Diner’s Notebook took a big bite out of the Apple recently, with visits to a pair of New York restaurants slated to open in the Cosmopolitan this December. Here’s a sneak preview of what to expect.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill, on 58th Street in Manhattan, was started by two brothers, Bruce and Eric Bromberg. As another Jewish boy who loves Japanese food, I can see why their eclectic menu has been such a runaway success. Every table was full, and the buzz was electric.
The real surprise was how much I liked it. I’m somewhat of a snob in terms of Japanese food, having lived in Tokyo, and I often find that an emphasis on nigiri (sushi topped with raw fish or shellfish) ignores the other aspects of this complex cuisine.
After our sassy, charming Thai-American waitress took our order in the rustic, wood-paneled dining room, I had several appetizers and cooked dishes that matched the quality of usuzukuri (ultra-fresh fluke sashimi) and the perfectly crafted sushi. Among the highlights: chawan mushi, a delicate custard with chicken and mushrooms; smoked pork belly; and
fried chicken crusted with panko and red pepper.
I can’t wait.
One more star in the hotel’s firmament is Scott Conant, who runs the successful New York restaurants Faustina and Scarpetta. The latter, a soon-to-be Vegas import, is a sleek, modern room on West 14th Street, and it was also full on the Sunday evening I visited.
Conant’s food is smart, creative and often disarmingly simple. A fried mozzarella “in carrozza” had the elegance of top-notch tempura. Tuna “susci” comes with marinated vegetables and preserved truffles. And many of the pastas are museum-quality pretty and delicious. Red beet and smoked ricotta casonsei with pistachios and poppy seeds—sort of like open-faced ravioli—knocks it into the Bronx.
With superstar chef José Andrés of Washington, D.C., the Greek eatery Milos and many other innovations coming to the Strip, I’d say that the CEO John Unwin and his team have hit a home run as well. We’ll see.
On the homefront, another New York import, Dos Caminos Mexican Kitchen inside the Palazzo, has started a morning menu that is served 7-10:30 a.m. seven days a week. It’s a buffet for $20, and includes exotic Mexican specialties such as pan torrejas, Mexican-style French toast; huevos con chorizo, the Mexican version of sausage and eggs; and chilaquiles, a baked tortilla casserole. Bagels, bread, fresh juices and coffee are included among the many other delicious offerings.
Who said Vegas wasn’t a great breakfast town?