Whether they happen once a quarter or once a month, specialty dinners in Las Vegas’ top restaurants offer an experience that’s elevated above simply ordering off the menu. Just don’t get too attached. Sometimes these selections have only a one-night or one-week lifespan, so revisiting that delicious appetizer or dessert may not be an option. But you can always take a picture — it will probably last longer anyway.
Every two months, db Brasserie, located inside of Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, unveils a seasonal tasting menu that capitalizes on the best of what’s fresh.
From July 25 to 31, stone fruits get their turn on the third multi-course tasting of the year. For the table, nectarines, along with Saint-Agur blue cheese, become a delightfully pleasant flatbread topping, followed by a first offering of fluke crudo accented with plum carpaccio, lighter and more refreshing with each bite, prepping the palate for richness to come.
And there’s nothing more decadent than the sweet minerality of Hudson Valley foie gras, and Hood River cherries with almond ice cream as the intermezzo.
For the main course, the most famous stone fruit of all gets its turn in a presentation of Duroc pork blade and grilled peaches. The sweeter, smaller cousin of the peach stars in the final dessert course, apricot frangipane.
Harvest by Roy Ellamar
Harvest by Roy Ellamar in the Four-Star Bellagio now features a monthly takeover of its Snack Wagon by a guest chef. The lineup reads like a who’s who of the Vegas culinary scene. Upcoming takeovers include L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon executive chef Steve Benjamin on August 6; Noodles executive chef Patrick Lee on August 24; Todd English’s Olives executive chef Brad Skougard on September 14; and Lago by Julian Serrano executive chef Nico Chessa on October 12.
During each presentation, both Harvest chef Roy Ellamar and the visiting chef each guide one of the beautifully crafted wooden snack wagons around the main dining room and lounge while mingling with guests and serving small bites. Wagon service typically wraps around 8 p.m., and it’s a great option for those seeking a more social dining outing.
Favorites from past events include a Wild King salmon tartare and foie gras PBJ (Ellamar); caviar parfait of smoked salmon, crème fraîche and shallot potato cake (Michael Mina); and Le Crabe with Maryland blue crab, avocado, Granny Smith apple and Russian osetra caviar (Le Cirque’s Wilfried Bergerhausen).
You can make a meal out of the experience, as the items are all à la carte. Each toque creates four delicious selections for his wagon and, of course, those tasty wheels are followed by a sweets wagon.
Monthly cocktail dinners at Rivea in the Delano Las Vegas were so popular they received a starring place on the permanent menu. Chef Alain Ducasse and mixologists Proprietors LLC concocted the Tour of the Riviera (five cocktails with five courses). Many of the flavors of the Mediterranean-inspired dishes are meant to contrast (rather than complement) with carefully selected artisanal liquors for a truly explosive sensory experience.
An assortment of first bites such as cured meats, sea bass crudo, roasted panisse (a cake made of chickpea) and caponata with capers and pine nuts pair with a cocktail of Lillet Blanc, Pamplemousse, St. Germain, lemon, Aperol and fizz.
Next comes the lobster risotto alongside Champagne Alain Ducasse with pear liqueur, Verjus Blanc and demerara sugar.
The fish-and-meat courses introduce seared sea scallops with fava beans, green peas and romaine lettuce, accompanied by white wine infused with apple, celery and amontillado sherry; a roasted duck breast with turnips; and nougat paired with a booze-forward delight of crème de cassis, French curaçao, East India solera sherry and orange oil rounds out the course.
Capping off the meal is the outrageously decadent limoncello baba with a cocktail of dry and Blanc vermouths, apricot and Blanco tequila.
For those keen on pairing entrees with more vino, look out for wine dinners that rotate every other month with the cocktail dinners.
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill Summerlin
Quarterly, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill Summerlin brings out the big guns for its Night Flights. Executive chef Mark Andelbradt creates a four-course menu — one of the highlights is a roasted Colorado lamb shank with braised red cabbage, sweet potato croquette and black pepper gastrique — and two sommeliers from local restaurants compete to win over diner’s palates by pairing the perfect pour with each dish. Attendees vote at the end for who will hold bragging rights until the next event.