Monday, November 09, 2015

LEMONGRASS in Las Vegas' Aria is amazing (11-7-15)

My last night in Las Vegas was a Saturday and just an hour or so after three intense days of conferences, etc. I was exhausted and walked about a mile or so up the strip to the Aria complex where I had chose the very highly rated Lemongrass, a pan-Asian spot secluded in the rear off the lobby which I loved. Here at Mandalay Bay, the dozens and dozens of dining outlets, from Hubert Keller (the famous French chef from SanFran) to Wolfgang Puck and more are all facing the monstrous casino area.
We had one lunch at Noodle House which had okay food, but nothing worth writing about. Sadly the casino noise is horrendous everywhere. While Aria also has a huge foyer/lobby/casino area as well, this area where Lemongrass and several other dining spots were located, was quite serene.
The d├ęcor was quite interesting with lots of dowels on the wall, giant ropes strung all over creating a giant loom feel as if we were sitting inside the loom. The leather booths, wooden tables and floors and open kitchen were nice as well. I looked up to see a gigantic rope chandelier (several indeed) which looked like a giant woof from a loom. It was fascinating.
The service here was attentive and friendly and the portions were monstrous.
I ordered a small bottle of unfiltered Sake, Miyashita "Sacred Mist", Honjozo Nigori which was cloudy since it was unfiltered, yet milky and smooth and truly awesome with the spicy food I chose.
Tom Kha Lobster was the version of the famous chicken or shrimp soup with coconut, but here with lobster chunks abounding, coconut, lemongrass, ginger, red chilies, Galangal, cilantro and a heaping of Abalone Mushrooms. I had to ask my server for a long rest as the portion was easily a main course.
My main course was a throwback to our winter trip to Malaysia and SE Asia with Penang Red Curry with Duck which was seared tneder and rare with crispy skin and then smothered in the spicy curry with hints of cocnut, sprinkles of peanuts and some lychees.
This place, like virtually everywhere in Las Vegas was not fancy; people really dress down in most cases, but it was more elegant for sure than so many of the restaurants and the food was as elegant as one could expect in any excellent Asian dining spot. A great end to my short stay.