Tucson Eats Vegas, at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Las Vegas
Tucson Eats Dinner in Vegas- I know you can put this review to good use because the direct flights to Sin City are always packed. A few weeks ago we ate dinner in Las Vegas, at celeb/Iron Chef Bobby Flay’s Caesars Palace restaurant, Mesa Grill Las Vegas, and it definitely rates among the best meals ever. 5 out of 5 stars. Here’s what we ordered: – Blue Corn Pancake and Barbecued Duck with Habanero Chile – Star Anise Sauce – New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon – Ancho Chile Sauce and Sweet Potato Tamale with Crushed Pecan Butter – Mango and Spice Crusted Tuna Steak with Green Peppercorn – Green Chile Sauce and Toasted Pine Nut Cous Cous – Sautéed Spinach Let me try to describe this series of transcendent experiences . . .
Blue Corn Pancake and Barbecued Duck with Habanero Chile – Star Anise Sauce Incredibly bold. Split between two people, this is just about two bites each. The barbecued duck invoked an emotional response of jealousy and greed. “Why am I sharing this? I want more” came to mind. The accompanying blue corn pancake was amazing, and while you are in the midst of a beautiful round explosion of slow-cooked duck madness, Chef Bobby Flay introduces the sauces as playful undertones that simply, quite simply, enhance the deep and darkly rich nature of the slow cooked duck. Two bites was a tease, but to go back and order more would be sinful. So I ordered another.
Mango and Spice Crusted Tuna Steak with Green Peppercorn – Green Chile Sauce and Toasted Pine Nut Cous Cous This is where “less is more” reaches its full potential. Once again, the man proves that his recipes are of another world. I don’t know that I have ever had a tuna steak prepared to medium rare be so perfectly tender. Again, he introduces individual sauces and flavors to the plate that are an integrated part of the overall flavor profiles and textures of the dish. The couscous and tuna made an extraordinary pairing. If you are a chef, young or old, or, like me, a chef-turned-home-cook, you should always be looking for inspiration. Mesa Grill could easily be a Mecca for those willing to be inspired and humbled by the sheer talent of a genius at work.
New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon – Ancho Chile Sauce and Sweet Potato Tamale with Crushed Pecan Butter This one caught me off guard! The spice rub packed a heated punch. However, through the use of bourbon, ancho chile, and an otherworldly tamale, combined with the sauces on the plate, Chef Flay rounds the heat off into one delicious mouthwatering bite after another. Did I mention that I sliced through the pork medallions with a butter knife? Moving on to the “side” dish: This sweet potato tamale deserves an article of its own. Pecans were folded into a tamale stuffed with a pillowy sweet potato mixture that ended up being way more savory than sweet. It was happily married to the pork tenderloin and was so unique that I was tempted to beg to be taken into the kitchen and shown how it was put together.
Sautéed Spinach And there was another side on the menu, described simply as sautéed spinach. I wanted something green. It was the best sautéed spinach I’ve ever had. Perhaps the best greens ever. I’m not sure how, perhaps with potato starch or through the use of actual potatoes, but they managed to infuse a distinct and surprisingly sophisticated “potato” flavor into the spinach. One bite of the sautéed spinach (much like every single other bite of every single dish) led to anticipation of the next bite. I could hardly wait to finish the bite I was on, I was so excited about the next one.
The verdict? Sublime. When in Vegas, do yourself a favor and go to Iron Chef Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, in Caesars Palace. The space is beautiful both inside and out, and the staff, who are incredibly busy, deliver no-nonsense, spot-on service. Loved it. Dinner, with an appetizer a couple of Gentleman Jacks, and a glass of wine, ran about $160 for two. I know this qualifies as a splurge, but it’s one well afforded and rewarded.
Incidentally, this meal at the Mesa Grill brings the running total of Iron Chef restaurants I’ve tried to three, and if I had to pick a favorite, Bobby is in the lead. We’ve also visited Iron Chef Mario Batali’s place here in Vegas, as well Morimoto’s in Napa, and they were both very good in their own right. So that’s three Iron Chef restaurants down . . . and several more to go. One last thought about a great chef who creates great restaurants. It’s not his or her ability to cook and be creative that makes the great experience we just had happen over and over again. It’s their ability to find great staff and other great chefs who can execute on the chef owner’s inspirations, ideas, and techniques – and do so over and over again, plate after plate, for customer after customer. All three Iron Chefs we visited have excelled at that. You can find Mesa Grill HERE. Treat yourself!