The Eyes Have It

Lured back to the Strip, chef Joe Elevado’s vibe-y new pre/post is both trendy and on-trend

The sensuous, color-shifting eyes flashing over the bar at Andrea’s, the new Asian fusion restaurant at Encore, belong to Steve Wynn’s wife, Andrea, taken from a photograph by local shutterbug Denise Truscello. Indeed, everything about this build-out, from chic décor by Todd-Avery Lenahan to the Japanese-anchored menu by Nobu alum Joe Elevado, is an eye-opener. It’s hard to remember this room was once Switch.

Max’s menu picks

Shishito peppers, $10.
Hamachi sashimi, $20.
Spicy pork ragu noodles, $23.
Whole crispy fish, $42.
Japanese Kobe rib cap, $65.

The nightlife-ification of Wynn Resorts continues with the nightclub-adjacent Andrea’s (pronounced Ahn-DRAY-uhs, please), an airy, cream-and-gold space with windows that open to neighboring Surrender Nightclub. The ceiling is studded with geometric rows of crystal teardrops. The dining room is geared toward and filled with beautiful people, here to party and enjoy the modernist Asian fare by executive chef Elevado. Their next stop is likely to be Surrender.

Perhaps the best tables in here are a series of private booths couched behind “doors” composed of shimmering metal beads, which run along the perimeter of the mezzanine wall. In luring Elevado back from Los Angeles, Wynn Resorts has officially become part of the “turning Japanese” phenomenon currently under way in Las Vegas. The master himself, Nobu Matsuhisa, is about to open his own tower at Caesars Palace. Meanwhile, in Chinatown, there is a seemingly endless parade of new sushi bars and ramen houses.

So don’t be surprised to see a full menu of sushi, sashimi and esoteric hand and cut rolls that you couldn’t find in Tokyo with a divining rod. Nobu may be the chef who made Japanese a global cuisine, but he developed his unique style in Lima, Peru, so it’s not surprising that Elevado, a Nobu disciple, is largely following suit.

Well, not altogether. I loved his take on shishito peppers, served warm in a small pot with a sprinkling of beaded arare rice crackers and a delectable mustard miso. And his Kumamoto oysters—laced with smoky ponzu gelée, Indonesian sambal (chili sauce) and spring onion— stand proudly alongside the oyster dishes at Sage and Guy Savoy, as the Strip’s best.

Two rolls I tried—one, a combination of wagyu beef and lobster (steep at $36, and to my view, mostly a gimmick), the other a rolled cucumber with yellowtail and albacore miso cleverly crammed inside—were both fine, but a hamachi (farmed yellowtail) sashimi took the prize, made with crispy garlic, cherry peppers, cilantro and calamantsi soy sauce.

Are there other touches from Elevado’s native Philippines, such as the calamantsi soy, on Andrea’s eclectic, pan-Asian menu? Not many. But there are dim sum, such as limp, pan-fried scallion pancakes, crispy pork pot stickers and even Gardein chicken shumai, for those of you towing the vegan line like the eponymous Andrea.

Many Asian bases are covered here, though. Tom kha gai, a creamy coconut-ginger chicken soup, is distinctly Thai. One could argue that the chef’s whole crispy fish (an oddity in a tomato and egg broth), is similar to sinigang, a Filipino fish dish, except, in this case, minus the sour tang of tamarind.

Sixty-five bucks may seem a lot for a steak, but this baby is a Japanese Kobe rib cap, and worth the indulgence. And I’ll have to return for Elevado’s five-spice garlic lobster, served with long beans. I saw it on an adjacent table, and it looked and smelled great.

Make sure to get a cocktail such as the Asian Pear, created for the room by top-notch Wynn Resorts mixologist Patricia Richards. Desserts are rarely a strong suit in an Asian restaurant, but there is a nice display of exotic ice creams, in tiny cones, on a tree-like contraption.

Just go easy—Andrea is watching.

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