The Light Group—enmeshed in a takeover by the Hakkasan Group—is best known for its nightclubs. But being a bit past my clubbing prime, I’ve always been more impressed by its restaurants. The new Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar in Red Rock Resort brings the organization’s grand total to eight local restaurants. With a few notable exceptions (sorry guys, Kumi just doesn’t do it for me), I’ve almost universally enjoyed the meals corporate executive chef Brian Massie and his staff have provided at all of them. And I’m happy to report that Hearthstone adds something new and exciting to the group’s portfolio, without compromising the quality I’ve come to expect from a Massie project.
Hearthstone is a large restaurant occupying the space that was previously home to Hachi. Entering from the casino floor and past a private cellar/dining room, one emerges in the main dining room with its open kitchen. There, chefs cook everything from pizzas to whole suckling pigs in large wood-burning ovens. As the space widens toward the back, a small raw bar hides behind a corner, followed by the long bar area. Finally, there’s an outdoor patio accessible directly from the resort’s parking lot.
Décor is minimal—shabby chic with unfinished ceilings, modern light fixtures and other urban touches. But each area has its own identity, thanks to antique photo vignettes on the walls, a collection of pristine china between the raw bar and bar, and a shuffleboard table in one corner. Both the dining room and bar offer communal tables for those seeking a less formal, more social experience.
menu is diverse and interesting, with casual and fun dishes that range from the simple (deviled eggs, shucked oysters or a marinara flatbread) to the surprisingly sophisticated (a spread of foie gras mousse, peanuts and house-made jelly or scallop tartare with plum vinegar, basil and grapefruit).
I’m not one for rabbit food, but the harvest quinoa salad comes packed with protein from both the grains and a hearty helping of chickpeas, accented with apple, Gouda and pumpkin seeds in vinaigrette. A mason jar of baked ricotta with truffle honey and Gouda makes a rich, delicious spread for crisp oven-toasted bread. The pasta and shrimp with crispy strings of zucchini is seasoned with a beautiful blend of sweet honey and spicy peppers. And the roasted squash topped with creamy burrata cheese and brown-butternut granola is one of the best side dishes I’ve had in a long time. (The mac ’n’ cheese with roasted cauliflower, apples and Gouda is a close second.)
The flatbread pizzas I’ve tried so far have all been good—very similar to a classic Neapolitan style. The large balls of chorizo stuffed into the bacon-wrapped dates, however, are a bit much for my taste. If I want a meatball, I’ll opt for the chef’s short-rib version, served with red sauce, tomatoes and a helping of goat cheese.
The only dish I’ve truly disliked during my visits has been a thin, extremely dry short-rib and chuck burger, and the fat, square fries that accompanied it. Given the thin patty, it’s only available well done, but that really doesn’t excuse the total lack of moisture in the one I sampled.
While Hearthstone is the Light Group’s first venture into the ’burbs, it hasn’t compromised the creative and fun spirit that have made its restaurants such hits with club kids and other trendsetters on the Strip. It’s also a bold move for Summerlin, where restaurants tend to have a more conservative or predictable bent. But if locals are willing to give it a chance, they’ll find a truly exciting new neighborhood spot.
Al’s Menu Picks
- Harvest quinoa salad ($12),
- baked ricotta ($16),
- roasted squash ($7) and Calabrian shrimp pasta ($23).
Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar
Red Rock Resort, 702-693-8300. Open for dinner 5-10 p.m. Sun–Thu, 5-11 p.m. Fri-Sat. Dinner for two, $40-$100.