Taking the vibe-dining challenge at Andrea’s
Wed, Feb 27, 2013 (3:43 p.m.)
- Encore, 248-3463.
- Sunday-Thursday, 6-10:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
Even before it opened late last year, Andrea’s at Encore boasted that it would set a new standard in nightlife and dining integration. To test that claim, we threw down a challenge to chef Joe Elevado and the restaurant’s mixology and musical staff. They responded by creating three delectable courses of food, drinks and, well, vibes. Check out our highly scientific evaluation below.
Dish: King crab and fluke roll (with julienne beets, wasabi salt and aojiso sauce)
Cocktail: Bringing Sexy Back (tangerine vodka, blood orange liqueur, lime juice, cucumber soda)
Song: “Injection” by Hans Zimmer
Results: Beets in a sushi roll? We figured they would be overpowering, but instead there’s a mild sweetness and crunch that complements a thin, beautiful layer of clean-tasting fluke. Everything about the dish is light and subtle, just like the cocktail. Bringing Sexy Back may be a goofy name for a drink, but it’s our favorite drink at Andrea’s, a refreshing balance of citrus of cucumber. The tune, from Mission: Impossible II, is pretty low-key until some operatic wailing kicks in. It’s a little overdramatic. But we could eat this roll and sip this sparkling beverage all night long.
Dish: Five spice garlic lobster (with long beans and jalapeño)
Cocktail: Shanghai Girls (lemongrass vodka, ginger liqueur, Moscato d’Asti, yuzu-blood orange sorbet, lime juice)
Song: “Lazy” by X-Press 2 featuring David Byrne
Results: This Euro-house track has Byrne purring “I’m wicked and I’m lazy,” but we’re feeling luxuriously guilty after devouring this addictive lobster. There’s not a lot of five-spice flavor to the dish, but no one cares; we just want to shove every part of it into our faces. Chunks of lobster are crispy and saturated with garlic, and the Chinese long beans get a nice kick from jalapeños. The cocktail is a crisp counterpoint, though we’d prefer the delicious sorbet by itself. Each of these three components is intoxicating. Translation: It’s time to get the party started.
Dish: Sliced prime New York strip (with wasabi demi-glace)
Cocktail: Sinatra Smash (Gentleman Jack whiskey, creme de cassis, muddled blackberries, sweet and sour, vanilla simple syrup)
Song: “Howling” by Ry Cuming and Frank Wiedemann
Results: The Sinatra Smash is a sweet-and-sour blast that serves as a bright contrast to rich beef. The aroma from the sizzling steak is overwhelming, thanks to a decadent sauce that continues to reduce as you indulge. “Howling” adds sinister, sexy vocals and a rising tension. It’s the best match for its food and drink, but overall, we’re surprised at how well everything goes together. This tasting/listening session proves that, in spite of all the style and bluster, Andrea’s is first and foremost about the food.
Bonus time in Andrea’s kitchen
Chef Joe Elevado, a disciple of Nobu Matsuhisa best-known for creating the hip menu at Treasure Island’s Social House, wasn’t planning on returning to Las Vegas. He was enjoying a gig overseeing complete food and beverage operations at a boutique hotel, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, and fighting through LA traffic when Wynn Resorts came calling. “I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to come here,” says the executive chef at Andrea’s.
He joined the restaurant-nightclub project a little late, yet still developed a diverse pan-Asian menu that seems to have something for everyone. “It’s a lot of stuff, and training was pretty intense. We’re still working through it and tweaking it a bit.” Some of Elevado’s favorites are already becoming the most popular dishes: the Nobu-inspired black cod with miso, the fatty Wagyu rib cap, hamachi with crispy garlic and pickled cherry peppers, and bigeye tuna with crispy rice, jalapeño and spicy mayo. For a super-satisfying soul food-y dish, check out his spicy wok-fried chicken in brown butter-miso sauce.