Las Vegas: LOS/Rosemary's/Picasso reviews...long.
I can only comment on Lotus of Siam as an outsider due to the fact that although it is always one of my favorite culinary stops in Las Vegas, I was engrossed in a poker tournament when my party went. All of the 7 that attended loved it and the staff, and the 3 that had never been were thoroughly blown away by each and every dish, including the wine parings.
Rosemary's was Friday night and we were all looking forward to it (btw, thanks to whomever mentioned the tip about the Costco gift certificates @ a 20% discount!). Since the LOS dinner was paired with wines and or dinner Sat night at Picasso was all about the wines, we all decided to try the very interesting idea of beer pairings for each course. Although all the selections were spot on or close to it, I would NOT recommend it for the simple fact that it is way too filling. We each had the four course tasting and there were several of us that couldn't finish our last course. Now on to the food. I had the special parmesan garlic soup that had a base of chicken stock. I am a sucker for soups and thought that this was good, but not outstanding. It seems that restaurants are using more and more salt in their preparations and I think this soup suffered from being over salted. Parmesan is salty to begin with and it seemed to me that more was added and was not needed. Next I had a special sea scallop appetizer. This dish was close to the best dish of the night. It was paired with mushrooms and there was a white truffle oil which finished off the dish. Like deep frying, white truffle oil makes everything taste better and seems to lend such opulence and silkiness to any dish. And the preparation of the scallops, simply seared with the addition of lightly sautéed mushrooms (from what I can remember it had Shiitake, Oyster, Chanterelle and Enoki), was perfectly satisfying. Next was pan fried sweetbreads on a bed cheesy grits. The sweetbreads were nicely cooked, pan-fried with a perfect golden crust while remaining perfectly moist inside. The grits provided that comfort feel while not distracting from the focal point of the sweetbreads. I ended with the NY Strip special which was served with a confit of duck. There were 4 others at the table that got either the special steak or the regular Creole spiced steak. I was a little dubious about the beef/duck combo and decided to try based on our servers recommendation. I should have stayed with my instincts. However, after tasting one of the Creole spiced strips, it seemed that steak was the weak link of the evening (I am going to say evening because I have been to Rosemary's on several occasions and have not had this many people all agree that a dish was flawed. But I will say that this was my first steak @ Rosemary's). Over all a very good evening but not up to the standard of a usual Rosemary's evening.
Picasso was our Saturday nights dinner and usually the highlight of our weekend, and this provided to be true, yet again. The end of September and early October is a glorious time to be in Las Vegas weather-wise which enabled us to have dinner on the patio. Whether you eat inside or out, IMHO this is the finest atmosphere of any restaurant on the strip. The service is proficient, professional and as friendly as any I have encountered and that only compliments the wonderful food that the kitchen prepares each and every night. One of the criticisms of Picasso is that the menu has not changed over time and for the most part, that is true. There are a couple of variations from time to time with the menu (changing langoustines for shrimp in one dish is an example) but no real new additions (there was a braised short rib this time along with a Kobe beef rib eye. Don't start me on the "Kobe" thing. Like a "Bermuda" onion, there is NO SUCH THING as Kobe beef in the US. It is NOT exported. What you get is "Kobe-style" Wagyu beef, which for all intents and purposes, is as close to Kobe as you will get in the US. Yet that does not deter prices. The special rib eye this evening was an additional $120 supplement to the $95 menu. Pardon the pun, a little too beefy for me!) I can go through each and every course (Warm Quail salad, Foie Gras "steak", Black Sea Bass, and Aged Rack of Lamb) and tell you how each was prepared but I will spare you the details. Needless to say, each was beautifully, if not perfectly, prepared and the flavors shined through not masked in heavy sauces or being overly "seasoned" (that seems to be code nowadays for saying heavily salted, thanks TV Food Network). If I were to point to a weakness it would be desserts and that is not to say they were bad. As a matter of fact, it is most likely due to the fact that up to this point in the evening I have stuffed myself to the point of being a double for one of those Oomph's on Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. All in all, this was and remains my favorite meal on the strip. Sure it is a tad pricey but comparing the hassle of getting to and fro Rosemary's the night before, there is no comparison, at least IMO and that of the other 9 people I was with, between the two...Picasso is truly a delightful evening.