Waterfront Dining, Breton Salted-Caramel and a Dessert-Only Spot You Can “Bank” On

I love restaurants that are situated right on the water’s edge. They remind me of the days when I worked at the Fish Market restaurant, which was (and is still) located on the salty lagoon that meanders through San Mateo and Foster City along San Francisco Bay. Americana Las Vegas (2620 Regatta Dr., americanalasvegas.com), headed by chef Stephen Blandino, invites guests to a dining room with a classic seaside ambiance. Nantucket-style windows, rich wood floors and shimmering chandeliers set the mood for modern American cuisine. While dining on the Desert Shores waterfront, start with the grilled octopus—tender and succulent—which is served over a celery root puree and cilantro-poblano pepper sauce. Main dishes include smoked lamb chops, which arrive in a glass cloche that releases a sublime cloud when lifted. The chops are matched with pillows of Parisian gnocchi and then punctuated with bright green flavors from Argentine chimichurri mint sauce, garnished with red Holland bell peppers and served with a red wine reduction. Americana doesn’t take itself too seriously, though. Seamlessly fusing elegance with playful, you’ll find evidence of this in their whimsical cocktails, such as the Pop Rocks martini, which comes complete with a Ring Pop. And instead of boring mints at the reception area, there are assorted old-time candies and kazoo lips, just for kicks.

Offerings from the Patio

There’s no shortage of salted caramel iterations. The exotic indulgence became a culinary obsession at restaurants, which offered their renditions in cakes, sauces and ice creams. While the trend has subsided in the U.S., it was never a passing fancy in Brittany, France, because the salty, sweet and buttery wrapped candies (caramels au beurre salé) originated in this historic coastal region and have been part of its heritage for as long as one can remember. During the 1500s, Brittany was the only part of France to be exempt from a salt tax. As a result, salt was liberally sprinkled in the local cuisine. Then, a creative pastry chef decided to use salted butter to make caramel, and a beautiful union was born. To enjoy the true flavors of salted caramel is to have it at Café Breizh (3555 S. Fort Apache Rd., cafebreizh.com), here in Las Vegas. The region of Bretagne (Brittany) is also called Breizh (the local dialect), which is where owners Pierre Gatel and Jerome March were born and raised. You can bet that the two take their local specialties quite seriously. Try the Breizh crepes with salted caramel and baked apple, salted caramel macarons and salted caramel Macchiato for a trip to their hometown.

Photography by Cierra Pedro

And for more sweets, I told you about Bank Atcharawan (the man behind Chada Thai and Chada Street) and his new spot The Patio Desserts & Drinks (5255 S. Decatur, Suite 107) back in April. The sweet concept that he created with his wife, Pimmie, was born out of her love for desserts. Pimmie grew up in her family’s dessert business in Bangkok and, as a couple, they wanted to provide a familiar place for guests to gather and enjoy sweets and drinks. Inside their patio garden–themed spot, sink into Asian casualness by removing your shoes and sitting on floor mats around a low picnic table to share a number of specialties, or grab a table and chairs for a more Western affair. Choose from an assortment of teas and coffees, including the refreshing and ethereal chrysanthemum tea and the French SuperBlue Lavender Tea. These and the rainbow rose tea are as beautiful as they are delicious. Desserts that top my list include the Affogato, your ice cream of choice “drowned” with a shot of hot espresso. I suggest the banana vanilla ice cream, but feel free to browse through a number of innovative house-made flavors, such as corn berry or peach Earl Grey. Also, the Hong Kong Waffle is a futuristic, spherical egg-based waffle (quite Instagram-worthy, by the way), again with your choice of ice cream and topped with seasonal fruits. As I wrote this they were perfecting the cream cheese–filled red velvet Hong Kong Waffle and by now should have it on the menu. Finally, if you’re like me and willing to skip the meal and just have dessert for lunch or dinner, go for the berry grilled cheese sandwich. Featured earlier as Atcharawan’s favorite thing to make for the people he loves: I can see why, because he would receive all the love in return. The fresh strawberry slices and rich Brie cheese grilled to perfection between two slices of bread is lunch and dessert in one.

Marisa savors with all five senses. Read more at vegasseven.com/dishandtell or visit her blog, loveandrelish.com.