Dining Out with the Harrises
Executive Chef Timon Balloo Opens SUGARCANE at The Venetian Resort Bringing the Caribbean to the Neon of the Las Vegas Strip
We have had our eyes and ears to the ground for years as we eagerly awaited the opening of SUGARCANE in Las Vegas. Finally, the moment arrived when we walked into SUGARCANE to spend an afternoon with Chef Timon Balloo as he gave us a tour and dined on his innovative cuisine.
Our first impression was how much the décor reminded us of Miami. Guests enjoy classic Cuban architecture and design with a touch of Old Havana. The venue is a space that is both comfortable and artistic. Period correct cane-back chairs, inlaid wood flooring, and tray ceilings trimmed in a rich red patina bring you back in time. The design of the private dining room, which we named the Hemmingway Room, features a large mural of one of the world’s most loved writers.
Already impressed and eager to find out more about the cuisine we sat down with Executive Chef Timon Balloo in front of the large open kitchen. Chef explained he was born to Chinese and Trinidadian parents where the influence of these cultures was evident in the food that he ate as a child. “I use simple ingredients to create great dishes,” he said. His signature style uses a mix of bold, locally sourced items and vibrant flavors meant for sharing in a fun environment. In 2010 SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill took “Best New Restaurant” and Balloo was dubbed “Best Up-and-Coming Chef” by Miami New Times.
Chef Balloo started us off with an excellent kombu marinated fluke with red grapes, charred onions and sesame seeds accenting this very tasty dish. Staying inspired by the sea, the hokkaido scallop with compressed apple, black truffle, lime & jalapeño is a must for any table. A perfect appetizer choice to commence the dining experience is the sea urchin & avocado toast with cilantro & radish, which shows off Chef Balloo’s creativity. Off the grill, you can’t go wrong with a lovely yellowtail collar with Singapore curry & pickled chilies adding a spicy tang to the dish.
SUGARCANE is not just about creative dishes with fresh ingredients, it’s also about mixology. Mixologist Jason Hughes has crafted some signature cocktails that are some of the best in town. Have Jason and his staff make you a Barrel Aged Rum Manhattan. This mix of Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, sweet vermouth, Angostura Amaro liqueur, Luxardo and maraschino cherry is a fantastic way to get your palate ready. Jason’s Garden Essence Botanist—gin, lemon, peppercorn syrup, fresh basil and black pepper—will impress any gin lover.
We have been waiting for SUGARCANE to come west to Las Vegas and are glad that this new restaurant venue is finally here. Chef Timon and his staff are serving up some of the most innovative dishes we have seen in quite a while. The Venetian Resort has a plethora of excellent dining choices and SUGARCANE is the perfect fit amongst the best of the best.