The dining area at Mastro’s Ocean Club and Grill resembles a tree house. // (c) Skye Mayring 2010
It was an uncharacteristically dreary, wet and cold day in Las Vegas — perfect weather for dining at one of CityCenter’s new restaurants and window shopping at Crystal’s retail and entertainment district.
I started off on foot through Crystals, but couldn’t come close to covering all 500,000 square feet of it before lunchtime. I spent most of my time marveling at the building’s design elements, such as its approximately 112-foot glass ceilings and a very modern “tree house” dining area created for Mastro’s Ocean Club and Grill, set to open next month.
Although Crystals debuted in early December, Eva Longoria Parker’s Latin steakhouse, Beso, is the only restaurant open for business at present. In fact, near the center of Crystals, I noticed a number of construction workers putting the finishing touches on Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants — one of which is the chef’s first French restaurant in 30 years. Nearby was Wet Design’s first-ever ice installation, backlit with amethyst- and ultramarine-colored LED lights.
Dozens of stores (Louis Vuitton, a two-level Tiffany & Co., Tom Ford, Paul Smith, Mikimoto, Bulgari and Cartier, to name a few) looked inviting, but the day escaped me before I knew it.
Soon, I had to speed up to meet my group for lunch at Michael Mina’s fifth restaurant in Las Vegas, American Fish. Located on the promenade level of Aria Resort & Casino, the modern American fish house boasts an open kitchen design and a very conceptual menu.
“The idea is to take product from the Pacific Ocean and America’s lakes and rivers, and apply some fun, traditional preparation techniques,” chef Mina told us, before orchestrating an elaborate, six-course meal for our group.
Entrees were either prepared in a rock-salt grill, a mesquite wood-burning grill, a cast-iron grill or were slow poached in ocean water.
“The ocean water doesn’t cure the fish,” said Mina. “The poached fish dish I’m serving today is a play on a fisherman’s stew, served in a light saffron and fish broth.”
It’s no secret that Mina loves to take traditional favorites and add his own unique flair, and American Fish’s menu truly celebrates his lighthearted culinary perspective. Choices include everything from “corn dogs” made with spiny lobster to a “BLT” prepared with smoke-cured salmon in a watercress and tomato vinaigrette. Next time, I’ll be sure to try the lobster Wellington, which sounds just too curious to pass up.