Secret dining rooms, Bartolotta steps into the spotlight and a San Francisco treat

You’ll be happy to know that your tax dollars are being put to good use. The federal government has just issued the newest edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published every five years and available at Now, Americans are advised to consume less salt and sugar, and to integrate more seafood and whole grains into their diets.

So I wonder what the government wags would have said about the chemically enhanced, intricate, hard-to-define in terms of food groups dinner I ate at José Andrés’ É, the wondrous eight-seat sanctum inside Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan. In this secret dining room, one can experience what the proud Spanish chef refers to as “avant-garde Spanish cuisine,” or what I call The Cuisine Formerly Known as Molecular Gastronomy. It’s the only place in Las Vegas to eat this unusual fare.

The experience costs $150 per person, with an extra $100 for wine pairings, but rumor has it that the price will drop to $125 and $75, respectively. About 25 little bites were proffered, unusual fare inspired by Andrés’ mentor, Ferran Adrià of ElBulli in Roses, Spain.

A few of the dishes served that evening included frozen sangria with grilled strawberries, beet jewelry, caramelized pork rinds, slices from an entire lobe of foie gras baked in salt, smoky oysters in escabeche, Iberico pork and oddball chocolates served in a tiny jewel box.

These are dishes that have been rethought, reshaped and reformed into airs, foams, jellies and essences. This is not only food you haven’t seen, it is food you’ve never even imagined. Reserve by calling Jaleo at 698-7950.

Now that Alex has been shuttered, the preeminent dining experience at Wynn has to be Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare (248-3463). Chef was away in Europe buying olive oil when I last visited, but the scampi al forno, red mullet with olives, capers and roasted bell peppers, and the whole roasted Mediterranean sea bass are still a revelation. Bring your American Express Black Card, if you have one.

Finally, if you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to visit the newest restaurant by the amazing Michael Mina, called, appropriately, Michael Mina (252 California St., 415-397-9222). It’s in the old Aqua space, where Mina first made his success, and it’s been completely redone in stunning fashion, with lots of grays and pastels, and a soaring ceiling.

Mina has hit it out of the park this time with his modern, adult cooking. The crispy Wolfe Ranch quail with harissa and Iranian pistachios, and a Prather Ranch lamb chop and ossobuco dish are both incredible.

The flowers in your hair are optional.

Hungry yet?



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