Michael Mina’s SeaBlue Las Vegas

I’m back in Las Vegas this week for yet -another- conference and I thought I’d take some of my quiet down time (that I never seem to get at home) to let you know about one of the great dining spots we visited last month.

When we were in Las Vegas in October for Blog World Expo, we met up with some lovely twitter foodie people at the conference (Hi Chef Mark Tafoya & Jennifer Iannolo!) that in turn invited us out for a Chef’s Tasting at Michael Mina’s Seablue at the MGM Grand where the chef is Chef Stephen Hopcraft.

We started the meal with a lovely glass of Proseco Nunofranco Rustico and a delicious seafood appetizer of oysters, shrimp and the most succulent King Crab legs I believe I’ve ever tasted. I really appreciated that the shells on the crab legs were pre-scored so they were easy to remove and completely mess free.

This was followed by a glass of white wine and the most innovative salad presentation I’ve seen at a restaurant in awhile. They provide a list of salad ingredients and you select up to 10 and they craft your salad for you. It’s an elegant solution to the salad bar concept. Everyone was able to select their favorite items and felt satisfied with their salad. Rather than do the “create your own” salad course, I actually chose their Heirloom Tomato salad which was fantastic. It was a traditional combination of tomato slices, mozzarella, basil and a drizzle of balsamic dressing. The tomatoes had wonderful flavor and it was easy to tell that they were actually heirloom varities and not just an underripened yellow tomato and the mozzarella was so fresh, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was just a few hours old.

Our main course began with a beautiful red wine and I must give mad props to our sommelier, Charlie Townsend. He was very knowledgeable about the wines he selected for our meal and they paired so wonderfully and brought out the flavor accents of the food so well that they became a subject of discussion at the table. For the main course, we had several selections: Dayboat Scallops, John Dory (a fish) and a Bone-In New York Strip Steak. I saved my scallop for last, as it’s one of my favorite items and it was actually one of the most delicious things I tasted at Sea Blue. Unfortunately, because I saved it for last, it was just luke warm at that point, but honestly, it was still incredible. The strip was good, but not the best cut of beef I’ve had. That being said, the place is called “Sea Blue” and seafood is definitely a specialty here…and with family raising organic beef…well, let’s just say I’m very critical of beef dishes. Others at the table really enjoyed it. The John Dory was served whole, which I thoroughly enjoyed as it allowed us to sample the cheeks of the fish and Chef did an excellent job at it. My piece of it was unfortunately a little dry, but I had a piece near the tail on the topside of the fish. My husband had a piece nearer to the center on the bottom and his was perfect. The entrees were accompanied by several side dishes of olive oil smashed potatoes, a medley of mushrooms, chickpea and lentil rice and jumbo asparagus with citrus relish. They were all nice in their own fashion (although I didn’t really care for the potatoes much), but the asparagus held the most surprise for me. Topped with sectioned grapefruit, it honestly tasted like Christmas. If you’ve ever had pine needle tea or bitten into a pine needle, you know exactly what I mean. It was unexpected and completely delicious.

Our five desserts were accompanied by a really lovely Auschleze Riesling that wasn’t too sweet and went exceptionally well with the apple tarte tatin. We also had a traditional root beer float with homemade rootbeer and warm chocolate cookies, a fresh creme brulee, some delicious chocolate filled cream puffs, and a selection of seasonal sorbets. I am a total sucker for a good root beer and I have to admit, this one ranks high with me. It tastes like root beer should…not that sickeningly sweet soda that is out on the market, but a traditional bitter taste with a crisp, clean finish. Delicious end to a delicious meal.

If you ever find yourself in Las Vegas and you’re looking for a lovely restaurant, I would definitely recommend checking them out.

(I have some great photos that I’ll upload upon my return home. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, this was a complementary meal.)

Flourless Chocolate Cake at Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas

While we were in Las Vegas for BlogWorld, Karen, Michael Buechele and I had the chance to get out for an awesome dinner at Paris Las Vegas.   We chose French Bistro Mon Ami Gabi for appies, wine, an awesome steak dinner and dessert.  Here is Karen’s reaction to the (amazing) Flourless Chocolate Cake that she had for dessert.