Project Dinner Perfect, Whisky Wednesays and Bon Chef’s Buon Italiano

The 21st Project Dinner Table, spearheaded by the event’s irrepressible founder, Gina Gavan, was the most impressive to date in the event’s four-year history. What made it so? A lineup of star chefs soon to grace Summerlin’s Tivoli Village, including Sam Marvin of Echo & Rig and Bradley Ogden of Hops & Harvest—plus representation from Angelo Sosa’s Poppy Den and more.

Ogden is an especially welcome presence here. He’s been missed since he closed his iconic Caesars Palace restaurant, and he had his famous oak-grilled burger on hand to wow the minions, plus little bites, such as quinoa fried rice served in tiny plastic cups and mini-crab cakes. He also did a killer salad course of heirloom tomatoes and basil. I’ll be reviewing his just-opened restaurant soon.

Sosa’s executive sous-chef, Alicia Stewart, contributed a delicious miso salmon with shishito peppers, and Marvin, who will open in late July, served whole roasted pigs from a smoking box and USDA Natural Prime skirt steak cooked over a wood fire. The sold-out event benefited two local charities, Win Court and Golden Rainbow, both deserving. Project Dinner Table’s next installment is June 8 at TPC Summerlin.

Have you experienced Whisky Wednesdays at Andre’s, the French restaurant at Monte Carlo? I did, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It takes place in the restaurant’s second floor Cigar Lounge—which features 30 different types of cigars and Andre’s amazing collection of French spirits, most notably Cognac and Armagnac—or downstairs, if you prefer to go smoke-free.

For $25 you get a flight of five whiskeys, normally $45, a bargain for those of us who love fine spirits. Upon my visit, Glenmorangie Scotch was being highlighted, and I was especially fond of the one with port-wood finished 12-year-old Quinta Ruban. The whiskies change monthly, and if you get hungry, you can order from the Andre’s menu.

Finally, I recently dined at Henderson’s winsome Bon Chef Café (10720 S. Eastern Ave., 269-4700), just one more under-the-radar place with an eclectic menu laced with Mediterranean touches, and not a few Middle Eastern surprises. Everyone at my table fought over the macaroni al forno—like lasagna, an oven-baked pasta, only richer, if you can believe it, thanks to plenty of meat sauce plus a creamy Parmesan sauce enrobing it all.

This place makes a mean seafood paella, delicious kabobs and terrific Middle Eastern appetizers. The hummus is especially delicious, with lots of tahini (sesame sauce) in the dip, and the Caprese salad of mozzarella, ripe tomato and basil is as good as you will get in most accomplished Italian restaurants.

I’m no fan of tiramisu, but the rich, swirling, ultra-creamy one served here won me over.

Hungry, yet?

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