Botero Steak at Encore Las Vegas Has “Sole”
A lot of special occasions are celebrated by going to Las Vegas. Birthdays, anniversaries, bachelor and bachelorette parties, “the-divorce-was finalized-and-it’s-time-to-party”-party. You name it; we celebrate it by taking a jaunt to the Nevada desert. So on a recent trip to Las Vegas, when it was time to pick a restaurant for a birthday dinner for P.B., we chose the new Botero Steak restaurant at Wynn Encore.
Being huge fans of SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas, we were curious to see how the newest steak-centric Wynn restaurant would stack up. It’s a real pleasure to report that this newest eatery is firing on all cylinders – and that’s just a few weeks after opening.
Botero – named for the South American painter, sculptor, and artist who is a favorite of Steve Wynn’s – is striking in its design and lay-out no doubt in part to nightlife impresario and Botero partner, Victor Drai.
Entry into the circular dining area is through a cozy bar/lounge (a goldmine of people-watching opportunities) with a colorful display of artwork and glass decanters filled with gumball-hued liquids. The main dining room – dominated by Botero’s “The Seated Lady” sculpture and looking out over the Encore’s lavish pool area – is done mostly in chocolate browns and glossy white which allow the primary colors of the paintings to stand out in stark relief. It’s a sleek, wry space. (Even if you don’t dine here, it’s worth a trip into the restaurant just to see the fanciful décor.)
But, you should dine here. Décor aside, the food is well worth the visit.
Chef Mark LoRusso, formerly of Wynn’s Tableau restaurant, is the toque behind the menu and a fun menu it is. His appetizers offer everything from soup to nuts in the form of a “Tasting of Soup” (choose two) to the candied walnuts found atop the “Gem Lettuce Salad.” A hefty number of sea creations vie with entries from his “Farms and Fields” collection for your dining attention.
P.B. and I both chose salads (a real rarity we both wanted greens) with the Caesar for him, the aforementioned Gem Lettuce Salad – pears and Roquefort as well as walnuts on baby greens – for me. Both were exactly what we wanted: crisp greens perfectly dressed with complementary vinaigrettes.
For our main course, P.B. was extremely happy to find that one of the night’s special entrees was Dover Sole – his absolute favorite fish. (Happy Birthday, indeed!) My choice was the bone-in, dry-aged New York Strip. All steaks are offered with your choice of preparation: traditional, pepper steak or chimichurri. I chose traditional grilling with a ramekin of the spicy, garlicky chimichurri sauce on the side.
Far and away, the star of the evening was P.B.’s huge portion of melt-in-your-mouth Dover Sole done in a caper-accented buerre blanc and presented in a copper pan which served to keep the fish warm throughout the meal. My steak was very good – beefy, chewy in the best possible way and cooked perfectly; the assertive chimichurri sauce a good accompaniment to the hearty flavor of the meat.
Side dishes could possibly steal the show if not for that stellar Dover Sole. Our “Creamed Spinach with Crispy Egg” featured a breaded and fried whole egg whose yolk combined with the cream sauce for a rich take on this steakhouse side fav. The “Polenta and Leek Onion Rings” were light and crunchy – terrific munchies to go with the beef.
And what meal would be complete without dessert? None that I know of but particularly not one meant to be a birthday celebration. We chose the “Ice Cream Cupcakes,” hobbit-sized babycakes in a variety of sweet flavors like banana, strawberry and mint chocolate topped with housemade ice cream frosting.
Does Botero break new culinary ground? No. Did I expect it to? Again, no. Is it a hip, well-executed steakhouse restaurant with enough interesting and outstanding dishes to warrant being a Las Vegas favorite? You bet.
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