Alex at the Wynn
When we found out that we were going to be in Las Vegas for business, the task of selecting the restaurants we would visit became of paramount importance. Who better to seek advice from than one of my favorite local Portland, Maine chefs, Krista Kern (of Bresca fame). Having spent time in Vegas kitchens, she steered me straight to
Alex at the Wynn, describing Chef Alex Stratta as one of the best chefs in Vegas.
She didn't lead me astray. Our experience at Alex was a gastronomic symphony!
Treats from the chef included asparagus cream soup with lemon infusion, a spectacular trio of tuna tartar, veal and proscuttio, a silky artichoke soup, kampachi belly tartar that tasted as though it had been just pulled from the sea, a tiny cheese puff that had a surprisingly warm liquid cheese center, and a delicate puff pastry that contained a medley of earthy sauteed mushrooms and sweet caramelized onions. The Chef had some fun with the last creation, a miniature lobster "burger." A lobster claw, topped with roasted red pepper and lettuce, was sandwiched between a tiny sesame seed bun.
Our appetizer selections were Napoleon of Bluefin Tuna, Kanpachi and Osetra Caviar and Santa Barbara Spotted prawns with Ricotta Gnocchi. My entree, crispy wild sea bass, served with garlic ravioli, basil puree and red pepper bouillabaisse, had a distinctively Mediterranean flavor. My husband's quail was wrapped in a thin layer of smokey, salty pancetta and served with sweet figs, tangy rhubarb and a creamy celery root puree. I selected the refershing coconut crepes for dessert, while my husband opted for the decadent Chocolate and Banana Napoleon.
The cuisine is inventive French/Italian fusion. The service is flawless, sophisticated without being stuffy. I will undoubtedly return to Las Vegas on business at some point in the future and the one single restaurant I will seek out is Alex.
I thoroughly enjoyed Alex and second or third the tasting menu. However, in the grand scheme of things I would rate it as just a bit under Robuchon and Guy Savoy in Las Vegas. Per Se is at or a teeny, weeny bit ahead of Robuchon but I can't make any comments versus the French Laundry since I haven't eaten there.
Alex is close - but not quite as good as The French Laundry. My husband and I debated through our entire 16 courses at Robuchon whether it was better than the French Laundry. It is extremely close - almost on par - but The French Laundry is just a bit more creative and far less formal.
take a look at my review of Alex in a recent posting entitled The Review: Three Fine Dining Nights in Vegas. We were just there last weekend and had the tasting menu, which I listed. We thought it was good, but not great. I have a hard time believing that it is good as French Laundry but I've never been.
Here is a link to my review: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/530071