photos by Bill Milne
Andiron Steak & Sea Unveils Summer Menu
Husband-and-wife duo Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla’s Andiron Steak & Sea continues to be one of the bright spots in Downtown Summerlin. Strong evidence of this was brought home during a media lunch previewing new menu items by Executive Chef Robert Camacho and Pastry Chef Samara Sulin. Our tasting included kale salad with toasted pine nuts and lemon parmesan dressing; burrata + heirloom tomatoes with sherry vinaigrette; hamachi crudo with ruby grapefruit and yuzu vinaigrette; serrano ham-crusted salmon with crushed English peas, fava beans and chanterelle mushrooms; pan-seared halibut with tomato tapenade; caramelized scallop with couscous; banana cream tres leches cake; toasted almond lemon cake; and crème brule doughnuts. Actually, the doughnuts were not a new menu item, but were an add-on by Blau Associates Director of Marketing Adam Bourcier, a self-proclaimed doughnut guy, though you’d never know it to look at his trim waistline for our tasting occurred on June 2, National Doughnut Day.
Andiron at Downtown Summerlin
1720 Festival Plaza Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89135
Bistro 57 at Aliante Offering Fine Dining at Casual Prices
Named in honor of the 57th Wing of the US Air Force stationed at Nellis Air Force base, this classy bistro offers something for everyone and its location just off of the casino provides a subdued respite with fine dining quality at casual prices.
During my recent visit I enjoyed the calamari, which as Goldilocks would say, “was just right”—not too greasy and not too dry; thick cut eggplant parm that came with fettucine alfredo; seafood risotto with shrimp, clams, scallops and mussels; lasagna layered with meat sauce and Italian cheeses; angel hair Pomodoro; house-made tiramisu; and gelato, which is available in nine flavors. While it may sound like this is an Italian restaurant, there are plenty of non-Italian options, including fish and chips, Moroccan humus, Greek salad, escargot, Prime burger and rib-eye. Like all of Aliante’s restaurants, fresh produce is sourced from Cowboy Trail Farm, located and grown a few miles away, and herbs grown onsite are picked by each restaurant’s chefs for use in their recipes.
Room Chef Nelson Cortez was raised in NYC and moved with his family to SoCal when he was in high school and attended the L.A. Trade Tech. He came often to culinary competitions in Las Vegas and eventually relocated here. He has 20 years of experience in the culinary field with positions at Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock Resort and after opening the Aliante, worked at several other restaurants and is now happy to be back at Bistro 57, which he opened in 2012.
Serving in the front-of-the-house is the delightful and pleasant Regina Behmer, who has been at Bistro 57 for a year and a half. Regina says, “I enjoy coming to work because of the connection the team has with each other. It’s a great staff.”
I was struck by the generous portion sizes and the rock bottom prices, which should explain why 90% of the guests are locals and many are repeat customers, some of whom come more than once a week. Most appetizers are around $7-$11, the build-your-own pasta is $13, pizzas $10-$16 and entrees are mainly between $10 and $16.
Echo and Rig Butcher and Steakhouse Still Going Strong
Echo and Rig opened in Tivoli Village four years ago and is still doing something no other restaurant in Las Vegas is doing, offering a full-fledged butcher shop and restaurant combination. The butcher shop with glass meat locker on full display shares the first level space with the restaurant’s bar and sandwich counter. Just as with friendly neighborhood butcher shops in the days of a bygone era, members of the community can interact with a team of classically-trained butchers who guide you to the right choices or answer any questions you may have. Chef/Owner Sam Marvin informs that no part of the butchered animal goes to waste and what they can’t use is sent out to places such as Sigfried & Roy’s Secret Garden at The Mirage.
At a recent media tasting it was demonstrated to us what a wide array of dishes the restaurant serves in addition to its Prime steaks. We enjoyed butternut squash with creamy stracciatella mozzarella; deep fried cauliflower with Fresno chili; portabella fries with basil aioli which seemed to be everyone’s favorite; lamb cigar with feta and pine nuts; charred Spanish octopus cooked in wine; fried spinach salad with orange vinaigrette; kale salad with baby yellow beets and goat cheese; tomato, cucumber and watermelon salad; Brussels sprouts with pistachio and fresh lemon; white cheddar roasted garlic potato mash; whole Texas red fish; and for dessert, apple tatin. Meat lovers were happily supplied a wagyu tomahawk chop, Snake River Farms American Kobe bavette and grass fed filet mignon with jalapeño salsa that Chef Marvin said was raised in Tasmanian just 20 yards from the ocean.
A big thank you goes to Chef Marvin for a delightful tasting and an informative tour of his butcher shop.
Buddy V’s Family Brunch
Buddy V’s at The Venetian/Palazzo allows you to enjoy brunch like a ‘boss’ during the Buddy’s Family Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Located throughout the restaurant are five stations containing more than 40 options. Chef Bryan Forgione, who has been the executive chef since the restaurant opened nearly four years ago, brings out highlights of the menu, such as a carving station with maple-glazed ham, slab bacon, spicy Italian sausage and chicken apple sausage; chicken parmesan; margherita pizza; an antipasto table loaded with peel and eat shrimp, tomato basil soup, a selection of cheese and salumi; orecchiette & Italian sausage; Grandma’s meatballs, panettone french toast; roast vegetable frittata; egg scrambles and warm crespelle with toppings. There’s also a kids’ station with kid pleasers like chicken fingers, mac n’ cheese and every kids’s favorite, candy bars.
And, as Buddy V is the Cake Boss, as you would expect the sweet table, created by Pastry Chef Sabrina Shin, is loaded up with several delights including cannoli, tiramisu, zeppoles, red velvet cake, bread pudding, assorted candy and our favorite, a berry crumble.
Be sure to try one of the seasonal cocktails created by manager Emily Carson, who has a background in bartending. Her latest includes the Pomegranate Martini with Absolut Elyx, POM pomegranate juice, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and lime juice—a sweet concoction that can easily become addictive. Emily has been experimenting with barrel aging cocktails and during our visit, during Negroni Week, she had designed the Buddy’s Negroni—a delicious mix of Hendrick’s Gin, Campari and Carpano Antica Formula garnished with orange skin, that had been barrel aged for one month.
During the brunch on Sundays live music is performed. The brunch is priced at $34.95 per person/$14.95 per child under 10 plus tax and tip; bottomless sangria, bellinis, domestic beers and wines by the glass are available for an additional $14.95 per person; and a build-your-own bloody Mary bar, including a souvenir glass, is $16.95.