Poolside brunch makes a splash, tony teppanyaki sizzles, and the art of breakfast

Now that the weather has turned warm and seductive, the poolside-dining season is coming into full swing. Two of our coolest pools, those at the Palms and the Cosmopolitan, have terrific new dining options, and I’m fresh off experiencing both of them.

Bubbles & Brunch at the Cosmo’s Overlook Grill, the swank poolside dining room that opens onto Boulevard Pool, is doing an all-out, all-you-can-eat feast from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays for $40 per person. Champagne is extra, and a bottle of Moët & Chandon’s Ice Imperial, served over ice (“piscine”), is a fairly priced $95; for a little extra, throw in raspberries and other fresh fruit.

The food is amazing. You’ll start with warm monkey bread, followed by a succession of more than a dozen courses, including crab Benedict and char siu spare ribs. I couldn’t get enough of the mezze plate or the Scotch egg wrapped in sausage meat, so I simply ordered seconds. It’s a nonstop spread for which you’ll want to make reservations (698-7000).

The scene is more hectic at the Palms Pool, where loud music is pounding from a DJ booth on weekends; you better have a hard body to bare it in this company. For the rest of us, a fantastic daily lunch menu of pub grub has been crafted by N9NE Steakhouse chef Barry Dakake.

Dakake, a proud Rhode Islander, serves Kobe beef hot dogs with a delicious hamburger relish that he says is something you only find in his home state, terrific sliders, Chinese chicken salad, Mediterranean salad topped with grilled steak, and Sticks, a riff on Indonesian satay: steak, chicken and shrimp on skewers stuck in a grilled pineapple. Call 942-7777 for more details and hours.

Meanwhile, the big food news—other than the May 11 opening of the long-awaited Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris Las Vegas—is Tetsu, a teppanyaki bar, slated to replace Shaboo inside BarMasa at Aria. Beginning in August, this exclusive room, furnished with four blackjack tables and two huge teppan grills seating 19 and 20, will offer full teppan dinners using ultra high-end ingredients your local Benihana never dreamed of.

Meals will start with luxury items such as toro tartare with caviar and Pacific lobster ceviche, then progress to center-cut lamb chops, fresh turbot, Scottish langoustines and prime cuts of beef, sliced and diced by chefs flashing their knives like ninjas. This is BarMasa after all.

Finally, I’m happy to report the local breakfast options are improving rapidly. Downtown’s Bar+Bistro is doing breakfast 7-11 a.m. weekdays: polenta honey cornbread, brioche French toast and cage-free eggs are just a few standouts from the expansive, colorful menu.

Hungry, yet?

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Lobster Pot Pie, Nobhill Tavern

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Michael Mina’s signature dish arrives with an unforgettable tableside presentation. A cart is wheeled next to the table with a pastry-topped copper pot. The server carves into the flaky crust, releasing the aroma of the enclosed Maine-lobster filling, brandied cream sauce and fragrant truffles. The pastry top becomes the base on the plate, and hunks from the whole lobster and vegetables are placed atop it, along with the sauce. The dish is hearty, decadent and well worth the price.



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