Nobhill Tavern was the first of my two nights of Michael Mina restaurants in Vegas. It was the more ‘casual’ of the two restaurants and had a lively and large bar area. Even though dining alone, I chose not to sit in the bar area. I had made a reservation a month prior and sitting at the bar with the walk-ins wearing shorts seemed unappealing. Perhaps that was the wrong choice, as the dining room was more formal than Seablue, the Mina restaurant I ate on day two.
The decor here was less dramatic than Seablue, but again all Vegas restaurants have huge ceilings and elegant, dark decors. My favorite thing about this place was the banquette – it was a mellow looking neutral linen color, but up close it was filled with silver sparkles.
Since this was the less expensive (haha) of the two restaurants, I went with an appetizer and an entree. Just a note, I was on a business trip and was being careful (unsuccessfully) not to overspend. The service was very formal, but there was a sound problem here. I could barely hear the waiter and clearly he did not hear me either! I ordered Chilled Cucumber Soup and got Grilled Tomato Fondue. It looked damn good, but supremely unhealthy. Nonetheless, they rectified it quickly since Chilled Cucumber Soup requires no preparation.
I apologize for the poor iPhone pictures. It was rather dark (both nights).
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Dungeness Crab & Lemon Oil $16
Seared Day Boat Scallops, Braised Radicchio, Grapes, Toasted Almonds, Brown Butter & Black Olive Oil $35
Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Mina Cuvee, Santa Barbara $16
A note on the wine: I had the same wine in both restaurants and it was $1 less expensive in the more expensive restaurant? Perhaps a different year?
So the Chilled Cucumber Soup was perfection – cucumber gazpacho, essentially. It had a scoop of crabmeat in the center and was drizzled with lemon olive oil. It was superb, light and delicate. Next came the Seared Scallops. The flavors of the scallops, grapes, toasted almonds and butter all made sense, but the braised radicchio really threw me. It felt like a very wintery base and it completely overwhelmed the delicate flavors of the dish. The giant scallops flown in from God knows where deserved to be tasted, after all.
This check with tip ran me $89. For one person even in NYC this is pretty steep for a restaurant in the $$ range (Seablue was $$$) and billed as ‘Specialty Dining’ rather than ‘Fine Dining’. FYI, ‘Fine Dining’ was Joel Rubichon ($140 prix fixe) and Collichio’s Craftsteak ($50+ steaks, ala carte veggies).
MGM Grand Hotel – Las Vegas