Something is afoot on the Strip at Central in Caesars Palace (650-5921) and Table 10 in Palazzo (607-6363), two restaurants that have underperformed at times. Not anymore. Changes on both menus have catapulted the two into the forefront of upscale-but-affordable Strip dining venues.
Central serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and belongs to Washington D.C.-based chef Michel Richard, a round, white-bearded Frenchman who looks like Father Christmas. Every dish I ate here has improved, except for the chef?s signature fried chicken, which now has a surfeit of overly crunchy breading.
But other tweaks work wonders: At dinner, you should start with gougeres, a paper cone filled with buttery Gruyere cheese puffs that are impossible to resist, and then progress to the richest deviled eggs in the city, topped with boquerone anchovies from Spain.
Philly cheese-steak sliders—an absurd tummy stuffer—come with french fries, and are tremendous, but don?t even think about an entr?e if you order this as an appetizer. Both the lamb shank with white beans and the Mediterranean sea bass are worth the visit, so order judiciously, and you?ll be able to have Richard?s indulgent chocolate bar dessert.
At Table 10, owned by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, Tim Doolittle has taken over at the stoves now that Sean Roe has been bumped up to corporate chef, and the food is a wonderful surprise.
You can start a meal here with two of the best apps on the Strip: one, candied North Country bacon so delicious it should be outlawed, the other roasted marrow bones sprinkled with sea salt and served with brioche for the decadent spread. I?m also partial to fried smelts, although here, they tend to have too much corn-flour breading.
I?d never dream of coming here without ordering Emeril?s New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp, also available at his steakhouse Delmonico in the Venetian and his Fish House in MGM Grand. I can?t resist his gumbo, either, a chicken and sausage version I embellish with Tabasco.
Table 10 is known for meats, and they don?t disappoint. Kurobuta pork ribs, rib-eye steak from Creekstone Farms and a second take on Colorado lamb shank, are state of the art.
In local restaurant news, Estiatorio Milos in the Cosmopolitan is now offering an all-day meze, or Greek appetizer menu, including such delicacies as salmon tartare, saganaki cheese and lamb souvlaki served on a stick, all priced at about $5. It?s a way to experience a top-class restaurant at a price that won?t dent anyone?s wallet.
Meanwhile, in Summerlin, Hachi, in Red Rock Resort, has added a brace of seasonal dishes for the summer, including French bean tempura with almonds, spicy aioli and eel sauce; scallop tiradito; miso cod lettuce wraps and lobster tacos. Prices are well below those of comparable Japanese restaurants in Strip casinos, and the cooking is solid and dependable.
Follow Max Jacobson?s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at VegasSeven.com/Blogs.