More on the Vegas trip-
Vegas seems to be all about deception. Go on the strip, see the glitz, and be overwhelmed. Go off the strip and see another simple desert city. But while the strip is hiding price gouging and mediocre food, the area off the strip is hiding some just plain amazing restaurants (like The Egg and I or Donna Maria's). Well, we went for the wedding cake off the strip for this occasion. Rachel Ray had visited Freed's a long time ago for wedding cake by the slice, and I figured it was worth a shot. What a deceptive décor though! Located in a strip mall, the sign is simply a banner hung from screws flapping in the wind. No fanfare, nothing. But this place has been Zagat rated and mentioned in all kinds of publications all over the world. Their pastry counter looked amazing, and the éclair my mom tried was outstanding. The wedding cake, as you can see in the picture, was just stunning. A "Mad Hatter" cake with angled layers, beautiful decorating, and so much detail I cannot even begin to explain it all. It was quite tasty too, if a bit heavy on the filling. If you ever have a sweet tooth, I strongly recommend stopping by.
Pastry case and cookies!
We chose Rosemary's as the site for our wedding dinner. It's an off the strip restaurant that was setup by a husband and wife (he opened the original Emeril's in Las Vegas), and it constantly wins awards and praises for food service, and the fact that the owner actually cooks in the kitchen. Case in point, when we arrived he was out front ordering some fresh produce, chef's whites on and looking like he had been hard at work.
This is probably going to sound a bit gushy, but this was hands down one of the best meals I have ever eaten at a restaurant. The food was gorgeous and delicious, the service was absolutely impeccable, and the whole experience was amazing. To start off our fantastic waiter detailed the menu, the specials, some nice wine pairings (they also do beer pairings), and picked some of his recommendations. Having been a server, I appreciate a waiter giving us a detailed description of the dish from a tasting point of view, not just a carbon copy of the menu description. The menu is set up in a very nice way, with everything ala carte or the option of ordering 3 courses for $55. Stop right there, $55? The whole menu? Remember, I complained about Switch having a very limited menu for $60. Amazing value here folks. Not to mention that Sundays are half price wine bottle nights.
To start we were served an amuse bouche, a tasty cracker with a fish salad and light miso glaze on top. For the first course I was very adventurous, having sweetbreads served on a light sauce with duck confit. They (to quote Stephanie Izard from Top Chef) taste a bit like chicken nuggets, with an earthiness to them. They were outstanding, well cooked and balanced, and the sauce was incredible. Em had the crab boulettes, almost a Cajun like crab cake. Also sampled were the some barbecue shrimp (nice) and some wonderful seared foie gras.
Sweetbreads (left) Crab boulettes (right)
For the second course I had the twice baked parmesan soufflé, which was served over wild mushrooms and in a cream sauce. Again, beautiful execution with the dish. The soufflé was pillow-like in texture, had a very nice flavor, and went along really well with the mushrooms and sauce. We also had a ham and crawfish risotto, which was wonderfully smoky and rich, tried some of the salads, and the winner really goes to my mom for the special scallop dish they had. It was really good.
Twice baked Parmesan soufflé
Main course for me was beef, I actually strayed from my normal "order lamb" procedure, and I was rewarded with a perfectly cooked filet on asparagus with a nice red wine sauce and horseradish potatoes, which were more like small fried soufflé potatoes. It was amazing. Em had the panko and bacon crusted butterfish, and I do believe it was even better than mine. The texture of the fish was, well, like butter! I think a few had veal and also said it was really quite good.
The beef (left) and the butterfish (right)
For desert we had cake, they brought it out to be set on the table during dinner, a nice centerpiece, and then nicely sliced it for us. They even boxed the top. If I am ever back in Vegas I will be making at least one stop here. Not only was the experience amazing, but the food was so refined and well prepared, it truly was a wonderful evening.
You can find the rest of the pictures of food here