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Review - American Fish, Julian Serrano, Craftsteak, Bradley Ogden and Bartolotta

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We just got back from 5 days in Vegas where we pretty much did nothing but sit by the pool and eat big dinners. I’ll preface this by saying that while I enjoy good meals I’m not a very experienced foodie, so this isn’t going to be a review on the level of some of the others you see around here. What I lack in knowledge I seem to have made up for in wordiness, though – sorry about that.

American Fish – We loved it here. We were seated side by side at a table facing the kitchen so we could watch the chefs work, which was really fun – my husband was delighted every time they stoked the wood burning stoves. The wine list was extensive and had a number of reasonably priced options; we were going to order a half bottle but then discovered that they had full bottles for basically the same price. The bread was grilled over the wood stove and was delicious and the olive oil provided for dipping was even better – I don’t generally like olive oil with my bread but this stuff was superb. The bread basket also had corn muffins, which were very good. I had the mustard marinated black cod and my husband had the tuna and they were both amazing. They fell down a little on the vegetables on the side – mine were undercooked and pretty hard (carrots, broccoli and potato). We also split a side of asparagus, though, which was unbelieveable – it seriously blew me away, with it’s perfect crunch of breadcrumbs and the taste of the asparagus enhanced by the saltiness of ham and morel mushrooms. My only other problem was a slight service issue – our waitress pushed the tasting menu pretty hard but neglected to tell us until we tried to order that they were out of 5 (I believe – she rattled them off pretty quickly) of the 12 types of fish listed on the menu, including the one that I had ordered (which, weirdly, was also on the tasting menu so I guess they were saving it for the people willing to shell out more money?). For dessert we split the poached peaches which was also very good, although I think that cutting the peaches a little thicker would have elevated it to great – they were very thin strips of peach.

Julian Serrano – this was our least favourite of our dinners, which isn’t to say that it wasn’t good, just that the rest of the food we ate was generally great. As others have commented about the tuna with molecular raspberry, the raspberry really overpowered the tuna. I also had some issues with the consistency of this dish, as I would have liked a bit of a crunch. I think that I might have been happier with it if I had cut it in half and eaten it in two bites. The mushroom risotto was very good, and my favourite dish of the night, but I’m a sucker for a mushroom risotto. I also very much enjoyed the stuffed pequillo peppers. The white fish ceviche tasted almost purely of lime and cilantro, but I’ve never had ceviche before so maybe it’s supposed to? It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t see the need to pay for fish when really I could have just eaten a lime with cilantro garnish and had the same experience. And the chicken croquettes were hot and very nicely crunchy but I found them slightly bland. The desserts, however, were really very good – the churros were yummy and the spiced chocolate dipping sauce was outstanding, and the Spanish crème brulee was fantastic.

Craftsteak – This was a return visit after my husband was blown away by the food last year, and we weren’t disappointed. I reordered the short ribs, and they were just as delicious as I remembered, with a really incredible jus that I was tempted to drink (straight out of the totally adorable copper pot that it was served in, which I was tempted to steal) but which I settled for mopping up with delicious little bread rolls they served. My husband had the flank steak, which was also really great, very tender and juicy with a nice char on the edges. A friend who’d joined us for the night had the flat iron steak, which was in my opinion the weakest of the three but still pretty good. For sides we split the asparagus and the mushroom assortment, which were both good (although the asparagus suffered in comparison to the asparagus from American Fish). I really liked the family style service of craftsteak, as it allowed us to all share all the dishes, although next time I would just get 2 meat dishes and more sides (note, though, that none of us have huge appetites and we ate everything, so the portion sizes weren’t overwhelming).

Bradley Ogden – we sat in the lounge here so that my husband could have the prix fixe menu with the burger. When I urged him to get the tomato salad to start so that I could share it the waitress offered to have the kitchen split it. Either the tomato salad is HUGE or she very sweetly just brought us each our own. I cannot say enough about how incredible this tomato salad was, which I realize sounds silly because it’s tomato but it was the best thing I ate all week. Perfectly ripe tomato sitting on the most amazing pesto accompanied by a few small shavings of parmesan (I think – some hard cheese, anyway) and a crunchy toast-type cracker. I’m drooling just thinking about it. We also had an option of 3 types of bread, and while between us we tried them all, the only one I remember was the blue corn muffin, which was really good. My husband’s burger was juicy and perfectly cooked and he loved it. I had a mushroom risotto that was pretty good, not great, but I was still flying high from the tomato salad. We capped it off by splitting his dessert, a perfectly sized cup of butterscotch pudding and 2 snickerdoodles that were a bit soft in the middle for me but that my husband loved and happily polished off.

Bartolotta – Got off to a bit of a bad start when the hostess came to get us from the bar where we’d started a bottle of wine and somewhat rudely asked if we’d settled up with the bar – I had to ask confusedly if we couldn’t just add the wine to our dinner bill? Then we were escorted to a table inside, despite the fact that we’d come by earlier in the week to request an outside table and there were a number of them empty (but not all of them, so we knew the outside wasn’t totally closed) and nobody said anything explaining this. Once our waitress came by things got better, as she explained the portion sizes of the pasta (as is they were sized as an app portion but could be doubled as a main) and then came by with the fish cart. My husband was a bit intimidated by the idea of a whole fish as I really just wanted pasta, plus I’d talked him out of the roast chicken at Bradley Ogden because I wanted to try the burger, so he ordered roast chicken with a first course of pasta with lobster, crab and shrimp and I ordered the parmesan cocotte with a main-sized portion of tagliatelli con funghi. My husband was very happy with his pasta and my cocotte was delicious – basically a thicker cheese soup highlighted with mushrooms and roasted brussel sprout leaves (after tasting it my husband said “They made brussel sprouts taste good. They’re magicians!”). As for the mains, my husband’s roast chicken was very good – the skin was perfectly crispy. I only tried one bite, though, because my pasta was by far the best pasta I’ve ever eaten. The pasta was so light and airy, I couldn’t get over it. It was amazing. The portion was very large, though, and after having already eaten an appetizer I could barely eat ¼ of it and seriously I wanted to cry thinking about how incredible it was and how I was wasting it. I was slightly over-vehement explaining to our waitress that no, there was nothing wrong with it, and that I was incredibly disappointed with myself for not being able to eat more of it. Even now I’m sad that I didn’t force myself to eat just one more bite. Despite my fullness we ordered dessert – the trio of gelato/sherbets. We selected coconut, raspberry and lemon and had a hard time picking which one was the best, as they were all amazing, tasting like the essence of the fruit they’d come from. We weren’t able to finish the bottle of wine we’d started so the waitress poured the rest into our glasses and suggested we take them with us to walk around – I’m not sure if this is standard or was only allowed because were staying at the Wynn but either was it was appreciated and a pretty funny end to our evening, walking through the casino, shoes in hand in my case (heels + bottle of wine = tragic ending), sipping our wine and saying goodbye to Vegas.

In terms of breakfasts and lunches we skipped them for the most part but a few thoughts – the food poolside at the Wynn is not worth it. Stale, over-bready sandwiches. Take 10 minutes and run into the Terrace Café and order something to take back with you. We had a bagel and yogurt with granola and fruit from there for breakfast one day and they were both very very good and relatively reasonably priced. We hit Taqueira Canonita for happy hour (1400 to 1900) one day and loved it – split tacos, quesadillas and chips and salsa. We’re from Toronto and our Tex Mex options are relatively limited so it was a real treat to have really good chips and salsa. Finally we hit Bouchon Bakery for some breakfast on our last morning before our flight – my croissant was very good, my husband’s ham and cheese croissant grilled was even better. For plane snacks he picked up a blueberry tart and I had a carrot cake cookie and a lemon macaron – the macaron was a letdown, I found it overly sweet when I wanted the filling to be sour, but the cookie was perfect, moist, not too sweet, and studded with walnuts.

Hope that helps somebody make a decision – this forum was immeasurable help to me when planning meals so it seemed like reporting back was the least I coudl do.

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Bouchon
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Bradley Ogden
3570 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

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  1. Thanks for your beautifully detailed well-written report. I judge a review based on how well the writer conveys the meal. After your reviews, I felt as if I was dining with you.