Central by Michel Richard
– Caesars Palace
by Vegas Food Nerd
High-end cuisine with comforting familiarity available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at this newer addition to the Caesars Palace restaurant lineup.
Located in the bustling lobby of Caesars, this offering from James Beard award-winning Chef Michel Richard is a blessing for those looking for high quality gnosh at anytime of the day. Gayot rated his new Vegas version of his legendary D.C. restaurant of the same name as one of the top ten restaurants in the country this year.
We experienced it late night after a show, and the first thing that struck me about the place was its prime positioning for a grand view of people watching. You can either dine inside the restaurant with its bright shiny interior, or choose to sit where we did, at the strategically placed lobby bar, where we could view the tourists in their natural habitat. Either returning from a night out, or just venturing out for the first time, it was a highly entertaining display that added to the night tremendously. The next thing that struck me was the quality of service we received. Our waiter was charming and attentive, and was quick to notice when my companion was not pleased with his order (onion aversion), and promptly removed his dish and immediately took it off our bill. Hands down, it was some of the best service at a Strip restaurant that I have had in a long time.
Now I have to talk about the food. Central’s menu is comfort food with an air of sophistication. If you’ve got non-food-nerd friends, they will feel very at ease with the menu choices, but the food-nerd in you (or in this case, me) will not be disappointed. The deviled eggs, for example, have that “just like mom made” quality, with a foodie twist of white anchovies as its topping. The clean, fresh vinegar taste of the white anchovy (not at all the same as its brown, hairy, salt-packed cousin) is a perfect complement to the long Easter dinner staple. The Matzo Ball Soup came and it was mistakenly switched to the Matzo Onion soup, that we didn’t order. As I mentioned earlier, the waiter took care of it on the spot, took it off our bill, and brought us the standard Matzo Ball soup, which was the biggest Matzo ball I ever saw, and tasted tender, light, and airy, just the way you’d want it to be. The Asian Style Tuna Carpaccio was next up (which my waiter was kind enough to split and do an onion version for me, and a non-onion version for my friend (see what I mean about the service?). It was delicately sliced and seasoned perfectly. The Rib-Eye with Sautéed Mushrooms was cooked exactly to our specifications and had a perfect amount of char, yet was tender and juicy. My personal favorite for the night, next to our dessert, was the Crab Burger – crunchy yet tender and topped with a tasty ginger aioli. Finally, we had to try the legendary signature dessert that Michel Richard is know for – his Chocolate Bar – layers of creamy chocolate, crushed hazelnuts and crispy wafer, served on a bed of heavenly creamy hazelnut sauce. It was simple flavors with an artful presentation.
The prices did seem a bit high, but that was hardly surprising, based on its location. All-in-all, it’s a very welcome concept to have a late-night dining option that isn’t served to you in a greasy paper bag. SLV
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