Harvest by Chef Roy Ellamar Brings Farm-to-Table Fare to the Bellagio Resort.

Recently we saw the transformation of the shuttered Sensi, into Harvest by Chef Roy Ellamar. Transformation is a very positive word, in that it encapsulates change in the most positive mode, and that is exactly what has taken place between the walls of this new dining venue.

Incorporating a more open and inviting space with accents of wood paneling and hand-blown light fixtures, Harvest creates an almost communal yet very sophisticated dining venue. Patrons also have the opportunity to see the dynamics of culinary creativity with the glass-enclosed exhibition kitchen that creates an almost interactive dining experience.

Along with the welcoming and convivial décor, Las Vegas’ own Chef Roy Ellamar calls upon his Hawaiian culture as the inspiration behind the menu that incorporates the best in local and regional produce, seafood and proteins. To start things “rolling” with our dining experience, the snack wagon, a cart showcasing small bites advertized as “delights,” was our first taste in an array of eye-catching appetizers.

We opted for the Spicy Steak Tartare, with the classic dash of mustard seeds, oyster aioli and toast points. However, the Eggplant Caviar, Kalbi Filet Mignon, Smoked Salmon Dip or the signature Hawaiian Poke were all vying for our first culinary impression. The bowl of Clam Chowder was by far one of our favorite offerings of the evening, with a creamy tangy broth that caused our saliva glands to dance with pleasure. Freshness, sustainability and farm-to-table are the guidelines for the catch of the day or the steak that you may order for your main dish. From the “Catch of the Day” to the succulent Harris Ranch Filet, Chef Roy Ellamar’s Harvest is showcasing freshness of ingredients in the fullness of flavor. For more information go to www.Bellagio.com.

Chef Justin Hancock Has Big Things Happening at Fresco Italiano in the Westgate Resort.

It is always nice to be pleasantly surprised when visiting a new dining venue. This was the case when we stopped into Fresco Italiano to meet Chef Justin Hancock and explore his culinary options. A nice way to start is their house-made Charcuterie Plate featuring fresh buratta and a wide variety of imported meat choices that is sure to peak your interest and palate. Chef Justin also shared that soon he will be curing his own proteins in house.

We highly suggest one of their flatbreads made fresh from their pizza oven with imported Italian flour. The marinara is a house specialty with a few old family recipes and worth a try. The rich Eggplant Parmesan with a plethora of creamy cheese and marinara is the perfect way to experience a marriage on a plate. You certainly can’t go wrong with a perfectly prepared Bone-in Veal Marsala on a bed of homemade angel hair pasta. If you desire a treat from the sea, the Gamberetto Shrimp Fra Diavolo with a large langoustine is worth casting your net for. The most unique dish we enjoyed was Chef’s Porcini Risotto with 15 mushroom varietals that will be remembered for quite some time.

Keep an eye on this young chef at Fresco Italiano as he brings his creativity to his sections of Meats, Seafood, Pasta, Risotto, Gluten Free and Whole Grain Pasta that is sure to satisfy your cravings as well as your wallet.

Luke’s Lobster Has Now Anchored on the Famed Las Vegas Strip.

Where can you get the freshest buttery lobster heaped upon a warm freshly baked roll while strolling along the Strip? Not in a casino restaurant, but at a small kiosk-like building nestled next to Nieman Marcus at the Fashion Show Mall. The Brooklyn-based lobster shack Luke’s Lobster has opened its 19th location, and the first in the western U.S.

The restaurant group works directly with fisherman every day, finding fresh live lobster, crabs and shrimp. Every given day guests can see on a blackboard where their seafood is coming from, with on average, a shipment sent three times a week. The only hard part of having such great ingredients was deciding on what to order. We sampled the mainstay Lobster Roll, with rich lobster as the star of the sandwich, not drowning in mayo and clarified butter. A simple dollop of mayo, a dash of lemon butter, and the “secret seasoning” comprise the entire accompaniment. Whether you are in the mood for lobster, crab or shrimp, each roll is a signature of pure seafood goodness. And don’t forget to grab a cup of the piping hot creamy, clam-laden, New England clam chowder to stave off the cold. Luke’s Lobster may have just started off in this small kiosk, but with superb offerings from the Maine coastline, we may see the beginning of another success story this side of the Mississippi.