Excess is the word for this week’s Notebook—sometimes wretched, sometimes glorious.
The Heart Attack Grill (the “Taste Worth Dying For”), at the corner of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard, is in the former category, although I gotta say, the burger here isn’t too bad. The Single Bypass is a nicely grilled half-pounder on a tasty bun, topped with American cheese, bacon (which costs extra), sliced tomatoes and lardy sautéed onions. But get the Quadruple Bypass—which has a reputed 8,000 calories—and you’re on your own.
This is a cute concept. A “head nurse” checks you in and gives you a wristband a la Sunrise Hospital, and the female servers also have uniforms like hospital nurses—at least the ones posing for Hustler.
But my lard-cooked fries were limp. And a milkshake, topped with a pat of butter and reputed to have the “highest butterfat content” in town, was just plain vile. Here, customers weighing more than 350 pounds eat free. I’m checking my cholesterol immediately.
But sometimes, as implied above, excess can be glorious. Take First Food and Bar (607-3478) at the Venetian, where chef Sam “Sammy D” DeMarco is always tweaking his relentlessly creative menu. Swiss cheese and sauerkraut spill out of a new pastrami “hot pocket” when the crust is broken. A Waldorf salad features frozen grape “croutons” and Cambozola cheese, a luscious triple-cream bleu that makes an already over-the-top salad even more so. And a classic Frito pie is served inside the actual chip bag.
Meanwhile, the chefly merry-go-round at Marché Bacchus continues. The wine shop/restaurant (2620 Regatta Drive, 804-8008) now has David Middleton at the stoves recently replacing Stratta protégé Joe Swan, who has decamped to pursue an opportunity in his native Ohio. Middleton comes to owners Jeff and Rhonda Wyatt most recently from Scarpetta at the Cosmopolitan, where he was an executive sous chef.
Finally, dim sum-starved eastside dwellers take heart: You no longer have to drive all the way to Chinatown to get your ha gow, siu mai or steamed pork bun fix. The enormous new East Ocean, a dim sum and seafood restaurant, has opened at 9570 S. Eastern Ave. (567-4800) in the equally enormous Sansone Park Plaza, a mall park that has seen dozens of restos come and go.
The menu features hundreds of items, including four incarnations of the highly controversial shark’s fin, which California is about to formally ban, as well as superior white abalone, and lots of exotica, such as black vinegar with black wood fungus. Dozens of varieties of dim sum will be sold here by hawkers from passing carts, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.