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Mar 12, 2008 06:39 PM

Restaurant Charlie - Palazzo - Las Vegas

After making a few $$$ on the tables decided to treat SO and I to a nice meal – I read where a fellow foodie had a reservation at trotter’s place in middle march so I called palazzo to see if the restaurant was finally open …it is…great …I’m there. No reservation – arrived at 6:00 pm ( Tuesday ) about 6 people eating in the entire restaurant and about …gee …at least 20 servers/waiters ready to pounce.

as empty as the place was, they put us at the table right at the doors leading to the kitchen area ( I figured…maybe the other, nicer tables reserved . ) btw – stylish decor – modern, I guess…geometric …with the music – hell I don’t know …mellow techno ?!?!

Restaurant Charlie is all about seafood ( cool …I thought I read pre-opening that it was going to be a steakhouse …that didn’t make sense given morel’s, cut and batali’s place…

Menu – cold apps ( $20 - $28 in price ) , cold apps ( $22 - $38 ) , main entrees ( $38 to mkt price …mkt for the lobster …at the hi end – “true kagoshima beef strip loin “ …$175 , seared 32 day dry aged rib eye …$75 ) , the sides ( $14 - $20 )

As you can imagine …bring serious $$$$

SO and I had :

I started w/ a foo – foo drink – tequila , orange amd lime juices w/ an egg foam ( damn…I forget the name of it …$18 for…hmm…4 ounces !! ) tasted good …the foo-foo drinks were $14- $18

Apps – Tart of Maine lobster w/ Spanish chorizo, black trumpet mushrooms, & carmelized onions ( $38 ) …also added but not mentioned …red wine foam ….decent app …maybe a little too much going on in this dish – the lobster tasted like it was poached in a lot of butter ( good by me ) the onions…very, very sweet, the chorizo and mushrooms were “strips” …very tasty …but put them all together…a little too much …alone each tasted great

Braised octopus w/ picholine olives , Serrano ham, scarlet peppers ( $22) …the octopus , very tender , the seasoning …the sauce / peppers had a definite thai influence to it. The ham…crisp it actually looked like jerky ….very good dish …not as complex as the lobster dish…

Btw – ordered a sauvignon blanc w/ my app – my usual – a selection from Marlborough, NZ …damn it …forget the name …only SB by the glass option on the menu – excellent wine but for my palate, did not compliment my app… it was kinda cool that just before my last bite of the app, the sommelier came by and added alittle more to the glass and asked what I thought – I asked did he have a riesling by the glass – he smiled and said yes…told him that would’ve paired better ( ala Lotus ) he laughed and agreed …he and I discussed our experiences at LOS …he apologized but mentioned ( correctly so ) that he sensed my SO and I would be sharing apps and felt the acidity of the wine would work well with the lobster ( I’m far from a wine snob – all I can say is my palate agrees w/ him )

Entrée – SO had the hand harvested sea scallops w/ parsley emulsion and yogurt ( $42) - very good – definite hint of tarragon ..i believe in the yogurt …

I had the seared hamachi , braised veal cheek and chaterelle mushroom sauce ….wow…great flavors !!! only complaint….not seared…but still very tender….( $52 )

Had a glass of rioja w/ the hamachi ( I was going to try a pinot but the sommelier politely convinced me to try the rioja … again – forget the name – only option on the by glass menu ) great choice !!! $22 again the sommelier topped off my glass...very generous topping !

Sides – ragout of miatake, abalone and trumpet mushrooms fingerling potatoes and cured pork belly …..great stuff – again, great flavors – especially the cured pork belly – SO and I agreed – could have used more pork belly ( especially blended in w/ the potatoes ) and cut up the mushrooms to bite size ( cost $18 )

Crispy Brundade ( potato cakes w/ reconstituted salt cod ) ….tasty but cod made it a little too salty ( $16 ) …give me a 2nd order of the mushrooms !!!

Desserts – the price range …gee…I believe $12 or $14 - $18
SO had the blueberry “tart?” , I went with the apple pie ala mode w/ apple gelee and Wisconsin white cheddar gelee …both very good - SO loved the blueberries I liked the gelee when combined w/ the ice cream and the pie. We both had “charlie’s coffee “w/ the dessert. …finished w/ the complimentary “mini-dessert tray “

Total price $310

Overall – I give the place a thumbs up …It ain’t cheap….overall, very good service ( noticed few diners entered during our entire meal so a better table should have been offered ) if anything, when it’s that slow, it’s a little intimidating - all the servers milling around trying to act busy….. given my attempt to try every restaurant in the vegas valley …It will be a year or so before I return…unless someone else is buying/offering .

Happy Eating

btw - CUT ( puck's steakhouse in the palazzo ) had their opening a few days ago on the list ? )

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  1. Thanks for the review -- terrific, as usual. Does Charlie offer any fixed-price/tasting menu options?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dave Feldman

      that's the 1st thing i asked them - i was surprised to find out that they didn't are some more pics ..also - in my 1st post i included a pic of the amuse - a quail egg w/ bacon and the server said a parsley "sauce" - i believe she mixed this up w/ the parsley emulsion served w/ the scallops because the green sauce tasted more like broccoli . also - they did serve bread - started w/ a chorizo and olive oil roll was kinda funny ...the bread person came by after the apps and asked if i wanted a 2nd course of the bread...sure...a flimsy piece of french bread...actually not bad...but what ?? no 3rd course ?!?!?

      1. re: kjs


        Thanks for the wonderful detailed review! I am even more excited now!

    2. I ate here the same day, and at Bar Charlie as well, which has 8 and 15 course kaiseki-style service. All my photos/comments are at

      13 Replies
      1. re: bosdine

        bosdine - great review - i noticed the bar to the right .. and i was expecting that we would be eating there since we did not have reservations ..... i'm disappointed they did not mention this option when we entered the restaurant nor did the server mention this option when i asked about a tasting menu a minmum, suggest it for future visits.....i like your reference to per se .....good point ! i haven't been to trotter's in geez...4-5 years now .... i thought he was going to move to london a few years back ....

        i keep stalling on robuchon and guy savoy ....expecting a decent refund check this year ...... i think the time has come to hit the Mansion !!

        1. re: kjs

          definately, definately, definately go. you won't regret it. If I hadn't bought a bottle of krug for the staff, it wouldn't even have been that much more $$ than Trotters or Savoy.

        2. re: bosdine

          Wow - great reviews and pictures! Might I ask how much the 8 and 15 course meals at Bar Charlie cost?

          1. re: Larry

            A lot. My 8 course w/pairings was almost $400. Importantly, I had 3 courses in the main dining room first ($130), and I still wasn't too full after all that (and imagine the meals I'd had the previous days! I wasn't that hungry to start with!). I really think that the only big problem they've got is their price/portion ratio- but they'll fix that after one apoplectic review.

            1. re: bosdine

              Thanks to both of you, kjs and bosdine, for your reviews. I had made a reservation there for the beginning of April since we'll be staying at Palazzo and wanted to try it...but based on your reviews, I think I'll wait until their price/value and decor issues are settled.

              Our other choice would be Aquanox because we love seafood, and their presentations sound very interesting, although no one really seems to LOVE it.

              Our only other night we're going to Carnevino so we thought seafood would be a good choice after that pasta/steak meal.

              This is a very quick, 2 night trip to take advantage of a great rate at Palazzo, and we do NOT want to leave the premises.

              So, would you go to Aquanox or can you recommend someplace else in the Palazzo/Venetian complex?

              1. re: Eujeanie

                i'm trying either aquaknox or david burke this week ...i'll be sure to write a review. based on what you are saying, cut, b&b, delmonico's and valentino are off the list ( pasta / steak ) ...bouchon is worth a looksy ( i'm a fan but i've yet to try at breakfast time ) , i like postrio for lunch .... as to Charlie , i wouldn't call the decor an "issue" and the price/value ....geez....if that's an issue you might have a problem with carnevino ( based on other reviews i've seen ) then again price/value is an issue for more than 1/2 the strip casino high-end places ( even the low-end places ! ) i would be surprised if Charlie makes any changes on the price/serving portions ....

                happy eating !

                1. re: kjs

                  kjs, my comments about the price and decor were more in response to bosdine's review, not yours. Specifically, we were hoping for a tasting menu in the dining room which is not available at this time, and he said that staff there told him that decor changes are in the works. I would just rather wait until the kinks are worked out.

                  That being said, will look forward to your review of Aquanox.

                2. re: Eujeanie

                  I personally- if given the choice of eating at either The Venetian, or Palazzo, i'd go back to B&B in a heart-beat! It was mind-blowingly delicious..A food ephipany for me, a bit of a turning point in the was I now view food. Then, i'd run to to Pinot Brasserie, and from all the fantastic things i've heard from others, finally try Bouchon. I myself tend to stay away from restos the first month they are open, as they are still working out kinks in service and food.

                  The Illy Esspressemante in Palazzo is really really good. Fantastic gelatos, and one of the better esspressos i've had in town. Be aware, if you eat/drink food inside, they tack on a .75 extra charge, which threw me for a bit of a loop. I know better now, and get my coffee to go. Great people-watching there, to boot!!

                  1. re: Honeychan

                    In my humble opinion, skip Aquaknox, David Burke and/or Pinot Brasserie....some of the worst meal experiences I have had in my life.

                    In reference to Restaurant Charlie, I was under the impression that they would ultimately do anything to offer you a great experience. As I understand, they are waiting so that they may execute the a la carte menu better, and will offer a tasting menu down the line, but if you ask for the chef to cook for you, they will accomodate.

                    The kaiseki bar is $175/8 course and $250/15 course. The wine pairings are the same price as the tasting menus. This is where I is definitely not for those price conscious diners, but if you are adventurous and want a memorable omakase experience...this is it.

                    The restaurant is not cheap, but the cuisine is pretty unique. I am curious to see whether it floats or sinks in Vegas.

                    1. re: ciaobelly

                      I haven't cancelled my Restaurant Charlie reservation...yet.

                      Here are my problems. It's not about price, I've eaten at some very expensive restaurants, it's PRICE/VALUE relationship (sorry to shout but I don't know how to italicize here). When someone says they ate 3 courses for $130, were still hungry, and went and got the 8 course menu in the bar, my red flags go up.

                      Then the terminology husband HATES sushi and will barely eat any Japanese except tempura or teppanyaki.

                      Given those parameters, would we be very unhappy at Charlie?

                      Our first night we're keeping our Carnevino reservation - despite negatives there, too, they are negatives we can deal with (ugly room, bad service)...I'm hoping that the pastas and steaks are good.

                      But we really wanted seafood the second night (we are ONLY staying 2 nights, and do NOT want to go off premise - we go to Las Vegas fairly frequently so don't feel the need to fly all over the place - for 2 nights we want to stay put).

                      So our other choices instead of Charlie's would be either Postrio or Bouchon (we've also eaten at Keller and Puck restaurants before). I've ruled out Aquanox.

                      I don't care who's name is on the door, I'm looking for a delicious seafood dinner in pleasant surroundings, that will not send my husband over the edge with outrageous prices or food he hates. Please help.

                      1. re: Eujeanie

                        tough call - i'm a big guy .... i walked away full ....i think the pics show you what you get - 3 large scallops ...$42 ...the hamachi ...maybe 4 ounces ...the veal cheek probably added 2-3 ounces ...$52 .... my sense ...your hubby will be close to the edge .... postrio - i've only eaten there for lunch ...i love their lobster club ( last time i was there, it cost about $25 ) ...i am a fan of bouchon ...

                        good luck !

                        1. re: kjs

                          I know this is off premises, but practically not (because of the bridges...) you could cross to the Wynn and do seafood at Bartolotta...beautiful setting and it's outdoor eating weather right now. Just a's more traditional seafood than Charlie's sounds to be...

                          1. re: lvnvflyer

                            Eujeanie, if your husband "hates" sushi, then do not do the kaiseki experience. It encompasses all preparations of fish, but with a sincere focus on sashimi, and raw preparations. I think you would be happy with the menu in the main dining room. That menu features cold and hot apps, entrees, sides and desserts. The menu looked very asian influenced, but there were some dishes that we enjoyed in the kaiseki bar that were adapted from the main room. I think he would be able to find/pick and choose dishes that satisfy his needs there. The servers said the food is extremely a la carte (meaning not too big, not many accompaniments on the plate). Chef Trotter is well known for not using much dairy/fats in his cuisine, so you can do many courses without needing a coronary (you can still walk as opposed to my dinner at The Mansion! Ha!). So if you were going to eat in the restaurant, I would probably do 4 courses, cold ap/hot ap/main and sides/dessert. It could get pricey for sure. The cuisine seems pretty pristine. I guess you will have to tell us what you think. I enjoyed my meal in the kaiseki bar, but I love fish in any state, and the chef there was really wonderful and engaging.

          2. I just went there last week while visiting Vegas and who was there? Charlie Trotter himself, he came around to the tables and spoke with the diners. I nearly soiled myself to say the least, mentioned I just finished culinary school in Boston and he said there's a job waiting for me in Chicago if I'm ever interested. Amazing meal to say the last, unforgettable experience.

            1. Had an outstanding solo dining experience sitting at the main bar area this past weekend. Warm beet salad with pickled quails eggs and chrysanthemum; Icelandic langoustine with cockles and razor clam over a puree of celery and yukon gold potatoes, with the freshness of the seafood accented by a roasted shallot vinaigrette; and a sinfully good breast of Poularde with Venezuelan chocolate and hazelnut foam, with a ravioli filled with a confit of the dark meat and roasted vegetables. Think of "mole" taken to a very special level. Finished with the steamed cacao cake and a "99% cacao" ice cream, accompanied by a Japanese single malt. And kudos to the staff for excellent wine pairings with each course. The interplay of the flavors and quality of ingredients made the price points almost seem reasonable. I know, that is not easy, because a restaurant has to be virtually flawless to merit that kind of ticket, hence the "almost" as a qualifier. On this visit they came close to that; close enough that I would not hesitate to return.

              4 Replies
                1. re: John Lowrey

                  It ran $220, for two appetizers, an entree, a side of the mushroom-fingerling-pork belly ragout, dessert, three glasses of wine and a single malt to finish...I felt that was more than fair for the food quality and service.

                  1. re: QAW

                    I think we are going to cancel. It just doesn't feel right. I showed my husband the menu, and it really reminded him of Le Bernardin, and he didn't care for it there at all.

                    Anyway, going to Carnevino the first night, and I have at this point NO idea where we'll end up the second. We won't starve.

                    1. re: Eujeanie

                      If you want to stay on the property with seafood as a focus you might also want to stop by Zeffirino and take a look at what they have fresh that particular night. I had an outstanding whole branzino there a couple of months ago, and it is a very pleasant setting.

              1. I ate at Restaurant Charlie on May 25th and they have a 6 or 12 course tasting menu that consist of a combination of Restaurant and Bar Charlie's menus. The place was not busy and I had the 12 and my friends had the 6 course menu. I believe we were the only customers who ordered it that night. The staff was fab and so nice making our 4 hour meal an experience we will never forget. We were oohing and ahhing with every bite and must have provided some amusement for the staff as we ended up being served 3 extra courses. Yes it is an expensive meal but the food was outstanding and Kurt and his staff were fantastic and I plan on going back again the next time I'm in Vegas.

                3 Replies
                1. re: lv08

                  Had the opportunity to dine @ Bar Charlie with a friend (QAW) and a new friend on Sunday evening. It was incredible. I had no idea what to expect except for what I have read on Chowhound and what I have gleamed from their online menu. Nothing truley prepared me for the trip I was about to experience.

                  QAW, who had dined at Bar Charlie before had talked with the chef's and the staff about creating a tasting menu that was experimental, creative, new and we may have, and were at the mercy of these young, genius chef's..

                  As soon as I sat down I was presented with a glass of 2001 Prager Riesling Smaragd "Weissenkirchen Klaus" from Wachau wasn't too sweet...though it was crisp and clean with a hint of fruitiness which prepared my palate for the journey ahead.

                  Our first Course was : Lobster with Red Bell Pepper, Mango & Mizuna. The preparation was bright, colorful and the flavors were clean. The sweet Lobster w/ the bite of the red pepper the juicy mango with the spicyness of the Mizuna...was amazing. It was the perfect bite....with an explosion of flavors. ...

                  Next came a Dungeness Crab with Fuji Apple & Chervil......this was a totally different experience than the first course even though it was similar....seafood, fruit and a fresh herb to bring out the sublteness of the flavors and freshness of the was amazing.

                  Then we had Carbonated Carrot with Diver Sea Scallop, Ginger and Sultana Raisins.....this dish was absolutely was bright orange, was bright and sunny as were the bright flavors of the carrots and ginger in a non traditional preparation that complimented the Scallop.

                  We then experienced a Japanese Snapper with Wasabi, Umeboshi & Plums...
                  This was one of my favorites so far....I am not sure I can describe how beautiful and how distinct and clean the flavors were....amazing. The plum was a terrific addition to the Snapper.

                  Next came a Tartare w/ Seaweed and Daikon...which was perfect to cleanse the this was our first dish without fruit...the flavors were more earthy, and was a great transition dish for the courses to follow.

                  Then came a Tempura of Ayu with Bamboo and Sesame. This dish had had texture, crispy, salty and a richness. Again one of my favorites so far!

                  Next up was a Ceviche of Langoustine with Pineapple and Citrus which played perfectly after the saltiness of our previous was sunny, tropical and again over the top in color presentation and taste. I kept wondering What were they going to think of next......I was blown away and we were just getting started!

                  Then came a Yakitori of Brasied Papaya with Sweet Potato and Shiso.
                  I am a recent convert to first experience with this pepper was @ the whole pepper form. In this dish it was used as an herb to flavor the really brought out the subtleties of the sweetpotato and added a nice dimension.

                  Next came a Sushi Rice Risotto with Black Fig, Maitake Mushrooms and Cilantro...we pared this with a Bottle of Beaux Freres Pinot Noir, from the Wilamette Valley. This dish was amazing. We all commented that we could lick the was, rich deep, flavorful, hearty and comforting. It was our first Starch based dish and it worked perfectly with the previous light, bright courses we had enjoyed. This was the perfect transition to the next part of our adventure.

                  From here we went to a Poached Maine Lobster in Yellow Curry with Lotus Root. The curry was vibrant yellow like brush strokes on an artists palette. It was almost too pretty to eat! It too was richer than the past dishes we had expeienced with more defined flavors and an heartiness from the curry and the lotus root...again this was an amazing combination.

                  We then had a Roasted Bobwhite Quail with Amazake and Red Miso Vinagrette.....another salty, crispy, dish that played to the taste buds. The quail was cooked beautifully, it was juicy, the skin snapped to the tooth.....I was in heaven.

                  Sadly this next dish was our last dish in this wonderful tasting experience. It is one that will stay with it was pure perfection! It was a Japanese Ohmi-Gyu with Bloomed Mustard Seed and Pomme Puree.
                  This was the most tender, rare beef I have ever had. It was like eating butter. I dont know how to describe how flavorful and delicate each bite was...this was a perfect ending to an amazing meal so left me wanting more.

                  Now came the dessert tasting.....this we married with a 2004 Kracher Sheurbe "Tockenbeerenauslese #10" from Neusiedlersee, Austria.
                  I was so enamoured with this dessert wine I snagged the empty's now making the trip back to AZ with me for my label collection.

                  Our first dessert offering was a Nectarine Sorbet which was light, fresh, and extoxicating. The flavor and colors of fresh nectarines were robust and the wine brought everthing together.
                  Then we had Coconut Tapioca Pearls, Passion Fruit Chiffon & Pineapple Sorbet....this transported me to the islands for a quick trip (it may have been the wine) It was summery, again beautiful and fresh. The flavors were all distinct and stood on their own...though worked well together.

                  We finished this Culinary adventure with 2 rich decadent Chocolate was a cold chocolate drink which was laced with sea was subtle. We enjoyed this with a Baked Chocolate Ganache with Cilantro Phyllo and Raspberry Sorbet.....
                  I love the play with the Sea Salt and the Cilantro with the Chocolate. It had much more vibrancy and complexity than you would expect.

                  We finished the meal with a Suntory "Yamazaki 12 year" Whisky......
                  I could have enjoyed just sitting and sipping the Whiskey....I was so satiated from this cilinary experience.....

                  The final adventure of the evening was a tour of the Kitchen where our masterpiece was created and a view from the Upstairs chef's table. This was more than a working kitchen....this was a gallery. From the colors of the vibrant food and sauces in glistening pots and pans to the artwork on the walls to the Glass perch upstairs from the Chef's tasting menu. This was like a culinary museum. It would be fun to go back and enjoy dinner in the kitchen...though I definitely prefer the dim light of the Bar area to the bright lights of the kitchen. I think it would be great to watch my meal being was just a little to frenetic.

                  Kudo's to QAW for this Culinary Experience, the Staff and Chef @ Bar Charlie that could not have been more accomodating, friendly and knowledgable....and the Creativity of these young chefs...I am in awe!

                  This was an evening to savor for a long time.

                  1. re: ciaogal

                    Wow. Thanks for the great report. We're going to Vegas this weekend and now I wish we had an extra night.


                    1. re: ciaogal

                      To expound just a bit (although the above comments showed an amazing retention through so many flavors and pours), this was my second go-round with their full Kaiseki menu, and what made it special is that the first visit was "tracked", so that they could create another unique experience. What they did was sensational - there was not a dish that is listed on their current tasting menu (and two-thirds of those had also changed since the earlier visit), and there was a tremendous attention to detail. That detail is particularly impressive when they were bringing out some of their creations for the first time. They have a most talented young stuff, and it was a joy to see their creativity at play - while agreeing with Ciaogal that the Ohmi-Gyu was the best beef I have ever tasted, and that the quality of the seafood was impeccable, when you walk away thinking about the cured Papaya served Yakitori style more than anything else, you have indeed had quite an evening.