WSR Wine Blog

Wine tasting reviews, trips and stuff

Dinner at Michael’s By Glen Frederiksen

 One of my great joys since retiring to Las Vegas last year is trying out all of the fine restaurants here. Up and down the Strip, nearly every hotel has a celebrity chef restaurant.  

For my 58th birthday, Mary and I decided to try out Michael’s, consistently rated among the top five restaurants in Las Vegas. It is named after Michael Gaughan, owner of the South Point resort and casino. If that last name sounds familiar, it should – Michael’s father Jackie owned the Union Plaza in downtown Las Vegas. The family has been in the casino business for well over 40 years, and Michael used this experience to create a fine dining establishment that harkens to an earlier time.  

An intimate room that holds less than 100 seating capacity (including the private room to the back, where golf instructor-to-the-stars Butch Harmon was hosting a party on this night), care is taken to provide a culinary and service experience not seen in decades. From the Maitre d’ down to the busboys, the service was exceptional.  

When you are seated, bottled water is immediately poured. Don’t expect to drain your glass, for the moment that you take a sip, a server will whisk over to refill it.  

Two types of bread are presented, followed by MORT (the Mother of all Relish Trays). After seeing the piles of gherkins, peppers, beets, olives, tomatoes, quail eggs, and other noshes on this plate, we decided to skip a soup or salad course.  

The menus were presented. Men get a menu with prices, women do not. This bit of anachronistic chauvinism again reminds us of times past.  

The prices are not for the faint of heart. Chateaubriand for two is $160, as is rack of lamb for two. Veal dishes were in the mid $70 range.  

Don’t let that fool you. Following the relish tray, an Intermezzo sorbet was served – with Dom Perignon poured over it tableside.  

Although great desserts are available, it is hardly necessary, as a full pound of hand-dipped chocolates were provided gratis. Just when you think it is safe to waddle out the door and home, they then bring a large bowl brimming with fresh fruit to the table.  

Really, all one needs to do is order a main course. Everything else is provided by the restaurant. Most entrees are cooked and/or plated tableside.  

The word “no” is not in the vocabulary of the staff. At the table next to us, doting grandparents were celebrating a 10th birthday with their grandson. What did he want to eat? A grilled cheese sandwich.   Cooked tableside, it was done to perfection.  

We overdid it, of course. The cherries jubilee was outstanding. My double shot espresso was the best I’ve ever had.   Since we are locals now, we had the luxury of taking home a “people bag” filled with what we couldn’t eat without looking for a Roman vomitoreum. I weighed it when we got home – 4.25 pounds of prime filet and all the trimmings! We didn’t have to worry about eating the next day…  

Our bill was $210 – very reasonable for the opulent dining experience we had.  

If you are in Las Vegas and want to experience “puttin’ on the Ritz,” Michael’s will suit you nicely.


July 30, 2010 Posted by | Restaurants, Vegas | Leave a comment

Rare restaurant review in So. Vegas

Some of you have already heard me rave about how good the prime steaks and sea bass were at this restaurant. And how great the wine list is… Today, it got even better!
They do a Happy Hour from 4 to 6 PM on weekdays. Well drinks, draft beer, and lower-end wines by the glass are half price. But that’s not all. Everything on their appetizer menu is also half price! Each one is stunning, the quality is out of sight, the quantity is enough to make a meal out of.
We had three appetizers — Tempura Shrimp, ante pasto plate, and hummus. We each had iced tea, and I sucked down a draft hefeweizen. We couldn’t finish everything.
The bill including tax was $22.56!!
When I say the quality was outstanding, consider this:
The ante pasto plate had 2 different Italian meats on the plate, two prime cheeses (gorgonzola and aged Romano, three ounces of each!), spring greens, roasted peppers, and 5 ounces of deli quality mixed olives. Plus a separate platter of bread crisps.
The tempura shrimp was probably 6 ounces of the best tempura I’ve ever had, the shrimp were still succulent, with three dipping sauces that are made fresh daily. I loved the spicy aioli, while Mary enjoyed the sweet Teriyaki sauce. There was a drizzle of something fairly hot that I gobbled up.
The hummus is made daily by the Israeli national owner, and is outstanding. It includes falafel and pita triangles, to scoop up the hummus.
Anyhoo, this is our new, top-of-the-list place to eat in all of Las Vegas. Did I mention the great wine list? The owner’s son is the bartender, and was the Food & Beverage guy at Tao in the Venitian.   He loves Pinots, so get ready to have fun off the list. The prices are very reasonable.
The chef is CIA Hyde Park trained.

Glen & Mary Frederiksen

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Restaurants, Vegas | Leave a comment