Swelterin’ in Sin City- Las Vegas Report Day One: ‘wichcraft and Nob Hill
Hubby and I arrived in Las Vegas on the 6th of July and met up with the in-laws at the mall. Soon it was time for a light lunch so as not to spoil our dinner at Nob Hill later in the evening. We stopped in at ‘wichcraft for a quick bite. Hubby and I split the roasted turkey, avocado, bacon, and balsamic onions on a French roll and made it a combo for $15 which included chips, beverage, and fruit. The sandwich was good, especially with the flavor of the onions, but nothing special. My in-laws had the chicken breast, roasted, red pepper, mozzarella, and pesto panini combo, which they also split. Both of them agreed it was a competent sandwich, but nothing special. The pesto had good flavor, but there was so little of it on the sandwich, you could barely taste it. After a few jokes about how we could critique Tom Colicchio for a few of his missteps here (we are all Top Chef fans), we departed to check-in at the Signature.
at the Studio Walk in the MGM
Open daily 10am-5pm
Later that night we arrived at Nob Hill to indulge in the $60 summer tasting menu currently being offered at several of the MGM restaurants. There was your choice of one of three apps and entrees and your choice of two desserts. The three appetizer choices were: cheese fondue served with sourdough bread, farmer’s market salad with fresh hearts of palm and yuzu dressing, or a sampler platter of beef skewers, summer roll with duck confit, and Dungeness crab truffles. The three entrée choices were: cioppino with a spicy tomato broth, duo of pork, or chicken “tetrazzini” with truffled mac and cheese. The two desserts options were either a cable car crème brulee or a strawberry salad with candied fennel and pistachios. We brought a bottle of 2000 Oakville Plumpjack Cabernet Sauvignon for a corkage of $35 since we were anxious to see how it was doing.
The table was brought an amuse of poached lobster in a saffron, white wine reduction and it was perfectly cooked and very delicious. Bread was also brought to the table, three loaves, a sourdough, walnut, and Italian olive. All three were quite good and it was fun mixing and matching with the three different butters: regular, celery, and honey walnut.
I ordered the cheese fondue, cioppino, and cable car crème brulee. Hubby ordered the farmer’s market salad, duo of pork, and cable car crème brulee. My mother in law ordered the cheese fondue, chicken tetrazzini, and the strawberry salad. My father in law ordered the appetizer platter, duo of pork, and crème brulee. So between the four of us I think we covered all the available options on the tasting menu. My mother in law and I both enjoyed eating the fondue, which was rich and bubbly and heavily dosed with white wine. The only real problem was that the fondue got way too hot and started boiling heavily. We had to blow out the sterno heater below it and we almost burned our mouths on the hot cheese. Hubby enjoyed the greens and yuzu dressing, but the hearts of palm and cucumber just seemed extraneous. The salad wasn’t really a complete picture. My father in law thought the appetizer platter was okay, but again, not really a composed picture, just different pieces arranged (beautifully) on a large plate.
The entrees soon arrived and a huge bowl was placed before me filled with all kinds of seafood, and then the waiter poured the hot, spicy tomato broth over it. A nice tableside presentation. There were mussels, scallops, Dungeness crab, shrimp, a white fish, and lobster claw meat. All of the seafood was of excellent quality, fresh and bursting with a slight sea flavor that paired excellently with the tomato broth. Probably one of the best cioppinos that I have ever had and I live not too far from San Francisco. Hubby and father in law had the pork duo which consisted of a pork belly in a honey glaze and pork loin medallions wrapped in bacon with a pepper au jus and a turnip gratin. Hubby thought the pork belly was enjoyable, rich and uncutuous with a fatty flavor. The honey glaze was sweet and reminiscent of a barbeque flavor. Good, but you wouldn’t want to eat a lot of it. The pork loin was good, with the essence of bacon. Neither flavor overwhelmed the other, but they worked together very well. The turnip gratin was forgettable. Each individual part of the dish was good, but it didn’t seem to really work together well. The chicken “tetrazzini” with the truffled mac and cheese arrived topped with fried onions and there seemed to be an entire chicken on the plate. The chicken itself was tender and juicy, herby and delicious. The real star, though, was the truffled mac and cheese. The mac and cheese on its own was creamy and cheesy and the pasta cooked al dente with just a slight hint of chewiness. The truffles really set off the cheesiness of the dish very well, their earthiness really broke through the creaminess of the dish. An excellently composed dish.
With the entrees came a sampler of mashed potatoes: the original flavor which must have consisted of mostly butter and cream with a slight dash of potato, the horseradish, which was a big winner at the table, a rosemary which seemed almost too herby, the chive which was fine, and the salsa which everyone seemed to enjoy.
The desserts were up next. The cable car crème brulee was rich and delicious although not really that different from any other crème brulee. It was a huge portion, and though I really like crème brulee I was unable to finish it. The strawberry salad was very unique and delicious and I think I would be inclined to order it next time. The strawberries were small and sweet and finished with a sweet glaze. The candided fennel gave the dish a slight taste of licorice which blended well with the sweetness of the strawberries. A very nicely composed and well planned dessert.
All together the meal was $337 before tip for the four tasting meals, the corkage, a cocktail, a tea, and three coffees (French pressed). An enjoyable meal and surely an excellent value, especially for Vegas. It is also nice that there are no real restrictions on the summer tasting menu as you can use it any day and any time until the end of August. The restaurant is a very modern, urban setting and the service was excellent and unobtrusive if a bit impersonal. Hubby and I went to Craftsteak at a later meal for the same $60 tasting menu and enjoyed a bit more, but you certainly wouldn’t go wrong at this restaurant. It just felt that the chef at Craftsteak had put more thought into the tasting menu there and made sure all the flavors blended together well. At Nob Hill you kind of got the feeling that they put the menu together by just picking out existing dishes at random and then asking you to choose from them.
at the MGM