5/3/14 Dining Report - Divine Eatery, Holsteins, BLVD Creamery, Aces & Ales
Aces & Ales - http://endoedibles.com/?p=19147
Having found myself quite impressed by Born And Raised with a subsequent visit to Naked City Pizza Shop showing nearly as well it was with only modest ‘bar food’ skepticism that I agreed to a friend’s suggestion to visit Aces & Ales on North Tenaya for some Saturday Night playoff action – a game-tying goal with 7-seconds on the clock and an OT-Win for the Kings pairing with surprisingly good food and a relaxed atmosphere for a nice change of pace. Large in size and seemingly crafted from an old barn with comfortable communal seating amidst the glow of two-dozen televisions and gentle fluorescent lights it was mere moments after entrance that we were greeted by our young waitress and although not much help on the enormous beer list her service proved competent, each of six plates and six beers brought with good pacing and wide-smiles as water glasses continually brimmed full. Unable to speak to the beer flight but impressed by the $12 tab it was with bar-food-staple soft pretzels alongside squeaky curds that we began and with both golden bites proving plenty salty it was the sauces that served as game-changers – the funky bleu, beer cheese, and queso all remarkable. Moving next to things more substantial it was to a truly cheesy trio that we were next treated and although the pizza could have tolerated a few more minutes in the oven to firm up the crust I was more than impressed by the ingredient quality across the board – bright Romas and fresh basil on the pie while crisp bacon and snappy apples graced the toasty sandwich, a skillet of tender macaroni under a blend of cream, cheese, and breadcrumbs rounding out the troika. Never one to end a good meal without something sweet it was last but not least that we rounded out the evening with a steamy skillet cookie riddled with chocolate chips and eating more as a pudding than a cookie beneath Blue Bell Vanilla as Gaborik ended the game I couldn’t help but smile…they just don’t do sports bars like this back in Ohio.
BLVD Creamery - http://endoedibles.com/?p=19104
The latest roll-out in the reinvention of The Monte Carlo, and aside from Yusho the most interesting by far, BLVD Creamery opened with little fanfare but with elegant ice creams, sorbets, and baked goods made in house daily one can only hope artisan ice cream is the new ‘celebrity burger’ of The Strip. Large in both size and selection with high ceilings and kitschy cow décor plus a youthful staff already well trained it was just after 1pm that I entered the new BLVD and bearing no relationship to the cocktail bar in The Linq my experience started out with a tasting – no two-spoon limit like that of Sprinkles either, just a smiling face with recommendations comprising nearly half the selections and none but the overly-subtle tres leches less than impressive. Silky in texture and close to gelato in heft with large single-scoops starting at $4 it was eventually on the horchata-esque rice pudding that I settled and served in a fresh baked compressed-cookie bowl without accoutrements I can confidently say Art of Flavors finally has some creamy frozen competition – a bit of oneupsmanship from the newcomer, even, in the form of two warm cookies on par with the best of Las Vegas Boulevard. Similarly priced to AoF as well as Sprinkles with a patio adjacent to the new Sambalatte one can only hope that BLVD spurs the same sort of creativity and competition in frozen treats that Due Forni and Settebello brought to reinvent the Las Vegas pizza scene over the last ten years because in a city of two-million with triple digit temperatures and tons of tourists there is a whole lot of space between Monte Carlo and Chef Desyree’s spot up north for something cold and creamy.
Holsteins - http://endoedibles.com/?p=19074
Another concept restaurant from Block 16 Hospitality that has generated raves since its inception at The Cosmopolitan I’d frequently entertained a visit to Holsteins but it was not until nearly three and a half years after first visiting the property that I finally sat down for lunch, a $130 meal for two at a casual ‘shakes and buns’ place rather absurd in retrospect even though much of the experience was admittedly quite good. Large, loud, and sceney on its own and all the more so with Marquee launching its dayclub across the way it was amongst the sunkissed and scantily clad that we entered Holsteins at the eleven o’clock opening hour and led to a large table with views of both the televised NHL playoffs as well as the crowd our meal began promptly with buttered popcorn and water as effusively friendly and efficient service guided us through the new spring menu. Not particularly fond of burgers myself but willing to share in the setting of other selections it was with a duo of creamy, boozed-up shakes alongside four underwhelming hushpuppies that tasted neither of shrimp nor spicy pork that our order kicked-off and progressing at a good pace as the dining crowd swelled it was not long before the second wave arrived; the $17 pasta hilariously overpriced given the dearth of lobster and small size but both the belly on bao and burger truly delicious – the later a perfect medium with great balance and texture derived from impeccable accoutrements including the melting avocado. Never one to skimp on sweets, particularly in belated celebration of my friend’s birthday, it was with the new “Un-Birthday” cake that our meal concluded and featuring layers of dense cake juxtaposing smooth frosting in a portion large enough for four suffice it to say that the $15 charge is warranted, a rarity on any Block 16 menu.
Divine Eatery - http://endoedibles.com/?p=19050
Located all the way up in Centennial and tucked away in a small business park it was a serendipitous mention by a colleague browsing restaurant.com that lead me through the doors of Divine Eatery just after seven on a bright Saturday morning, my entry met by an empty dining room and warm welcomes from the lone cook and single server. Not exactly the sort of place one stumbles upon but warm and cheery with local art available for purchase on the walls the menu of Divine Eatery is divided into breakfast/lunch sections for those arriving from 7a-2p with dinner commencing at five o’clock and with both staples and novelties available my order veered towards breakfast – a three part order mistakenly turning into four when my server seemingly read my mind and ordered dessert for me even though I’d not requested it. Surprisingly soon to swell in patronage as the clock struck 7:30 and reaching perhaps 2/3 capacity by eight it was with several cups of Seattle’s Fonte coffee and the restaurant’s 80s soundtrack that I passed time until my breakfast arrived and citing Divine’s reluctance to stock artificial sweetener “to focus on natural, unprocessed” food I have to say I was a bit let down as all options arrived with artificial maple syrup while the $5 Red Velvet short-stack tasted not only processed but chalky as well. Turning my attention to the items that worked, both the scratch made buttermilk biscuit and crispy French Toast serving as a sort of crust to a topping of pecan pie proved remarkable while my freebie dessert – not at all natural or unprocessed – was exactly what you’d expect, the strawberry jus sopped up into the light batter of the Twinkie rousing thoughts of the pending summer and shortcake.