When one thinks of Las Vegas, the image of a classy wine bar does not always come to mind, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Grape Street Café is a wine bar and restaurant in the heart of Las Vegas. While the wine they sell is quality, the price is low, with many specials including 50 percent off all wine taken out of the restaurant and a 50 percent off special on dine in wine on Mondays.
With a wine list longer than most restaurants, this winery offers a vino for every taste pallet, including Chiantis and Roses.
In addition to their selection of fine wines, Grape Street also offers a full food list for lunch and dinner. The meals that pair perfectly with their wine selection. Yelp users rave about the baked brie and the different pasta selections.
Las Vegas Restaurants Just Keep Getting Better and Better
Luxury and low-key go hand-in-hand at the city&rsquos best casino-resorts, where the hot new restaurants are all about balance.
Consider the mapo lobster.
At the new Mott 32 inside The Palazzo in Las Vegas, the head of a one-and-half-pound Boston lobster rests atop a pool of soft, silky tofu and chunks of fresh lobster meat. The dish, which includes chile paste, Sichuan peppercorns, and cloves, is spicy and mala but not overwhelmingly so. The lobster is the star, and the contrast of flavors and textures between the lobster and the tofu is delightful.
If you want the typical pyrotechnics of Sichuan food, you’re better off heading off-Strip for a meal at Chengdu Taste. But Mott 32’s lobster mapo tofu is splendid in its own way. It’s a reminder that eating in a Vegas casino-resort is about luxury ingredients, but also about balance. At chef Alan Ji’s Mott 32, Peking duck is the main event for a lot of tables, but you can also marvel at culinary tricks like hot-and-sour soup dumplings made with Ibérico pork. These dumplings are definitely spicy and tangy, but the bold flavors don’t overshadow the richness of the top-tier pork.
Balance probably isn’t the first thing you think about when you see a plate of chilled capellini with caviar and gold leaf. But at the new Mr. Coco, ace mixologist Francesco Lafranconi’s hidden lounge at Palms, chef Juventino Magana serves a dazzling buttery pasta that’s completely harmonious with the caviar atop it. The gold leaf doesn’t taste like anything, of course, so that doesn’t affect the flavor of this dish. This is high-end bliss that you’ll probably want to pair with a glass of Champagne. Magana, who previously cooked at Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, says he plans to make carbonara with ultra-premium Ibérico de Bellota ham, which sounds at least as over-the-top as pasta with caviar and gold leaf. But we feel like he’s got the skills to pull it off nicely.
Also new at Palms is Sara’s, Michael Symon’s “meateasy” tucked inside Mabel’s BBQ. This is an elegant supper club where a tuxedoed server brings over a cart with smoked prime rib. It’s a restaurant where a classic and perfect Dover sole with brown butter, capers, parsley, and lemon is filletedtableside. The fried chicken at Sara’s is topped with black truffle and honey. The cherries jubilee is flamb tableside.
But maybe our favorite thing about Sara’s is how you can channel your inner Fred Flintstone and order some prime-rib bones as a starter. These big bones with lots of meat attached are labeled as 𠇌rispy beef bones” on the menu. They come with horseradish, parsley, citrus, and shallot. Your waiter might recommend you start with a knife and fork before using your hands. Feel free to gnaw until all the meat is gone. After you’re done, there are hot towels with lemons for your hands and face. Sara’s is a lot of fun.
One amusing thing about Mr. Coco and Sara’s is that eating like this can be considered a low-key night in Vegas, especially at the Palms resort with the huge Kaos club that opens April 4 and has booked headlining DJs like Marshmello and Skrillex many weekends. Seeing a sultry lounge singer at Mr. Coco is definitely counterprogramming to a night of fist-pumping and dubstep at Kaos. This is a very specific Vegas form of balance.
So at The Venetian, you can rage at Tao before or after you enjoy Sam Ross cocktails at The Dorsey, or you can indulge yourself at the new outpost of chef Angelo Auriana’s The Factory Kitchen. Auriana, who also has The Factory Kitchen in L.A.’s Arts District, is a pasta master. One showstopping example of his prowess is a strikingly green mandilli di seta, a handkerchief pasta with Ligurian almond basil pesto that tastes as bright as it looks. There are also many exemplary braised meats as well as crowd-pleasing porchetta at The Factory Kitchen. This restaurant offers all kinds of comfort.
At the new Park MGM, you can eat kimchi jjigae near the DJ booth at Roy Choi’s Best Friend or you can dance after sipping cocktails from A-list mixologists at Mark and Jonnie Houston’s On the Record. Or you can settle in for a night of steak and wine at Manzo, the Eataly meatery where chef Nicole Brisson has a three-tiered wood-burning grill used to prepare fantastic cuts like dry-aged Creekstone Farms rib eyes. This is an “Italian butcher’s restaurant,” so pastas include a tremendously delicious and hearty agnolotti del plin with beef, pork, bone marrow, and black truffle.
Sommelier Talk: Harley Carbery Knows What Happens in Vegas
"I consider fast food 'hospitality' just as much as three Michelin–star restaurants," says Harley Carbery, director of wine for iconic Las Vegas Strip hotels Mandalay Bay and Delano Las Vegas. "It doesn’t matter how much the guest is paying for something, they want the same thing: They want to be fed, and drink something good, and be happy when they leave."
Carbery’s philosophy reflects his humble beginnings in the food-and-beverage industry, working at the local Dairy Queen in his native British Columbia, but his résumé quickly took him well beyond fast food. After studying hospitality in college, Carbery, now 38, began working with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts across Canada, where his passion for wine took off.
But it was the lights and action of Sin City that really fired Carbery up: He would soon be named wine director for L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Joël Robuchon Restaurant at the MGM Grand. In 2013, he crossed the street to manage the wine programs for both Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and Delano Las Vegas, including Grand Award–winning restaurant Aureole Las Vegas and Best of Award of Excellence winners Fleur by Hubert Keller, RIVEA Las Vegas and Stripsteak. Carbery spoke with Wine Spectator assistant editor Sara Heegaard about Canadian wine favorites, his proudest moment as a mentor, and why Las Vegas is one of the most underrated food-and-wine cities.
Wine Spectator: From Canada, what drew you to Las Vegas?
Harley Carbery: A very good friend of mine was working here at the Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay, actually, and I came down to visit him, and he really talked me into it. I had been here once before, and I just fell in love with the dining scene and the massive buildings and restaurants, and then of course the wine—that was the biggest thing. Vegas, to me, was the epicenter of the wine world, and I wanted to be part of that.
WS: Many people think of Vegas as more flash than substance. What makes the Las Vegas wine-and-dining scene serious and special?
HC: There’s nowhere else in the world where, on a few-mile stretch, you can dine at restaurants headed by Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Pierre Gagnaire, Michael Mina, Charlie Palmer—you could just go on and on with all the celebrity chefs. Everybody wants to be here, and I think that says something about Las Vegas just as a dining hub, and sometimes I don’t think we get the credit. It’s always in discussion behind New York and San Francisco and even Los Angeles, but when it comes down to it, I think we offer just as much, if not more, than those cities.
WS: Do any wine memories stick out in your mind as being particularly life-changing for you?
HC: I know the moment when I knew I wanted to pursue a career in wine. When I was in Whistler, the sommelier sold two of the best wines I had ever had at that point to the same table: a 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild and a 1982 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. He saved a little of both, and I tasted them at the end of the night with him. They both just blew me away. I wanted to know more about why I enjoyed them so much, how they were so good and what made them what they are. That was sort of the turning point in my food-and-beverage career, to sort of take me out of the restaurant management side and direct me toward wine more specifically.
WS: Have you ever been a mentor to someone pursuing a path in the wine world?
HC: I think I am a mentor to a number, but the one that I’m most proud of is my wife, actually. When we started dating she was a server at a restaurant here in Vegas, and that was about six years ago. Throughout the years, she’s studied. [She was previously] a sommelier at one of our sister restaurants here in Las Vegas, [Best of Award of Excellence winner] Julian Serrano at Aria, and she is now a wine broker for JC Boisset, Domaine Select Wines and Hudson Wine Brokers. There's a lot of wine at our house, and we’re constantly pushing each other, which is fun.
WS: What is your favorite food-and-wine pairing from the menu at Aureole Las Vegas?
HC: Being from the West Coast, I’m a big salmon fan, and a dish that’s been on the menu for as long as I’ve been here is a cedar plank Ora King salmon—delicious—[with] red wine, butter crust, carrots, polenta. That with a great red Burgundy is fantastic.
The ahi tuna tartare with the quail egg and a watermelon ponzu dressing, with a glass of Bruno Paillard Premier Cuvée Brut Champagne, is also pretty exceptional.
WS: The Las Vegas dining scene is very dynamic. What was the process like for selecting the wines at the new restaurants at Delano, Rivea and Skyfall Lounge?
HC: At the top of Delano Las Vegas, we just recently renovated what was formerly [Best of Award of Excellence winner] Mix by Alain Ducasse. Now it is RIVEA. It’s a Mediterranean theme—French, Italian Riviera—so a lot of seafood and very fresh ingredients and flavors. Myself and the Ducasse team, we sourced out a number of wines from that area of course, but also, to put a little twist on it, a lot of coastal American wines—we thought we’d tie in sort of an "American Riviera" portion as well: some great rosés, Italian and French varietals from California alongside their French and Italian counterparts.
WS: You’ve been with Aureole Las Vegas since April 2013. How has the wine program at the restaurant evolved since you arrived?
HC: With a lot of French dining in my background with Joël Robuchon, I’ve grown the French selections quite a bit. Austrian and German wines: some great Grüner Vetliners Rieslings, from the sweetest of the sweet to the driest of the dry and everything in between. This is probably one of the best selections of those in the country, if not in the world. It’s pretty fantastic. It’s also a great place to go for the people celebrating birthdays, because we have so many different vintages.
I’ve added a number of Canadian wines—not necessarily the biggest seller down here—but for those visiting from up north and people wanting to try something a little different, they’re definitely a hit.
WS: Are there any particular Canadian wines that you’d like to give a shout-out to?
HC: Mission Hill, the winery in general but [particularly] the Oculus, their top red, is great. The Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, all their wines are fun. I actually bring more Canadian wine into Nevada than anybody else, that’s for sure. I’m pretty proud of that, being a proud Canadian.
The M Resort: Great Views and Wine by the Sip
Sadly, the Veloce Cibro is no longer open to the public. Perhaps one day soon, we’ll be able to toast the view and enjoy the splendor of this great restaurant...Photo by Megan Edwards
For weeks before the grand opening, the M
Resort’s high-tech blimp let the valley know
what was coming
Ever since I saw the first cranes laboring at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway, I assumed I’d go to the grand opening of the $1 billion M Resort and Casino. It’s only two miles from my house, after all—practically walking distance. But when the fireworks began exploding the night of March 1, I wasn’t among the thousands who watched them up close. Even though casino openings are iconic occasions in Las Vegas, I skipped the traffic and crowds and enjoyed the pyrotechnics from my own backyard. I waited until the next morning to check out the property that hopes to redefine the Strip by extending its southern boundary by seven miles. In fact, the M Resort lies within the city limits of Henderson, making it the only development on Las Vegas Boulevard required to pay city taxes. All the other mega-resorts on the Strip are in unincorporated Clark County.
My plan was to have breakfast at the Red Cup Café, the resort’s 24-hour coffee shop, but I changed my mind when I saw the line. Half the population of Henderson was waiting for a table, and the rest was queued up in the “Players Club” line. Because the M is a place I can return to easily and often, I decided to spend my first visit taking a walking tour instead of playing the waiting game.
There’s a lot to admire. The M’s architecture is airy and open, and the décor features plenty of natural stone, wood, chrome and glass. Even the casino, though designed to focus on slot machines and gaming tables, has more light and space than most such venues. The other public areas, including a large atrium overlooking the pool, have huge picture windows. While most casino properties are worlds unto themselves, completely cut off from their exterior surroundings, the M has views in all directions:
the Strip to the north, the city to the east, and mountains to the south and west. While faux Egypt—or Paris or Venice—is fun, it’s lovely and refreshing to walk through a building that really celebrates its location. The windows gracefully frame the beauty of the desert and the Strip, and I knew that first morning that I would have to come back another time to enjoy the natural artistry of a desert sundown from this great new vantage point.
On my second visit, I arrived around 5 in the evening because I had noticed that was when Veloce Cibo, the bar and restaurant on the 16th floor of the hotel tower, opens for business. I parked on the west side of the property and entered near the elevator to the restaurant. (Another nice feature of the M Resort is that not every door leads into the casino.) A small crowd had gathered next to the check-in desk, and it didn’t take long to find out that most were locals who, just like me, were eager to enjoy the view and a glass of wine on the 16th floor.
Veloce Cibo (which means, amusingly, “fast food” in English) runs the length of the top floor of the M, giving it a long, sleek, boatlike feel that’s enhanced by the tapered ends of the building. The entire north side is glass, and every table—more than 300 of them—has a view of the Vegas valley. I decided to take a seat at a table in the bar at the west end of the “boat,” and on my way to my table, I caught sight of an unusual display of wine bottles. They were arrayed side-by-side, soldier-fashion, to encircle a gleaming machine. What’s with that?
My waitress was happy to explain.Photo by Megan Edwards
A wine card from Veloce Cibo can also be used
downstairs in the Hostile Grape wine cellar
Two bars at the M, Veloce Cibo on the top floor and the Hostile Grape (another amusing name) on the bottom floor, feature the Enomatic wine serving system, an Italian innovation that lets customers help themselves to 1-ounce, 3-ounce, and 5-ounce “pours” of a variety of wines. First, you obtain a wine card and charge it up with some cash. Slip your card into a slot on an Enomatic machine, and it deducts the price of whatever libation you download into your glass (prices start at about $2). Clean wine glasses are available for each new wine you select, as are wine lists that describe the various offerings, from sake and Madeira to Riesling and shiraz.
Veloce Cibo offers both bar food and a full dinner menu. That first night, I opted for the full experience, which was made even more lovely by the changing view as the sun descended and the Strip blazed to life. For a leisurely evening of wine sipping and appetizer tasting, this place is impossible to beat. The menu is an eclectic lineup of dishes from sushi and a wide variety of “sharing plates” to traditional entrees, side dishes, desserts and specialty cocktails. The prices are pretty swell, too. My bill for the evening was about half what I would have paid for the same experience farther up the Strip. The chef appeared at my table to make sure everything was to my liking, and my waiter was attentive and cordial.
Eloise, who works in wine retail at the M
Resort, demonstrates how to operate the
On my third foray to the M, I finally descended below ground level to check out the Hostile Grape. I’d been impressed by the Enomatic display upstairs, but the array in the wine cellar was nothing short of awesome. Dozens of bottles lined the walls of two alcoves that surrounded two islands offering even more bottles. Happy-looking customers were wandering among the machines, sipping while discussing which vintage to try next. Others were lounging on leather sofas and at the bar in a warmly lit room styled to feel like a wine cellar. After tasting two kinds of sake and chatting with one of the attendants, I knew I had better head back upstairs. A self-serve wine bar is not a wise place to linger unless you have a chauffeur.
There’s quite a bit more at the M Resort that I have yet to experience. There are six more restaurants and several more bars, for starters, as well as a pastry and gelato shop, a full-service pharmacy, a spectacular pool area, a spa and an opulent sports book. Judging from the vast forest of yet-to-be-planted trees and shrubs I spied from the 16th floor, the M’s already nicely landscaped grounds will continue to evolve. I’ll be back to watch—and not only because I have $38.50 left on my wine card.
Grape Expectations – Las Vegas’s Best Wine Drinking
(ELV note: The following article appears this month in Desert Companion magazine. Continue reading below or click here to see it in its original format. Unfortunately, to read it in the magazine, you’ll have to muddle through all sorts of drivel about whiskies, cocktails and beer — inferior liquids that exist only as weak(?) substitutes for the beverage you ought to be drinking.)
GRAPE EXPECTATIONS – Las Vegas’s Best Wine Drinking
Las Vegas isn’t really a “wine bar” sort of town. Wine bars generally require (and promote) a certain level of contemplative thought, and Las Vegas generally is about as contemplative as a UFC cage match. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t fabulous places to indulge in your taste for fermented grapes. What it means is that you have to go to some of our finer restaurants to find wines (by the glass or bottle), that will blow your socks off. Below are my 13 favorite sipping venues – places where our town’s great sommeliers take enormous pride in pouring vintages from around the globe – wines you can drink, or think about, to your grape’s content.
Greek wines may be unpronounceable, but they’re also delicious. They’re also substantially under-priced compared to similar seafood-friendly wines from France and Italy. Don’t even try to master the odd lisps and tongue rolls of Assyrtiko, Moshofilero or Mavrodaphne. Just point and smile, or ask the staff for help. (I promise they won’t make fun of you.) Anyone who orders anything but Greek wines with this food should be sentenced to a year of drinking nothing but Harvey Wallbangers.
The list is as thick as a dictionary, and, at first blush, not for the faint of heart or parsimonious of purse. But look closely and you’ll find a surprising number of bargains for under $100. Or ask sommelier Phil Park and he will happily point them out to you. The champagne bar is where you’ll find serious oenophiles perusing the list a full half hour before their reservation, just like they do it in France.
These two sister restaurants are a few miles apart, but connected by a love of white wines that owner Bank Atcharawan has successfully brought to Chinatown. Both lists are deep in Rieslings and chardonnays, and the champagne selection at Chada Street puts most Strip lists to shame, at decidedly gentler prices. Not for nothing does every sommelier in Las Vegas treat both of these venues like their personal after-hours club.
A pinot noir wall, lakeside dining and the gentlest mark-ups in town ($10 over retail) make MB a must-stop on any wine lover’s tour of Vegas. Jeff and Rhonda Wyatt are always there to help you choose a glass or a case of whatever mainstream cab or off-beat syrah suits your fancy. Or do what I do: just stick with Burgundy and go nuts.
What I love about Italian wines is what I love about Italians and Italian food – they are friendly, passionate, fiercely regional and confusing, in a good way. Don’t know your Montelcinos from your Montepulcianos? No problemo, Geno Ferraro is always there to help you parse the Barbarescos from the Barolos. One of the greatest Italian lists in America at one of our finest Italian restaurants.
I don’t understand Spanish wine any more than I understand how José Andrés can have so much energy and so many great restaurants. But the next best thing to knowing a lot about a country’s wines is knowing a sommelier who is eager to teach you. Chloe Helfand is that gal in Las Vegas, and she is always there with a smile and a lip-smacking wine you don’t know made with a grape you’ve never heard of. Which is one of the reasons we love sommeliers. And Chloe.
Mark Hefter’s wine program is a lot like Mark Hefter: Fun, interesting, intelligent and all-over-the-map. Hefter has poured wine from Le Cirque 2000 in New York to Spago and Circo in Las Vegas, and needless to say, the man knows his grapes. With over 50 wines by the glass, he can dazzle anyone from the novice drinker to the dedicated oenophile. But what we love about his list is its eclecticism. Here is where you can dip your toe into the world’s most interesting wines at very friendly price points. Curious about those orange and pink wines that are all the rage these days? Here’s where to start.
If your measure of a great wine bar is the number of wines by the glass offered, look elsewhere. If you rate your wine tasting by quality – of the breadth and depth of the list, the bar snacks, the staff, and the mixology (should you stray into creative boozy territory) — then this is your place. The list is conveniently located inside the (massive) menu, and the mark-ups are not for the timid. But the excellence of everything – from the steaks to the pastas to the Super-Tuscan verticals – will take your breath away.
Robert Parker (yeah, that Robert Parker) calls Lotus’s wine card the greatest German wine list in America, and we have no reason to argue with him. It’s also shoulder-deep in sake, Alsatian whites, and Austrian Grüner Veltliners – all of which match (in surprising ways) Saipan Chutima’s fierce and fiery country Thai cooking. This is where you’ll find almost every wine professional in town on their day off, usually at a table groaning with Riesling bottles.
The trouble with Sage is the food is so good sometimes you forget about the wine, and the wine list is so good sometimes you forget about the food. I like California pinot noir and chardonnay with Shawn McClain’s innovative fare, but the list covers the world in all areas of consequence. Choices like this are a happy conundrum to have, whether you’re dining in the main room or hanging out in the stunning bar.
Great wine drinking in the ‘burbs is harder to find than a corner without a fast food franchise. Hearthstone deserves props for actually having a wine program, and for a list that breaks down according to varietal character – “Big Reds,” “Crisp, Clean & Lean,” “Voluptuous But Light,” etc. The by-the-glass selection is solid, but what really gets our attention is the ½ off Monday night specials, that allows for some serious drinking of some serious bottles. That discount only counts for bottles under a Benjamin, but if you’ve got the coin, $2,500 for a bottle of ‘o5 DRC Echezeaux, or $2,800 for some Screaming Eagle, are also flat out steals.
Downtown Las Vegas is so wine-challenged it makes Summerlin look like Napa Valley. Amidst all of the bars and hipster hangouts, though, this teeny tiny space in Container Park holds forth with small selection of interesting reds and whites from around the globe – most in the $30-$60 range. Wine snobs will be underwhelmed, but for those looking for a break from craft cocktails and exotic coffees, it’s an oasis.
Great Wine Specials in Las Vegas
Do you love Wine? Are you looking for great Wine Specials here in Las Vegas? Well look no further. The following is a list of some of the best wine specials our great city has to offer. (Prices & times are subject to change management reserves all rights. ) Please call for reservations.
Double Helix Wine & Whiskey Lounge Town Square - 6599 Las Vegas Blvd S, Unit 150 Las Vegas, Nevada. (702) 473-5415. Offers: Mondays - 1/2 off Bottles of Wine Under $99. Wednesdays - 1/2 off Wine of the Month All Day.
Classic Jewe l- 353 E Bonneville Ave, Ste 111 Las Vegas, Nevada. (702) 722-6750. Offers: Wine Wednesdays 20% Off wine bottles, 20% off wine by the glass. (Live music every other Wednesday).
Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar - 11011 W Charleston Blvd Las Vegas, Nevada. (702)797-7344. Offers: Vino mondays offering Half Priced Bottles of Wine all evening every Monday!! (applicable to wines priced $100 and below).
Crave American Kitchen & Sushi Ba r- 10970 Rosemary Park Dr, Ste 160 Las Vegas, Nevada. (702) 878-5505. Offers: 1/2 Priced All Bottles of Wine Tuesdays All Day.
Salute Trattoria Italiana Red Rock - 11011 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada. (702)797-7311. Offers: Wine Thursdays - 50% off bottles of wine every Thursday.
Carrabas - 10160 S Eastern Ave, Henderson, Nevada. (702)990-0650. Offers: Wine Wednesday - $10 off Bottles of Wine & $5 Glasses of Wine.
Carrabas - 8771 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada. (702)304-2345. Offers: Wine Wednesday - $10 off Bottles of Wine & $5 Glasses of Wine.
Honey Salt - 1031 S Rampart Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89145 (702) 445-6100 - Offers: Wednesdays - Half Off All Bottles All Day.
Kona Grill Boca Park - 750 S Rampart Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada. (702)547-5552. Offers: Wine Down Wednesday -Half Off All Bottles of Wine All Day.
Brio Tuscan Grille TIVOLI VILLAGE - 420 South Rampart- Ste. 180 Las Vegas, Nevada. (702)433-1233. Offers: Kick Off Your Weekend Early with $5 Wine Pours Every Thursday In the Bar!
Brio Tuscan Grille Town Square - 6653 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada. (702)914-9145. Offers: Kick Off Your Weekend Early with $5 Wine Pours Every Thursday In the Bar!
M Resort Spa & Casino 12300 S Las Vegas Blvd, Henderson, Nevada. (702)797-1000.
Anthony's Prime Steak & Seafood - Offers: Daily 1/3 OFF ALL BOTTLES OF WINE. (Not valid in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Management reserves all rights. Not Valid On Any Holiday.)
Hostile Grape - Offers: Daily 1/3 OFF ALL BOTTLES OF WINE. (Not valid in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Management reserves all rights. Not Valid On Any Holiday.)
Jayde Fuzion - Offers: Daily 1/3 OFF ALL BOTTLES OF WINE. (Not valid in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Management reserves all rights. Not Valid On Any Holiday.)
VIEW WINE BAR & KITCHEN Tivoli Village - 420 Rampart Suite 150 Las Vegas Nevada. (702)280-7390. Offering: "Happy Evenings" from 5p-8p offering $2 wines (7 days a week)
Hyde - Bellagio 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas Nevada. (702)693-8700. Offers: Un Wined Wednesday 1/2 Off Select Bottles.
Market Grill Cafe Centennial Hills - 7070 N. durango Dr. Las Vegas, Nevada. (702)369-0070. Offers: Monday's 1/2 Off Bottles of Wine.
Market Grill Cafe Summerlin - 7175 W. Lake Mead Blvd. Las Vegas, Nevada. (702)564-7335. Offers: Monday's 1/2 Off Bottles of Wine.
Bottiglia Cucina Enoteca - 2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy. Henderson, Nevada. (702) 617-7075. Offering Vine & Dine Thursday's 1/2 Priced Bottles of Wine. (on bottles $100 or less.)
Bar profile: Homemade tomato sauce with a shot of limoncello
Just off the Las Vegas Strip, across Paradise Road from the Hard Rock Hotel, is a local restaurant called Ferraro’s, and we love it. We love the family atmosphere and the fact that they’re open late. We can score some divine gnocci al pesto at midnight. But what we’re here to mention is the wine. The wine list is long and lovely, offering varietals from around the world. And the staff is more than just knowledgeable — they take pride in the establishment’s ability to give you the meal of a lifetime. Ferraro’s is the place to go when you want to feel like your taste in wine matters, even if you don’t really know what you’re talking about, because everyone there will treat you like family. And, even though it’s not wine, treat your table to a shot of limoncello after dinner. Your server might even join you.
Try all the wines you want at Hostile Grape. Photo courtesy of Hostile Grape.
Wine Dinner in Las Vegas -- Vega Sicilia
No pictures this time, but I was in Las Vegas last night for "wine dinner" at Bazaar Meat in the SLS Hotel, hosted by Andy Myers, M.S. (wine director for all of Chef José Andres' restaurants & the Think Food group) and Lucia Ramos Perez, of Europvin -- the importer of Vega Sicilia -- ably assisted by Chloe Helfand, the sommelier of Bazaar Meat.
(Note: all reds were decanted well before service, but I do not know for how long.)
We started the meal off with glasses of n.v. Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut (Champagne, France), poured from magnum and paired with an amuse bouche -- their (in)famous Cotton Candy Foie Gras with crispy Amaranth, a cube of delicious foie, encased in a cloud of freshly-made cotton candy and served on a stick. I admit, this isn't for everyone, but for me, the juxtaposition between the crunchy melt of the cotton candy, and the richness of the foie is just delightful. As for the Champagne, all I can do is repeat Ernest Hemingway's observation, "Champagne always tastes better in magnum, but -- alas! -- it takes longer to cool."
Sitting down to dinner, we began with some of the restaurant's classic appetizers, the Super-Giant Pork Skin Chicharrón, served with Greek yogurt and za'atar spices (though this time broken up into smaller, individual servings) Croquetas de Pollo -- chicken-bechamel fritters and the truly famous Ferran Adrià Olives, Modern & Traditional -- traditional Gordal olives stuffed with piquillo pepper and anchovies, and then the same, puréed and spherified.
This was all paired with the 2013 Oremus "Mandolas" Furmint, dry (Tokaji, Hungary). The owner of Vega Sicilia acquired this estate in 1993, and set about to modernize, improve and recapture the former glory this region enjoyed, but lost under the Communist regime. This wine, unusual for Furmint, is aged in French oak and definitely takes its inspiration from the great white Burgundies of France. It is unlike any other dry Furmint I have ever had, which until now have been rather light and crisp. For me, the jury is still out: the wine is still quite young and primary, but seems to show some fine potential for development with bottle age. I liked this, but there is no way I'd ever guess this was a Furmint.
The next course consisted of another three dishes: the Beef & Parmesan Grissini (raw Washugyu beef, wrapped around breadsticks and served with a Parmesan espuma, and cartelized opinion purée) the Fried Oxtail Steamed Bun (with a red braise) and one of the underrated gems of the menu, the "Beefsteak" Tomato Tartare (tomato, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cucumber, black olive, and romaine leaves).
To go with these, the 2010 Bodegas Pintia (Toro, Spain) -- produced from vineyards purchased by Vega Sicilia and made from 100 percent Tinta de Toro, the local version of Tempranillo, known for its smaller berries and thicker skins. This is a more rustic, "classic" style of wine yet still possesses a certain elegance and refinement to it and while it will benefit from additional bottle aging, it was showing so beautifully last night. Deep garnet, purple at the rim, the wine is highly aromatic, filled with black fruits, mineral notes, graphite, and sweet cream on the palate, it is round and supple, yet with an edge of mineral and earth to carry the ample blackcurrant and cherry fruit through to the long finish.
Moving on to the next course, we enjoyed the Grilled Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician style octopus with potatoes and pimenton) -- so tender and delicious -- and a Porcelet Pork Rib from St. Canut Farms in Québec and served with a hoisin-cumberland sauce, plus a porchetta-style crispy skin -- amazing!
For this course, we were served the 2009 Bodegas Alión (Ribera del Duero, Spain). This estate, also owned (of course) by Vega Sicilia), also 100 percent Tempranillo -- though in the Ribera del Duero, it is often known by its local name, Tinta del País -- but unlike both the Pintia and Vega Sicilia itself, is produced in a more modern, riper, fleshier style (think "modern" Bordeaux or Napa Cabernet). The wine is purple-black in color, with generous, ripe fruits -- blackcurrants, plums, violets -- not jammy, but edges in that direction, with sweet French oak that compliments rather than dominates on the palate, the wine is plush, velvety, and supple -- generously flavored, with smoky accents, ripe, soft tannins, and a long, lingering finish.
Moving onto the next course, we had The Classic Tartare (Beef sirloin, savory mustard, egg yolk, hp sauce, and anchovy, served on a Parker House roll), and A5 Kobe Eye of Rib from the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan -- presented with an Ishiyaki grilling stone, mustard frill salad and fresh wasabi. Three seconds on a side was perfect!
Here, we were served the 2009 Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5° (Ribera del Duero, Spain). Produced from approximately 80 percent Tempranillo and 20 percent Merlot, this is the kind of wine that makes all conversation at the table stop -- the wine is that commanding, and yet it is inviting and seductive. Ruby-red in color, with spicy and mineral notes in a bouquet of dark berries, cherries, smoke, and toast, with noticeable yet balanced oak there is abundant sweet cherry and black currant fruit in the mouth, coupled with vanilla, anise, smoke, spice, and some mineral accents, with great depth and a sort of restrained power finely integrated tannins, good structure, and a long yet youthful finish. This wine -- <u>not</u> the "second label" of Vega Sicilia, but perhaps a little brother -- is truly stunning.
Next, we were served Rosemary Rib-Eye (Texas Waygu beef, Spanish-style, cooked bone-in over an oak fired grill and sliced after resting), Piquillo Peppers "Julian de Tolosa" (confit piquillo peppers), Setas al Ajillo (button mushroom caps with garlic and lemon), and "Robuchon Potatoes" ("Butter, butter, more butter, some potatoes"). Simply put: I love this restaurant!
And with this course came, at last, the 2003 Vega Sicilia Unico (Ribera del Duero, Spain). Made from approximately 80 percent Tempranillo and 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and aged in both French and American oak, this is truly one of the world's greatest wines. While the Valbuena is inviting, Unico doesn't necessarily care if you like it, but it will reveal itself to you if you make the effort to understand. I know that sounds almost silly, but Vega Sicilia is, in some ways, like Burgundy -- a lot of people when they start out don't "get" Pinot Noir (and especially Burgundy!), whereas Cabernet is far more accessible (and obvious). This was one of those wines that you remember forever . . .
With a dessert course that included Spanish flan, chantilly cream puff, and a golden ingot bon bon, we returned to Hungary for the 2011 Oremus Late Harvest Tokaji (Tokaji, Hungary). Unlike the classic, traditional Tokaji Azsú -- where the number of puttonyos (buckets of dried berries), from 3 to 6, are added to the must and indicated on the label -- this is a different style of Tokaji. Not the full, rich, syrupy sweet wine, this is a brighter style of late harvest -- lemons, limes, crystallized ginger, candied orange zest, and bright acidity make this wine quite lively on the palate.
The Unknown Grape
Over the years, my wine journey has gone down many roads, through multiple countries and certainly with different mindsets. In the same way that I view travel, I feel there’s so much to experience and even more to taste when it comes to wine. As much as I’d like to fancy myself “a white wine connoisseur,” I’m really just an experienced drinker. After watching The Somm earlier this year, I think it’s safe to say I am nowhere near expert level. I couldn’t tell you if something tastes like quince, white linen, or flint, but I can tell you if I like it or not.
After years of sticking with labels I knew and literally drinking what seemed like every single Pinot Grigio under the sun, I started branching out and trying new grape varietals. And I’m so glad I did! There’s a huge world out there. No one should get stuck drinking one kind of wine. My current favorites are all dry, un-oaked, everyday white wines that pair easily with different foods. The majority are from France and Italy, but I’ve found some Spanish, German, Austrian and even Greek wines that I’ll save for another post. Here are some lesser known grape varieties that are worth trying. I recommend focusing on the varietal as opposed to the actual vineyard, that way you’re bound to find something similar.
MUSCADET – This is an inexpensive and easy to drink French wine from the Loire Valley. Light-bodied and dry, it’s the perfect place to start when looking for an alternative to Pinot Grigio. I’d say it goes with just about everything, but it’s known for being the perfect compliment to oysters and other seafood. The NY Times recently published an article about Muscadet making a comeback and I was really chuffed to have already been on the pulse. The two listed above are super affordable and easy to find, but there are many fancier versions also worth seeking out.
FALANGHINA – I’ve written about my love for Falanghina in the past. I discovered it many years ago and have yet to drink a bottle I didn’t like. It’s a fantastic, ancient grape grown in the Campania region of Southern Italy. I was hoping to visit a vineyard while we were there this past summer but unfortunately it didn’t happen. It’s one of those wines I order whenever I see it listed on a menu. The only problem is that it can be tricky to find. Other notable wineries to look for are: Terredora diPaolo and Feudi di San Gregorio.
ROERO ARNEIS – I learned about this Italian wine last year at my children’s piano recital. It was completely new to me and I immediately pulled the host over to find out more about it. Forget the piano music! Let’s talk about this wine… I’m pretty sure they wanted to keep it a secret but I believe in spreading the good word. The Arneis grape originated in Piemonte hundreds of years ago. Arneis means “little rascal” as the grape can be quite difficult to grow, which might explain for it’s obscurity. It’s more of a medium-full bodied, straw colored, aromatic white compared to the other wines listed. Although it can be found in other parts of the world, including America, the best reportedly come from the hilly Roero district.
JACQUÈRE – Thanks to a recent dinner party, this was an exciting, new discovery and perhaps one of the most frustrating wines I’ve ever tried to locate. I think I may have bought the last 6 bottles of this particular (pictured) wine in the country. But if by some wild chance you can find a Jacquère wine from the Savoie region of Eastern France, TRY IT. From what I’ve learned, it’s infrequently distributed outside of this alpine area, which accounts for it’s rare appearance in the United States. I may just have to head to France to check it out in person.
I hope you enjoy trying these lesser known white wines. Be sure to let me know of any worthy discoveries you make. I am always on the lookout for something different. Cin Cin!
The Best Deal in Las Vegas Is This New 'Bottomless' Dim Sum Brunch
The blowout feast at Mott 32 includes all-you-can-eat Iberico pork and truffles.
The new 𠇋ottomless brunch” at Mott 32 in Las Vegas is truly dim sum and then some. The wild $58-per-person Sunday brunch, which started on January 12 at the high-end Chinese restaurant inside The Palazzo, begins with an assortment of rarefied dim sum, including excellent har gow made with king prawns and garlic chives. Deeply black bamboo-charcoal buns are sugar-coated and filled with barbecue Iberico pork, and there are South Australian scallop dumplings topped with caviar and gold leaf.
Next comes your choice of unlimited signature items that include seafood, meat, soup, rice, noodles, vegetables, and desserts. Standout options include sesame prawn toast and an ultra-luxurious preparation of barbecue Iberico pork that features shaved black truffles along with scrambled eggs. So, yes, Vegas now has a restaurant with all-you-can-eat Iberico pork and truffles.
This experience is a lot more civilized than a buffet. There’s no need to shove people who are asking too many questions and holding up the line at a carving station. You don’t have to start running when you see a hotel pan filled with premium seafood. You order from your server. You have up to two hours to eat as much as you want. For $35, you can add a 𠇏ree-flow beverage package” with specialty cocktails, Moët and Chandon Champagne, and a mocktail.
To answer what’s probably your primary question: Mott 32’s famous applewood-roasted Peking duck isn’t available at brunch. But at least you can enjoy rice-vermicelli soup with pickled mustard greens and shredded duck as part of your brunch feast. And Mott 32 has plenty of other great brunch options for aggressive carnivores: There’s beef tendon with a soft smoked tea egg crispy roasted pork belly fried mashed potatoes with short ribs and cold free-range chicken with Sichuan peppercorns and chile sauce.
Mott 32, by the way, is next to Majordomo Meat & Fish, where David Chang plans to turn his back room into a “meat house” that might offer a buffet. The Palazzo feels like it could really be the place for all-you-can-eat extravaganzas in 2020.