Las Vegas, Nevada         Date of Visit  12/14/10     

Never having been to the Encore we thought we might travel through and experience a taste of Vegas history. Sinatra’s is the only restaurant with the family’s permission to use the name and they have donated some history to the place itself. Awards, photos and a rare recording make Sinatra’s long on the Sinatra. The room is classy but it seems to me to be a little too classy for the rat pack feel, but hey, it’s the Encore. Our server appeared a little scattered and told us it was just her 5th day on the gig, but she managed to hold it together. While we were ordering beverages she brought us a basket of bread. There were a real interesting mixture of baked goods from cheesy to hearty peasant slices. The butter was imbued with micro basil keeping to that Italian theme.



Delicious Butternut Zuppa

We each tried an appetizer. My mom went with the Zuppa which this night was butternut with lobster tortellini. The soup was very rich and it was amazing how much the lobster came through. My mom reported after finishing the bowl that she could have let it go with just the soup. Steph ordered the Parma Prosciutto which came with caramelized pears and parmesan cheese. The three made for an interesting combination with sweet pears, thin slices of cured swine and salty cheese. I ordered the Polpettine or meatballs with polenta fries. The fries were fine but the meatballs were definitely the high point on the plate. They were dense, likely baked and likely a beef, pork and lamb combination. With a straightforward and simple sauce it made for a solid start.

While listening to Frank croon through some live versions of hits, I might be too young to remember but not too young to appreciate, we waited for our entrees. Three classics were expected. Steph ordered a mid raw strip steak with mash. My mom ordered the Branzino alla Genovese, a grilled Mediterranean sea bass with cannellini bean and baby vegetable ragu and topped with a pesto. I ordered the Ossobuco “My Way” with risotto Milanese and gremolota.

Varied Bread Basket

Prosciutto, Pear and Parm

The Polpettine
Delicious Branzino

Good Steak

Outstanding Osso Bucco
  The fish appeared with perfect grill crosshatching and a tasty vegetable base. The fish was still moist, though grilled and thin, and was a great dish. Steph’s steak was done to perfection, literally bleeding juicy goodness. If you are a carnivore, you know of what I speak. If not, then this is not for you. The mash tasted mostly of potato and were as smooth as silk. I know a steak is a steak, but if you have eaten a few you know that not all meats or preparations are equal.

The Ossobuco or braised veal shank was thick and exhibited why you braise tough cuts of meat. Elementally tender. The gremolata mix of parsely, garlic and lemon add a brightness that not only balances the rich meat but the addition of the marrow which might turn your stomach alone…but added to the meat defines richness. Risotto was expertly done with a to the tooth texture and thick buttery flavors.

Since my mother and I had ordered from a prix fix version of the menu we both had desserts on the horizon. The options were tiramisu (mom), gelato (me), and something else (can’t remember). The tiramisu had elaborate layers of coffee soaked biscuits, cream and cheese with a powdering of cocoa and chocolate decorations. When you dig your spoon down to the bottom and everything comes together, it becomes what coffee flavored desserts should be.

I wasn’t thinking all that clearly when ordering from the plethora of gelato options. You get three. I ordered a nice nutty hazelnut, and nice green nutty pistachio, and a screamingly bright and tart passion fruit. The first two could be eaten together. The last had to be saved as the clash was way too intense. Sinatra’s was not the best meal I have had in Vegas. It really didn’t have that much of a chance. But for all of it’s history, solid food, and audiophile atmosphere, the Encore has a destination restaurant.







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