Food and Food: Las Vegas and Travels11 Aug 2009 12:08 pm

bar charlie july 10

Upon arriving in Las Vegas, we did three things: check into the hotel (this time we stayed at the Mirage, and got a free upgrade!), place some sportsbets and go for dinner at Bar Charlie again. Our first visit was so wonderful, a return visit was almost mandatory.

The last time we visited, we were the only diners for most of the evening. This time, there were two other couples eating. It helped the restaurant feel not as stiff, although it was much, much busier for the kitchen staff. Visiting on a Friday evening probably had something to do with it. Bar Charlie is also garnering more mentions on culinary forums as a “must visit” place, so I hope this helps it succeed. It truly is a fine restaurant.

I don’t have much to say other than that, except that this time the service was above par. Chef Hiroo Nagahara and his team were ultra friendly, despite being insanely busy. We were recognized and our return visit was mentioned by several of the staff. Everyone was very chatty, and it was a great evening. When the chef promised a printed menu for us when we left, I was not confident I would see it. Others had complained that they did not receive theirs, but I got mine, all tied up with colour co-ordinated ribbon and everything.

Again, we got the 14-course chef’s kaiseki. Here are a few of the highlights. As you can see, the descriptions of the dishes are very simple, but the dishes themselves were anything but. Another couple down the bar complained that there were many elements not mentioned on the menu, making it hard to record notes on the meal. Most dishes started with atleast six ingredients. That doesn’t begin to take into account the components of the various sauces and garnishes and powders.

I will maintain my viewpoint that Bar Charlie is one of the most complex meals and best values for high end dining in Las Vegas. But, enough. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

vesper cocktail
vesper cocktail to start. Plymouth Gin, Hangar One Vodka, Splash of Lillet Blonde, Orange Oil, Candied Organic Orange Peel
konoshiro, watermelon and yuzu. konoshiro is a Japanese variety of fish known as a “gizzard shad.” konoshiro sounds much more palatable and romantic, non?
santa barbara spot prawn in raspberry with tarragon
Mediterranean blue fin tuna tartare with hijiki seaweed and daikon
this was a close up of the tasmanian sea trout course. the tiny black dots? those are the eyes of the fry.
loved the “plating” of the big fin squid dish.
black bean tofu, beets in beet sauce with scallions. i am not a big fan of tofu, but this dish made me want to seek out a tofu specialty restaurant in tokyo next visit.
kurabota pork belly (braised) with green curry and braised red cabbage
soooo tender
braised miyazaki-gyu strip loin with asian pear and peach. this is wagyu beef.
let’s zoom in, shall we? this was like eating beef flavoured fat it was so rich.
cantaloupe sorbet with prosciutto chip and feta cheese
green tea sponge cake, carmellized peaches and plum sorbet
flourless chocolate cake with banana and roasted hazelnut
petits fours to finish

After a record four visits to Las Vegas since mid December, I don’t know when we’ll get back there again, but if we do…you know where I’ll be going again.

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