting subdued), expect this place to become a hit with the hospitality crowd.
We’ve now eaten here four times and yet to have a bad bite. The bread is spectacular, the sandwiches superb, and the salads as succulent as the service is slow. That Forbidden Rice (pictured above) is one helluva signature dish, and you won’t find any fault with the coffees, teas or desserts either.
But if you’re looking to grab a quick breakfast or fast midday meal, you might consider looking elsewhere. And if you have the time, and are interested in stalking or sighting that unique creature known as the Vegas urban hipster, this place is what the Air Force would call a target-rich environment.
Itsy Bitsy –
The question has to be asked: Can this space recover from the bad juju imposed upon it by the last occupant? In case you never went, Wild was perhaps the worst pizza restaurant in the history of the world. It was run by some flake who called herself a “serial social entrepreneur,” and who knew as much about pizza as ELV does about the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1933.
Now, it’s a ramen/whisky bar (whatever that is?), and the cocktails are first class, even if the whisky selection (about a dozen offerings) seems a bit sparse. Regardless, the feng shui is vastly improved, the crowd seems to be enjoying itself (something that’s impossible when you’re eating vegan pizza), and the ramen is almost as good as the hostesses are hot:
Even better, the potstickers:
…are in a class by themselves, so we look forward to many happy returns.
Three bites into our meal last Friday night we had but one thought: “We seriously underestimated Bradley Manchester.” Maybe it was the restaurant’s name (not a fan), maybe the logo (really not a fan), or his pedigree (corporate executive chef at Green Valley Ranch), but whatever it was, we weren’t expecting food this finely tuned and unique. Outside-the-box creations like Buffalo (style) sweetbreads with whipped bleu cheese:
…..got our attention immediately, and took the classic, spicy chicken wing flavors to a whole new (and fiendishly rich) dimension by adorning a calve’s thymus gland with a crispy batter and hot sauce — a combination that announced right away we weren’t in Kansas anymore.
Even before they arrived, the simple-yet-yeasty Parker House rolls:
…appeared, got slathered with cultured butter, and disappeared within seconds, while dishes like whipped ricotta flecked with Spring peas and mint, and curried cauliflower with cumin-pickled shallots:
…looked and tasted as enticing as anything you’ll find on the Strip. “It’s like a Sage cafe plopped itself downtown,” said the Food Gal®, and we couldn’t argue with her.
This is serious food at friendly prices (hardly anything is over twenty bucks on the menu), and even the one dish we found fault with — the linguine with clams (pictured at the top of the page) — was an umami bomb of pork and pasta. It’s only flaw was burying the clams under all that porkiness.
Glutton may be the ultimate litmus test for the future of downtown dining. It is a full-service, chef-driven restaurant, seeking to attract a crowd of regulars with upscale-yet-approachable food. If downtown Las Vegas is ever to become a viable urban environment, it’s going to need Glutton to be a raging success…and to spawn more than a few imitators. But for the time being, we’re just happy that one more small step has been taken towards turning us into a real food city, and that a dinner this good is within walking distance of our office.
3655 South Durango Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89147
1126 East Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
150 Las Vegas Boulevard North
Las Vegas, NV 89101
616 East Carson Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101