The benefit of having so many resorts in close proximity on the Las Vegas Strip is that it is easy to stay at one resort, have dinner at another and see a show at yet another.
So that's exactly what my group has done these past two nights. We're staying at the Delano, and we've both eaten and seen shows at Aria and the Wynn.
At Aria, we went for a tasting menu at Jean Georges Steakhouse, the only such restaurant from chef Jean George Vongerichten, where we all had the signature tasting menu with a wine pairing. (The menu costs $109 per person and the wine is $55 extra, and everyone at the table should opt in on this together.) Nice touch: Simon, our sommelier, confirmed our preferences for the wine, so we were able to not only get the wines he thought would go best with each dish, but wines that we were likely to prefer as well.
|Jean Georges Steakhouse|
While our tasting menu was not the same as what is normally available, it can be arranged in advance upon request. It included:
- Almas Ara Caviar with Meyer Lemon Gelee, Crème Fraiche and Dill--a wonderful, light start to the meal with a wonderful champagne pairing.
- Tomato Salad with heats of palm and a coconut vinaigrette--fresh and tangy; a nice follow-up to the caviar-and-lemon combo.
- Seared Diver Scallops with lentils, crispy pancetta and lemon creme fraiche--a bit heartier and heavier (especially with the lentils), but beautifully balanced. (The Riesling we sampled with this dish was a great complement--the saltiness of the scallops nicely balanced the sweetness of the wine.)
- Soy-Glazed Short Rib with apple jalapeno puree and rosemary crumbs--rich and meaty and very filling. Which isn't always a good thing, because by the time the next course came, we were already stuffed.
- *Grilled Wagyu Filet Mignon with a wild greens raviolo and mustard sauce, as well as a sampling of other Jean Georges steak sauces (bearnaise and several others I didn't write down because I was too busy eating). This was the steak of steaks--charred on the outside and tender on the inside, fork-tender and wonderfully rich. (The wine, a 1999 Catena Zapata from Argentina, was nice and jammy and not too strong--a great complement to the beef.) We also opted for several sides that did not come with the tasting menu, and the creamed spinach, black truffle mac and cheese, truffle mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus were all fantastic. (Every starch tastes better with truffles. It's a known fact.)
Unable to finish our steaks (which is a true tragedy when the steak is that good) and full to the point of bursting, we then had Valrhona Chocolate Mousse with mint ice cream and chocolate pearls as our dessert, and it was just as amazing as it sounds.
Fully stuffed, we hurried down the hallway to Zarkana, Cirque du Soleil's show in permanent residence at Aria. The show was recently renovated with new acts and a different storyline, and it is truly impressive to watch the acrobats fly around the stage. We were seated toward the front of the theater on plush sofas with tables for popcorn (included) and water (also included.) Good to know: The aerialists fly over these seats, making them great for feeling like part of the action.
Wynn Las Vegas
The next night, we dined at Andrea's at Wynn Las Vegas, a contemporary Japanese restaurant under the care of Chef Joseph Elevado. While there is no set tasting menu at Andreas, the team created a menu for our group. We started with seasoned oysters and Hamachi Sudachi before trying the "Crispy Tuna," a slice of tuna over rice that has been fried crisp. The A5 Wagyu “Smoked” Tataki was especially memorable, presented in a covered platter that released puffs of cool smoke when lifted to reveal the thinly sliced beef below. (The beef, incidentally, was smoky and rich and very flavorful.)
We sampled some more traditional roles like Shrimp Burdock (served with avocado and crisps on top that created a nice contrast of flavors and textures) and a Fresh Salmon Roll before moving on to the entrees: Miso Black Cod with Foie Gras and a 16 oz. NY Strip Steak with Crab Rice and Brussels Sprouts. The cod was delicate and wonderfully flavorful, and the steak (cut into thin slices for easy sharing) was tender and rich.
As a nice finale for the meal, we tried a selection of small ice cream cones--a nice, light option that was especially nice after such a massive meal.
Following dinner, we headed over to the resort's main stage, where Le Reve has been playing for a few years. The water-based show is performed in the round, and no seat is very far from the stage (the farthest seat is 40 feet away), so the views are all very good.
The stunts in this show involve a lot of high-diving into the one million-gallon water tank, including from up above the audience's view. Anyone who enjoys watching the diving competitions in the Olympics will get a kick out of this, and the dance and comedy routines (again, all in water) are also lovely.