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Apr 9, 2014 08:51 PM

4/5/14 Dining Report - Terrace Point Cafe, Cathay House Restaurant, Carlo's Bakery, Yusho

The full Yusho thread is here:

The rest, as follows.

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  1. Terrace Point Café:

    Located in The Wynn overlooking the resort’s lush gardens and pools Terrace Point Café had long been on my breakfast ‘to-do’ list and with a Saturday morning meeting behind me our 9:00am arrival found myself and a friend squarely in the middle of the restaurant’s morning bustle, a friendly but overburdened server named Hector providing service for the subsequent two hours. Open for breakfast and lunch featuring a well culled ‘all-day’ menu of novel takes on staples from each it was with minimal delay that options were perused and opting for one course savory and a second sweet it would not be long before plates arrived, each surprisingly well portioned and pristinely prepared to justify an admittedly high tariff. Beginning with butter-poached lobster atop savory waffles and a bed of fresh vegetables liberally topped with creamy béarnaise alongside two crispy fried chicken breasts stacked amidst supple waffles crowned with an egg and Crystal infused maple syrup suffice it to say that both ingredient sourcing and preparation technique proved every bit worthy of Steve Wynn’s reputation and yet as good as these were the sweets that followed were even better, the crunch-yields-custard French Toast among the nation’s best even before adding pure maple syrup while the mountain of fluffy pancakes sandwiching layers of vanilla tinged cream cheese resembled a true Red Velvet cake big enough to share…amongst four. Truly an enjoyable morning bathed in the warm sunshine of immense windows and high ceilings it was admittedly with some regret that we neglected to taste any of Terrace Point’s pastries but returning later that day after a bit of Fashion Show shopping I opted to make amends at grab-and-go sister, Drugstore Café – a trio of three items proving equally competent to that served in the dining room with both a decadent brioche cinnamon roll and rich “magic” cookie bar proving delicious and slightly superior to the twice-baked almond croissant; a shattering shell and great texture marred by just a bit too much sweet frangipane; a good choice for the strip but a far cry from Bonjour or Sugar Bee’s for city’s best.

    1. Cathay House Restaurant:

      Having found KJ Seafood and Dim Sum at the Rio a good value for high quality cart service as a packed dining room assured freshly circulating plates throughout our ninety minute stay it was with a group of five that I sat down at Spring Mountain staple Cathay House hoping to further dispel rumors of Sin City’s subpar dim sum but with slipshod service and too few patrons even on Saturday at noon the results were, at best, mixed. Starting at the door where hasty greetings lead us to the back room it would be less that thirty seconds after seating that the blitzkrieg began – baskets and steamers that had clearly been propped against the wall shoved in our faces with several selections requiring an unannounced trip to the kitchen microwave – and kicking off with a trio of steamed options it was only BBQ Pork buns that proved competent as rubbery XLB and Shu Mai skins undermined otherwise juicy contents. Still frenetic in pace as a $16 lobster special with slippery noodles swimming in ginger found its way to the table alongside a trio of excellent baked pastries it would unfortunately not be long before these gems were lost amidst overly salted garlic smelt and a dry coconut sponge, the duo immediately leaving me parched as beverage refills lagged. Admittedly underwhelmed at this point but willing to go one more round it was at long last (actually only 40 minutes) that Cathay House would rally with a strong finish from a duo of kitchen fresh carts – the crispy duck, sticky pork ribs, and supple shrimp balls all piping hot and reference standard leaving me to wonder what could have been had everything else been delivered fresh.

      1. Carlo's Bakery:

        Admittedly surprised by the passionate service of red sauce classics at Buddy V’s and Chef Valastro’s hands on approach to business during an early walkthrough of his imported Hoboken storefront it was with seemingly appropriate expectations that I approached the newly minted Carlo’s Bakery during its first official Saturday at The Venetian but with high prices, meager portions, and pedestrian pastry besmirched by long lines and paltry service suffice it to say the “cake boss” has a lot to learn. Clever in design and diverse in craft with cakes, cannoli, cookies by the pound and more sold in the Italian tradition of tickets and hand bills Carlo’s problems begin at the door where several starry eyed customers forget tickets in the face of photo-ops and proceeding to the counter the issue is multiplied by mislabeled product, the fledgling staff all the more confused with items frequently forgotten by many early reports – in my case a $3 creampuff for which I was charged but never received. Moving next to the product, prices not substantially different from the east coast flagship but still dramatically inflated given the name on the door, my tasting began with a pair of pre-filled cannolis and with sog already setting in suffice it to say better can be had at Montesano’s for half the price, any true Italian realizing filled-to-order is the only way to go. Admittedly disappointed but moving on to more, a duo of $3.50 cupcakes smaller and far less inspiring than Sprinkles or Bouchon would follow and proceeding to a duo of forgettable cookies I was thankful when three forms of puff pastry finally proved memorable – the fresh-cut Napoleon I’d watched the team layer, frost, and cut in the kitchen a flaky masterpiece and the still-warm cinnamon strudel danish a pastry well worth the five bucks. Obviously new and clearly capable of sustaining a few bumps in the road on the backs of adoring fans it will be interesting to see just how long Buddy and team can ride the initial wave of hype, but featuring the only legitimate Italian Bakery on the strip I’m sure they’ll be around long enough to justify waiting to visit unless one is a true fan – and even then I’d suggest checking out Freed’s or Montesano’s first.