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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vegas Trip: Michael Mina @ The Bellagio

This past weekend I went to Las Vegas with my bf and 2 other friends. One of them got comped for a room at Aria Hotel and invited us!! Thanks! :) So the guys left it up to the girls to plan the fooding places. That's my specialty!! haha.

So I come to find out that it was the last weekend Vegas is having their Restaurant Week!! Woot woot! Can you imagine? Restaurant Week in Vegas with ALL those celebrity chefs and amazing restaurants?!? I was psyched!

This is their 5th year of RW and it raises funds and awareness for the Three Square Food Bank. The participating restaurants offer either breakfast, lunch and/or dinner with $4, $5 or $6 donated per meal respectively. You get a 3-course meal (some places offer 4) for $50.11 per person.

Friday night was my pick. I chose Michael Mina at the Bellagio for 3 reasons. 1) I've heard of the name Michael Mina before and he's got one Michelin Star at his restaurant in Vegas. 2) We were going to watch Cirque du Soleil's "O" Friday night so it works out that we would have dinner there. 3) The RW menu looked pretty tasty. hehe.

Michael Mina @ Bellagio
3600 Las Vegas Blvd South,
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 693-8199
Price: $$$$+

Our reservation was at 7:30pm. We arrived a few minutes late and were seated immediately. The restaurant isn't that big. We were seated right by the kitchen so you could hear and see all the action. It was a little loud but I liked seeing the plates come out. The decor was more classic, sophisticated... warm colors, pretty simple.

We were given the regular menus along with the RW menu and the Chef's tasting menu. We all opted for the RW menu since it was definitely the best deal. We also got some bread before the meal. The wheat bread was pretty good, nice crust on the outside, fluffy and warm on the inside.

Market Greens & Roasted Beet (Goat Cheese, Marcona Almond).
I didn't get to try it but my friend said it was ok.

Soup & Grilled Cheese (Heirloom Tomato, Lobster Soup).

I got this because it just sounded so fun! I liked the presentation for its simplicity. But we all thought the sandwich was tiny... The ratio of bread to soup was off. The soup was really smooth and a little too tart for my preference. My friends liked it though. You could tell the ingredients were fresh. I liked the sandwich a lot. The bread was buttery and just the right crispiness. The cheese inside was mild and creamy. I never got any lobster though... not in the soup or the sandwich.

Phyllo-Crusted Sole (Crab Brandade, Horseradish Mascarpone, Sauce Dijon).
My bf got this because it was my other choice. hehe. This turned out to be my favorite entree of the night. The phyllo crust on the sole was light and crispy. The fish was thin and mild and paired well with the sauce. I really liked the sauce. There was a bright lemony accent in it, great for fish. And I thought it was a good portion. Again, the presentation very simple and clean.

Truffle-Stuffed Chicken (Savoy Cabbage, Sunchoke-Pear Puree, Foie Gras Rice).
One of my friends and I ordered this. Initially we asked the waiter if we could split a RW order since neither of us were that hungry. He said it wasn't allowed and assured us that the entrees were the same size as their regular menu but it wasn't overwhelmingly big. I think that was an overstatement. The portions for this dish was miniscule... Good thing we didn't share!! The presentation was whimsical, but seriously... imagine if you only ordered this dish off the regular menu (which is $36 btw). OMG. That's like $12 for one bite of chicken!! Among the trio, the preparation of the leg was my favorite. The skin was seared the best and the dark meat was juicier. However, the sauce on it was too salty. I really enjoyed the cabbage under the other chicken with the puree, but there was too little puree you almost didn't know it was there. Again, slightly salty.. The chicken on the left with the truffle stuffed under the skin needed a better sear on the skin and we both agreed that they wasted the truffles by stuffing them under in that way. It didn't add anything to the chicken in any way. :( And the foie gras rice was the selling point for me on this dish since it sounded interesting. Big Fail! The rice was severely undercooked and I saw no foie gras whatsoever. I don't even know if I even tasted foie gras since it was also very salty. Bleh... no good.

Filet of Beef (Mushroom Marmalade, Warm Spinach Salad, Pommes Puree).
Another friend ordered this. The presentation was pretty basic, wasn't super appealing. The steak, although the color looked right, was quite dry. we were a little baffled by that. The flavor was ok, honestly I don't quite remember.

Michael's Root Beer Float (Warm Chocolate Chip & Nut Cookies).
I knew I was going to get this from the beginning. It just sounded so fun. They kind of earned a few points with their desserts. I thought this was good. It's playful and a big portion! I haven't had a root beer float in forever, so it was nice to have a walk down memory lane. And the cookies were pretty awesome. Warm, chewy on the inside, slightly crispy on the outside, lots of chocolate! YUM!

Chocolate Brownie (Spiced Pecans, Cocoa Nib Ice Cream).
This was tiny compared to my dessert haha. It was pretty good. The brownie was dense and chocolatey. I wished there was more ice cream and cocoa nibs though. I didn't really get much cocoa nibs at all...

So... first night, not too great. There was some good dishes but overall just disappointing especially since it's such a famous chef and restaurant. The service was ok. Everyone was polite and courteous but attentiveness was lacking. It was hard to get anyone's attention even though we were sitting right by the kitchen! Our waiter was very precise and technical but wasn't really around enough. Several times I needed something but gave up because I couldn't flag anyone down... I've had better food and wayyy better service doing RW in Dallas and for $15 cheaper!

Quality of Food:



Value (for RW):

Overall Experience:


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