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Aug 29, 2012 09:52 PM

Restaurant Week - Dinner 1 (D.O.C.G)

Restaurant Week (RW) Fall 2012

Our standard MO is for our favorite dining partners and my wife and I to each select a RW choice. This year my choice is D.O.C.G. and the other choice is Aquanox. Opinion here: Choices seem fewer this year and menus were similar.

Our first choice, DOCG,
Tuesday @ 600PM. Three course meal, no wine pairings. The wine list was large, but our table stayed with “by the glass” (maybe not the best choice). Three meal combinations reviewed as two of four were identical.

First Course: Two romaine salads, Carpaccio, and calamari. The romaine was a significant amount of very crisp romaine hearts (4-6), very lightly dressed with Caesar’s (I love lightly dressed). The Carpaccio was enough for two appetizers; the caper/onion dressing was excellent. The calamari was your standard squid, but was quite tasty.

Second Course: Two Maccheroni, Margherita Pizza, and grilled Salmon. The homemade spaghetti (Maccheroni) and the tomato sauce were pretty standard, but the meatballs were the smallest I have every had, good, and very tender. The pizza looked awesome; crispy w/nice char. Finally, my wife declared “Best Grilled Salmon in a long while.” What else to say?

Third Course: Two Mascarpone Cheesecake, Chocolate Mouse Bar, and Salted Carmel Budino (pudding). I forget that cheesecake doesn’t have to be the dense New York Style you often find in restaurants. This was more cheese pudding, soft, creamy, and luscious. The Mouse Bar was you basic high chocolate brownie. According to the table, the budino was the best dessert: soft crème Brule/custard, perfect caramel topping, and perfect sea salt on top.

As opposed to last year’s session, where we became second class diners in the eyes of the management (also a Cosmopolitan restaurant), we were treated grandly. Don, our server was very attentive and we had no service issues.

The value of Restaurant Week to the restaurants: Our foursome likely would not have visited DOCG had it not been RW. We were the first customers at 6:00 pm, but the place was pretty full by 7:30 (a very slow Tuesday evening). Looking around there were at least six other RW customers.

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  1. Thanks for the post LV. We didn't get a chance to make it DOCG during restaurant week, but plan to in the future.

    How was Aquanox?

    1. Great review. Like Philber above, would definitely like to hear your thougts on AquaKnow as well...

      6 Replies
      1. re: LongIslandChef

        AquaKnox Thoughts - Restaurant Week Dinner 2

        Well what to say? The food was not the most memorable and the service was Jekyll and Hyde. Let's start with the meal.

        First Course choices were Lobster Bisque, Crab Cakes, or Halloumi Cheese. I chose the bisque because Lobster Bisque is probably my favorite soup; my wife chose the Cheese because it included Shisito Peppers (my favorite since dining at Raku. Unfortunately, I wasn't very successful in growing them this season, but February and seed season is just around the corner). The bisque was basic, tasty and satisfying. My wife raved about the cheese. Probably should have ordered it, but bisque is my siren.

        Second course: Prawns, Ribcap, or Salmon. One prawn, two steaks, and one salmon ordered. I don't think any of the entrees stood tall or laid flat. Really nothing bad or good.

        Third course: Creme Brulee or Homemade ice cream sundae. Here it was two each; I ordered the brulee and it was a good brulee but soupy.

        The non-Restaurant Week menu looked good. The restaurant is a one-only, not run by a celebrity chef and probably would return except for the Jekyll/Hyde service.

        Which first; poor service or great service? Chronologically, the poor service set the tone for my mediocre review as much as the great service tried to improve my thoughts; so poor service first.

        Our Open Table reservation was Saturday night @ 600 PM; we arrived at 5:40 because that's the way we are. The restaurant had seated earlier patrons, but we couldn't be seated at this time and were directed to the bar to wait and of course order a drink. Being a little bit upset at this I ordered lake mead water no ice no lemon and the bar didn't get that right (twice). There were many open tables. Precisely at 600 (I checked the cell phone), the hostess collected us at the bar and led us to the worst table in the place. This table was at the main focal point for the the three major routes from the kitchen to the rest of the restaurant. This is 600 PM and there are a lot of open tables; not the last " we are glad you are here, but this is all we have left table"! I asked to be reseated and we were finally moved to another table in a less traveled traffic lane, but still a final approach/departure route to the kitchen. But the hostess was not able to make this call without consulting either her boss or the computer.

        Now the much better table service from Chris, our waiter. Once we started our RW voyage, Chris was very attentive, but not cloying and made the dining experience very good.

        Just as a side note: both servers, at Aquaknox and DOCG were very enthusiastic about RW, but why do you HAVE to ask for the menu?

        1. re: lv1964

          Thanks for the review LV. We had a similar experience last year at RM Seafood. We arrived about 15 minutes before our reservation time and were asked to wait to be seated despite many, many open tables. We had two teenagers with us so sitting at the bar while we waited wasn’t an option. While we were waiting a family of four went up to the hostess, stated they did not have reservations and were IMMEDIATELY seated! The table we were seated at was fine and happened to be adjacent to the family that had no reservations, so it didn’t seem to have anything to do with service staff or table location.

          Anyone have a reason why restaurants would do this? I haven't been able to think of one....

          1. re: Philber

            I've never heard of such a thing. As a chef, I'd want to get them in sooner so we could turn the table that much faster. Makes no sense to me unless the place is packed and they don't have an open table yet. To make you sit and wait for 15 minutes when the place is empty is utter stupidity.

            What Philber said is even worse. To actually seat a table with no reservations before the people with reservations is beyond stupidity.

            forgot to add, of course what they're supposed to do is thank you for being on time/early and seat you immediately

            1. re: LongIslandChef

              The understanding me thought that maybe the restaurant wasn't fully staffed until 6 PM. The cynic in me says it is to get more money by having us buy Strip price cocktails. My personal response was to order only water.

              1. re: lv1964

                True, but this is the kind of stuff that drives me nuts about the business!!!
                Even if they're not fully staffed until 6, there's someone there who could get you started for 15 minutes until your real server shows up. Even if it was just to order some drinks and maybe an appetizer or two at the table instead of the bar or even just to answer any questions about the menu.

                There is definitely the possibility they're just trying to sell more drinks like you mentioned. But to me that's REALLY cheesy. If you want drinks, you would ask to go to the bar first to have a drink before being seated. Not up to them to "suggest it" or like the case mentioned here, basically forced to go to the bar to wait. Of course, if the place is packed, that's a different story.
                I don't blame you for ordering a water, I'd probably do the same, or or just tell them I'm waiting to order at the table...

                1. re: LongIslandChef

                  I've posted about this before, but IMO it's common practice to _not_ seat people right away, in hopes that they'll buy a round of drinks. I can't count the times we've been told "half-hour wait", that suddenly turned into a 3-minute wait when they saw we weren't going to the bar.