Olives Todd English
 Las Vegas, Nevada          Date of Visit: 12/17/11       
http://www.bellagio.com/restaurants/olives.aspx

Iím just going to go right out and say it. I have never seen much redeeming in Chef English. He has always struck me as a pretty boy trying to parlay his looks into selling a few extra pans on the Home Shopping Network. As a onetime kitchen dog that has little appeal to me. I have forever been torturing Steph to try new things she doesnít think she would like so this trip I decided I would try some things I didnít think I would like. Chef English was the first, and I was wrong.
 



 


 
 


Bellagio Fountains Make Incredible Ambiance
 

Olives has the unique advantage of having a spectacular view of the best free show in Vegas, the fountains at the Bellagio, which is the other reason I took Steph there; Iíll take any brownie points I can get. We went early and scored the center table against the balcony for the show, serious brownie points!!! The inside of the restaurant is very nicely done but if you get a chance to sit outside, it canít be beat. Our server was good in every regard but was outshone by other folks throughout the weekend by far.

Three different bread options were served with two very different and very delicious olive tapenades and a small variety of olives. I couldnít stop loading up on the bread and pungent spreads. We shared the fig and prosciutto flatbread, and ordered sea scallops, the vegetable wrap and the Olives burger. While I have been a much more consistent proponent of Chef Richard, our meal at Chef Englishís place was consistently much more excellent. The flatbread had a rosemary crust, sweet and sour fig jam, loads of black mission figs, gorgonzola and layers of prosciutto. Wonderfully balanced, variations on texture and taste in every bite. It was great.
 

 
 
Bread Was Interesting And Delicious...
 

Especially with Tapenade
 
 

What a Perfect Flavor Profile...
 

And No Shortage of Figs
 
 

The scallops were the only serious disappointment at Olives. Chewily overcooked. The carrot curry risotto, shaved fennel salad and oj glaze were nice but had no chance to save the scallops by juicy fish gum. The vegetable wrap was really nice with a perfectly dressed mťlange of grilled vegetables, feta, tapenade and was served with the best sweet potato fries I have ever had.
 

 

The Scallops Were A Chewy Overcooked Serious Miss
 

Vegetarians Would Be Happier People If All Dishes Tasted Like This
 

Everything on the Plate...
 

Was Just Perfect, Excellent!!!
 

I ordered the Olives burger which is what I imagine the great chefs who have failed at burger elevation (Michel Richard, Hubert Keller) had in mind. From bun to bun this whole plate was perfect, traditionally great with some exceptional additions. I added the truffle cheese for the $4 upcharge and it was worth way more than $4. Slices of black truffle lazed into the white cheddar cheese melding into a dairy fatty/earthy shroomy awesome which when added with the warm skordalia onion marmalade made for lightly sweet, fresh veggie, juicy beefiness, sharp cheesy, super truffley perfection. Add the super fat parmesan fries alongside, easily the best burger in VegasÖto this point. Lesson learned. Donít judge a book by the cover, read it first and then decide if it is too pretty to do anything worthwhile in a kitchen. Sorry, Chef English, you have skill. I only hope I am not apologizing to Chef Flay nextÖI donít like being too wrong all the time.


Especially the Truffle Cheese...Shame on Hubert
 
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