A lot of restaurants are all bark and no bite. They are full of too much hype and not enough flavor. From food trucks to hole in the walls to 5 star establishments, I'm here to answer the question on everyone's mind, "Is it really that good!" I am not an Iron Chef let alone a line cook. I'm just an ordinary girl who loves to eat extraordinary food.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

RM Seafood- Las Vegas, NV

RM Seafood is a Rick Moonen restaurant located inside the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. He was a contestant on Top Chef Masters, Season 2 and his catfish sloppy joe was featured on The Best Thing I Ever ate, Las Vegas episode. Since we were staying at TheHotel we decided this would be the perfect place to grab a quick lunch after laying out by the pool.

We started off with the Futo-Fireball roll ($19). It is a cut roll of king crab, avocado, cucumber, spicy char, tobiko (fish roe), drizzled with a wasabi citrus aioli.  I thought the presentation was gorgeous. This was basically a California Roll with a spicy sauce. It had a good crunch and really good flavor. Although I couldn’t tell that it was king crab, I still thought this was a good roll.

The kids ordered the plain Mac n cheese ($10) and the RM Burger ($15). (Both not pictured) The Mac N Cheese was perfect. The sauce was the perfect consistency. It tasted really cheesy and the noodles were cooked a little more than al dente. The burger was also good. It was juicy and cooked exactly how she wanted it. According to her it was “one of the better burgers she’s eaten.”

Ed ordered the catfish sloppy joe ($15). After seeing it on The FoodNetwork, it had to be a must try on this trip. It was absolutely sloppy to eat. There was a lot of the filling. Unfortunately it was mostly the peppers and onions that we could taste. Catfish has such a mild and subtle taste that it does need seasoning but can’t be overpowered by so many flavors. This is exactly what happened in this dish. It definitely needed more catfish.. The sauce had good flavor, but we were disappointed that we couldn’t tell that the protein was catfish, other than by its description.

I ordered Rick’s Famous Fish ‘n’ Chips ($22). The fish was beer battered and served with herbed potato wedges. The fish was succulent and moist, very flaky and perfectly cooked. The tartar sauce it came with was good. It could’ve been famous, but my problem with this dish was the top was crispy but the bottom was soggy. It was laid on top of fries so I’m sure the heat from the bottom of the fish on top of hot fries was the reason for the batter being that way. The dish came with 3 little pieces of fish. Although the pieces were thicker than most fish and chip dishes, they were also a lot smaller. The portion was just not enough to fill me up.

For dessert we ordered the white chocolate bread pudding ($9).  I’m not too fond of bread pudding, but I do love white chocolate so I decided to order it. It was accompanied with a blueberry buttermilk ice cream, Jack Daniels sauce and streusel. I had forgotten about the streusel because it was not that prevalent in the dish. It was more of a garnish on the bottom of the ice cream. I’m not even a blueberry fan, but I did enjoy this dessert. It was a very composed dish. I didn’t feel like the chef threw day old bread into a dish with custard and baked it. It tasted more like a soufflé. The blueberry taste didn’t overpower the  taste of the white chocolate in the bread pudding.

I was pretty disappointed that the catfish sloppy joe and fish and chips weren’t up to par. I was also surprised that the best dishes were ones that were not in any way related to seafood. Although I would definitely not come back here for lunch, I do want to try out a few items on their dinner menu. So stay tuned for a post on that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

StripSteak- Las Vegas, NV

Our hotel of choice when we go to Las Vegas is TheHotel, part of Mandalay Bay.  I was searching for best Steakhouses in Las Vegas and StripSteak inside the Mandalay Bay was one of them. I looked it up and found out it was one of acclaimed chef Michael Mina’s restaurant. So naturally, I had to try it.

Instead of the usual bread basket, our complimentary starter was duck fat fries. A trio of fries fried in duck fat. One was just seasoned with plain salt, the other with what tasted like truffle oil and parsley and the third was seasoned with what tasted like old bay. There were also 3 different types of dipping sauces, each were to complement the different fries. One tasted similar to a tartar sauce but not as tangy, the other was ketchup, the other was a truffle aioli. The fries came out nice and hot, very crispy. I couldn’t stop eating them, with or without the dipping sauce, they were very good.

For my appetizer I ordered duck. This dish came with a crispy duck thigh and a duck egg, cooked over easy, sitting on top of a light salad. The egg seemed a lot fluffier and the yolk tasted a little more subtle. I’m not sure if it was the way they cooked it or if that’s really how duck eggs are. The crispy duck thigh was definitely crispy. I’m not a huge fan of dark meat but I do love duck. It wasn’t oily or fatty. You could taste the saltiness of the crisp skin and the smokiness of the duck. The flavor was good, but I don’t like eating duck like fried chicken. I do like the skin of the duck to be crispy, but I like the meat to be soft and tender. Good dish, but would I order it again? Probably not.
My first side order was the  potato puree trio. The 3 flavors of the potato puree were lobster, sour cream and onion, and horseradish. The lobster puree I thought would be my favorite, but it was actually my least favorite. It was a little too sweet for me and tasted more of sweet potato than a regular potato. There were little chunks of lobster mixed into the puree but most of the lobster flavor was in the potato. The horseradish puree wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t overpowered by horseradish but you can definitely taste it. My favorite of the three was the sour cream and onion. It tasted like a pureed baked potato. Nothing was wrong with this dish, but I wasn’t enamored by it.

The next side order was the truffle mac n cheese.  I love mac n cheese and really can’t get enough of it. This was good. It wasn’t too cheesy or gooey, but it was OK because it was TRUFFLE mac n cheese! The cheesy sauce tasted like white aged cheddar. It was super smooth, ultra silky. Small elbow macaroni was their pasta of choice so some of the sauce creeped into the little holes for more burst of flavor. To top it off (literally) there was a mount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It wasn’t a garnish it was there to add more cheesy goodness to the dish. 

We also ordred the  roasted marrow bones. These were served with crispy thing slices of baguette. It didn’t seem as though the marrow had any olive oil or fat drizzled over it prior to roasting because the top was a little dry. The consistency wasn’t as smooth and didn’t spread over the baguette easily. I was really disappointed with the taste and consistency of this dish.

 Ed’s entrée  was the 18oz Dry-Aged Bone-In Rib Eye and paired it with King crab legs (not pictured). The king crab legs were steamed nicely. They were perfectly plump and juicy. It was sweet and succulent, everything a King crab should be. It's served plain with no butter.  Not that crab absolutely has to be dipped in butter, but butter just makes it that much sweeter.  He ordered the  rib eye medium rare plus, meaning a little more done than medium rare. It’s still pink in the middle but not red.  The steak came out perfectly cooked and seasoned.

“Never again am I ordering a rib eye. I can’t eat that after eating this.” These were Ed’s exact words after he took a bite of my entrée. I ordered the 8oz American Kobe Filet and paired it with grilled foie gras. How can that NOT be good! Foie gras is made from duck liver. It doesn’t look nor does it taste like your typical liver in a liver and onions dish. It doesn’t have that grimy, pasty consistency. It tasted almost like rib eye fat. It is rich, but not heavy. It was creamy, soft and practically melted in your mouth. You can taste the liver flavor but it was subtle and oh so good! Foie gras is not for everyone though. Did you see the episode of Real Housewives of Orange County when Alexis spit it out? That could be you. But for me, it was love at first bite.  Now if that wasn’t good enough, let’s talk about this beef they call Kobe. The phrase “It’s like butter, baby” describes it perfectly. I had a steak knife, but could’ve cut it with a butter knife. It was so soft, so tender, so simply seasoned. When you have a perfect cut of meat and know how to cook it, there’s not much you need to season it with besides salt and pepper. No sauces needed. It was good as is. Again, perfectly cooked. I got that initial crispy char and then bit into soft mouthwatering steak. Up until now, the only Kobe I was in awe over was Kobe Bryant (sorry Jeff)… I’m not as bougie as Ed. I will still eat a regular rib eye, but would definitely order the Kobe cut if my wallet allowed me to.

As if I wasn't full enough, I ordered two desserts The first dessert was the trio of ice cream. My flavors of choice were  chocolate,  vanilla and the brown butter ice cream. I didn’t taste the chocolate or vanilla. I’m assuming it was kid approved because it was gone. The brown butter… it was delicious. It tasted like vanilla with swirls of caramel and butterscotch. It was rich and decadent but not overly sweet. I would’ve been happy with a big bowl of that. The other dessert was the beignets. I had the option of getting it with a crème brulee or butterscotch dipping sauce. I opted for the butterscotch. They came out hot and were dusted with powder sugar. My first bite was without the dipping sauce. It was just like a thick donut. Not as airy or fluffy. It was a little too dense for my liking. However, that butterscotch dipping sauce, I could’ve dipped anything in that all day. It was thick, hot, creamy and you can really taste the caramelization of the sugar. It had really deep flavor. Ed thought there was a little too rum in it. That’s what I loved about it. Dipped in the sauce, the beignet was good. Without it, it was ok. Not the greatest I’ve tasted.

Besides our main courses, I wasn't too impressed with the rest of our dishes.  I could think of a lot more restaurants that would be worthy of the $300 we spent there.