Spago, and Las Vegas "Winter Food"
One of the laments in Las Vegas is that for all of the high-profile places we have on the Strip, we do not have nearly enough "seasonal" options, especially in Winter (OK, so we do not really have much of a winter here, but it at least cools down enough to take the taste buds in a different direction). So time for a shout-out here to Spago, a place that tends to be a little forgotten because of so many new venues having opened in recent years, and particularly to Eric Klein.
A "Winter" mood got us to Spago earlier this week because of the Charcroute Garnie Royale on the menu, and not only did it hit the mark, it goes down as one of our best Las Vegas meals of the calendar year. It was also a reminder that we should think of this as Klein's place now, instead of just another branch of the Wolfgang Puck tree (Puck hired him from the Alsace region almost 15 years ago, and Klein worked for him for several years before coming to Las Vegas to open the SW Steakhouse for Steve Wynn). So who better to make choucroute than someone that was born and raised in that area, and also began his culinary career there?
Many times choucroute is actually more than the sum of the individual parts, often getting rid of leftovers or lesser products, with quantity more of a focus than quality. That is not the case here. All of the meats are either made or smoked by Klein in-house (blood sausage, chicken weisswurst, beer sausage, smoked pork loin and braised pork belly), and the braised sauerkraut and yukon gold potatoes were a terrific base to let all of the different flavors and textures of the meats take their stage. We were really taken by the amount of individual attention that went into each component - there was no filler here, with a real hand-made boutique quality to the ingredients. Kudos to chef Klein, and shame on us for not having frequented Spago for a few years.