La Cave, Michael Morton’s spiffy wine bar at Wynn (770-7000), is serving what might be the best brunch in Las Vegas, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Management hopes to extend that to Saturdays in the near future. The price is $40, and for an additional $20, you can enjoy bottomless mojitos, Bloody Marys or caipirinhas, which obviously strikes the youngish crowd on La Cave’s patio as a good deal.
When you enter, you’ll see a small buffet with items such as three-bean salad, mozzarella Caprese and a carving station, which on the week I visited featured roast leg of lamb with mint jelly. Chef Billy DeMarco’s food is amazing. He’s one of the unsung talents on the Strip.
Some 20 brunch items are then circulated on trays around the dining room. You don’t have to get up once. Among the greatest hits were the best veal short-rib hash I’ve ever tasted, terrific breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese and Canadian bacon, tater tots in a Chinese takeout box, and a finely minced fruit salad. One can eat oneself into oblivion.
Azure, the private pool club on the third floor at the Palazzo, hosted an unusual event recently when the Escoffier Society threw a surprise birthday party for Venetian/Palazzo chef, Olivier Dubreuil. Normally, the society—25 members strong—holds a sit-down dinner for its members, most of whom are prominent chefs. This time, food stations were arranged, a live band provided music, and there were cocktails and champagne—Moët & Chandon Ice Imperial—poured into ice-filled flutes.
The food exceeded expectations, from sea scallops and oeufs en cocotte at a station manned by chef Jean-David Groff Daudet, to char-grilled strip loin and langostinos done on a brazier. For dessert, a huge birthday cake, gelati and chocolate lollipops rounded things out. Guests included MGM executive chef Christian Rassinoux, Robuchon’s Steve Benjamin and Claude LeTohic, and the Westin’s Michel Re’, each one a proud Frenchman.
Meanwhile, I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in rainy British Columbia, my favorite place to escape the heat. There, I experienced a pair of memorable meals. Sooke Harbor House (250-642-3421) is a deluxe hotel with a restaurant serving all local or foraged ingredients. If you ever have the chance to stay there, in a rustic room overlooking tides rushing in while you warm yourself by a wood-burning fireplace, it’s as romantic as it gets.
Finally, at the sprawling Aberdeen Mall in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, I had incredible dim sum chosen from a list of 75 at Fisherman’s Terrace (604-303-9739), recommended to me by a Chinese lady on a treadmill in my hotel. It’s a mind-boggling selection, including shark-fin dumplings, assorted meats with crispy rice, rice-crumbed spareribs with pumpkin and other choices you won’t find here.