February 21, 2011 Dinner with Jon in Las Vegas

We are in St. George for a few weeks for the updating of our kitchen. So far things are going smoothly although we don’t think that the remodel will be done before our flight awaits us on March 5. I am going to make a separate entry on the remodel when it’s done.

One of the exciting things that has happened while we are here is that it snowed! We often see snow in the higher elevations around us but not down here on the ground in St. George. Here’s what the backyard looked like on February 20, 2011.

Snow in St. George

Snow is pretty nice when it falls, makes everything picturesque, and then melts away all in the same day.

We also make the drive down to Las Vegas to meet Jonathan for dinner. He is attending the Pink Elephant Convention which is meeting at the Bellagio. Since I figure it will be easier to stay and have dinner at the Bellagio as well, I make reservations for dinner at Michael Mina’s. Jonathan would like to have the tasting menu. Sounds good to me!

First we have drinks at the Baccarat Bar and then head over to the restaurant. We order the tasting menu and wine pairing and look forward to our amuse bouche. What? No amuse bouche? We are not amused. But the first (extra $$) course arrives and it is a caviar parfait. The caviar sits atop creme fraiche, smoked salmon and a potato pancake. There are garnishes of red onion and hard-boiled egg. It is really good especially the potato pancake. The caviar is pretty mild. We enjoy the champagne that is paired with it.

Caviar parfait

Then we are served an ahi tuna tartare with ancho chili, mint, pine nut, and sesame oil. Our glasses are filled with a quite sweet Reisling. The seasoning on the tartare is neither salty nor spicy although we are told that there are scotch bonnet chiles in it. The predominant flavors are sesame oil and mint. The pairing is not a success. It is good but not cosmic. I expect all of the courses to be cosmic.

Tuna tartare

Ah, I see that I forgot to mention there is also a quail egg atop of it and that it is served with toast points. The servers moosh it all up together before it is served.

Next is the real star of the evening – lobster pot pie with winter vegetables in a brandied lobster cream. This comes with a glass of chablis. The brandy-lobster cream is fabulous. The vegetables are really good and so is the lobster. And, yum, the pastry. Please serve me a big bowl of the cream with pastry points! Both this and the tuna tartare are bigger portions then one would expect from a tasting menu.

Lobster pot pie

Finally, on the savory side, is an American Kobe rib eye that is porcini-butter poached and served with pommes fondant and a spinach salad. There is a wonderful mushroom sauce. It is all good but I am getting beyond stuffed. We have this with a Volker Eisele cabernet sauvignon from Napa valley.

American Kobe rib eye

Now it is time for way too much dessert. Way too much even if you like dessert (which I don’t.) So crowding the table are 1) hot mulled apple cider with a shortbread cookie (this is really good); 2) glazed chocolate brownie with ice cream and pecans (extremely chocolaty); 3) root beer float and cookies (why?); 4) brown sugar wafer with cream inside (wafer was gingery); and 5) white chocolate shell with orange blossom goo inside on a lollipop stick. As I said, way too much.

Some of the desserts (but not all!)

So as far as tasting menus go, this is really good but not spectacular. I would have liked much smaller tastes of more things. Tuna tartare is a little passe. Not all the wine pairings are exceptional. But I have a delicious meal and my companions are handsome and fun to be with so I am not complaining at all!

Jonathan and John

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