Las Vegas is known for its lavish resorts and dazzling shows. However, in recent years, it has earned its place as the culinary jewel of the Southwest. With more high-end restaurants per square city block than almost anywhere in the country, it is enough to make even the most hard-to-please diner giddy with excitement.
Of all Examiner.com's explorations into the Las Vegas food scene, Aquaknox at The Venetian is hands-down one of the top 5 best restaurants in the city. Specializing in global water cuisine, it effortlessly presents an experience and standard to which other "seafood restaurants" could only hope to aspire.
As any food writer will say, the mark of spectacular food is the tingling pleasure sensation that washes across the body when the first bite hits the tongue. Most hope for just one of these moments in a meal. In what seemed to be a statistical improbability, Aquaknox delivered course after course of food designs that dazzled the palate in a way that can only be described as a religious experience. From shellfish to salmon, beef to forbidden rice, it was surprising how each dish could be so different yet all produce the same reaction.
This is all thanks to the culinary musings of Executive chef Steve Aguglia, whose food creations are truly in a class of their own. Refusing to limit his menu to one regional style, his grasp of incorporating flavors from across the globe is present in every dish. The service provided by Aquaknox' beverage manager, Min Lee, combined with his knowledge of menu item and wine origins only accentuated an already perfect evening.
Oysters, NY littleneck clams, green-lip mussels, oyster shooters, royal red shrimp ceviche, Merus king crab and snow crab. Served with atomic cocktail sauce, shallot mignonette and whole-grain mustard aioli.
Wine Pairing: Tavistock Reserve, Prosecco, Veneto, Italy, NV
Ahi Tuna Poke
Delicate Ahi tuna served with "Go chu jang" Korean chili paste, sesame oil, crispy Okinawa purple sweet potatoes, red grapes, micro leeks and a soy glaze.
Wine Pairing: Dr. Thanisch, Riesling, Bernkasteler Badstube, Kabinette, Mosel, Germany, 2010
Grilled Ora King Salmon
A cut of salmon so moist and flavorful, it could change one's life. Served with a Kabayaki glaze, forbidden fried rice, carrot-miso sauce, crispy carrots and micro greens.
Wine Pairing: Mesa, Vermentino, Sardegna, Italy 2011
Mesquite Prime Rip-cap & Prawn
The most stunning cut of tender beef this writer has had the pleasure of sampling to-date. Served with a potato soufflé, lobster nagé, red wine demi-glaze and arugula.
WinePairing: Fisher, Cabernet Sauvignon, Coach Insignia, Napa Valley, 2009
Banana Cream Pie
A truly decadent desert featuring caramelized banana, lady fingers and a unique Guinness-chocolate ice cream.
Dessert Wine Pairing: Ben Rye, Possito Di Pantelleria, Italy, 2009
About the author:
Jeff Lewis is a travel and entertainment writer with more than 10 years of experience in the media industry. To receive updates on his latest articles or to recommend a venue for review, follow him on Twitter at @jeffandthe411.