Michael Mina – Las Vegas

3600 Las Vegas Blvd.
South Las Vegas, NV 89109

I’ve had the opportunity to not only eat at one Michael Mina, but two. The first was in Las Vegas and we were impressed, although we were still being subjected to “Vegas people.” They are not our people. The sommelier and waiter were actually quite appreciative of the fact the we were foodies and interested in the details of both the food and the wine.

For the Vegas meal we went with the cookbook tasting. I thought these would be the dishes that have had any kinks worked out and were really the best they could be. It of course had Mina’s signature Ahi Tartare that he brought with him from Aqua. I was disappointed with the dish at Aqua years ago, there was too much heat and the fish was lost. I’m happy to say that problem has been corrected and the flavor balance is perfect. I do however think they need to evaluate their bread choice. The toast points have the taste and texture of a sliced white sandwich bread. I found the wine pairing I challenge: 2005 Schloss Johannesburg Riesling. The sesame flavors in the tartare really clashed for me. I’d rather have had champagne or any very crisp, white wine.

The lobster pot pie could have been really good but missed on a few points. The first was that it was very hard to eat. It was served in a small pot which made it geometrically impossible to cut up the chunk of lobster inside. The second was that it had button mushrooms in it… lobster is worthy of a fungus better than a button.

The highlight of the meal by far was the Miso-glazed Black Cod with shiitake consommé, shrimp and scallop raviolini. The fish, bok choy, mushrooms and accompanying ravioli were all perfectly cooked and at the perfect temperature to eat all while floating in broth. A near impossible task in my book. we had a lovely not sweet, not sharp sake: Takasago Junmai Daigingo “Diving Droplets” sake. Very much recommended. The recipe for the dish is on page 203 of Michael Mina’s cookbook, I’m sure it’s a snap!

The dessert course was a trio of root beer float, chocolate chip cookies, and Valrhona chocolate ice cream and mousse. The root beer float was a challenge with any wine or aperitif (the artichoke of desserts) but it was still a good float! The whole dessert plate was fancified comfort sweets.

If I find myself back in Vegas, which I don’t plan to for a very long time, I will go back to Michael Mina. But given that I’m an hour and a half from San Francisco, I’d rather just pop in on that one again and not have to deal with the neon.