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VegasEats: Society Cafe Encore - Again

By Chuckmonster on Wednesday, 25th August 2010 6:02am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 5


Society Cafe Encore Review

I've eaten at Society Cafe Encore twice since it opened and both times left scratching my head as to why folks like this place so much. The food, while somewhat inventive in conception and delivery, failed to challenge, tantalize or satisfy my culinary curiosity. The second time I ate here, Las Vegas' Chef du Critique John Curtas was dining three tables away, we chatted for a minute as he flash framed a froshly delivered soup for posting later that day. Once again, he loved his meal and mine bored me.

I'm not a food writer. I'm not even a writer. But I looove food. Having a conversational meal filled with wave after wave of orgiastic flavplosions is something my entire cellular structure enjoys more than having my peccadillo cleaned and serviced. I've had this at nearly every Wynn | Encore restaurant I've dined at - including a bag of custom shuggered puh-tato chips found inside the gosh darn minibar. I truly want to have a tongue wrestling, brow wrinkling experience at Society. Twice I tried, twice I left swearing that I would never return. Society was on the verge of being forevermore banished to the same faraway island which features another constantly disappointing W|E eatery - Red8.

I set out in search of food at Wynn when I woke up - 2:30pm. With the great recession has come gaping, between meal, black holes in the hours of many of my favorite eateries. Terrace Pointe was closed, Red8 is dead to me, Country Club was between services, The Buffet was more than I wanted to deal with, I ate at Stratta last time I was at Wynn, the big joints weren't open yet and no matter how convincing Steve Wynn's sales pitch on the Wynn TV channel is, I refuse to believe that the Pizza Place makes pizza as good as NY or LA or Chicago. Off to Encore I go... accepting with each step that round three at Society is imminent.

I arrive and am seated on the west rail on the walkway between Society and Switch. Here's a Vegas tip you can bank on - if you like oogling wiry girls in bikinis walk to and fro right before your eyes - tip the maitre'd for a table here when the pool is just getting rolling for the day.

The waiter arrives to take my drink order and I'm happy to find out that his name is Charlie. I take this as a good sign, even though most guys I know named Charlie are complete A-holes. After scanning the menu, I decide to take a shot at the Lollipop Chicken Wings ($11) for starter, and the Steak Frites ($23) - "Sirloin steak, French Fries, Bernaise" for main.

Society Pretzel Bread

Shortly after placing my order, my first cup of coffee of the day arrives as does a cup of pretzel bread with a mustard seed butter mixture. The pretzel bread is a nice touch, but lacks true depth of flavor - that almost bagel-like barm consistency - that authentic German pretzel bread has. Or the salt fell off in transit. At one point I forgot that the dip wasn't mustard and ended up with a gigantic mouthful of butter.

Society Lollipop Wings

I was curious what the "lollipop" description meant, and now I know. The chicken wings - all of the single bone variety - have been Frenched like a lamb chop, presumably so we don't get our fingers dirty. The wings were perfectly cooked and the wing sauce is an accurate approximation of nearly every other casino cafe chicken wing sauce you've ever had. Tasty? Yes. Inspiring tasteplosion that further defines or comments on the mouth burning flavors that could be part of an experimentally delicious chicken wing? No, but my clean(ish) fingers have saved yet another Wet-Nap tree.

Society Steak Frites

Before you could say "is that a bikini or is that a wedgie?" the Steak Frites arrived. I'm familiar with this specific cut of sirloin, butchers often try to masquerade its size and shape as a quasi-tenderloin filet.

Society Steak Frites

Of course, the difference between the two couldn't be any more obvious. This well seasoned knob of sirloin was rough and tumble, cooked well with wavy crazy grain and all the chewyness one would expect. The steak came with a non-essential and almost forgettable bearnaise sauce, a cup of fries (could have been a little hotter) and a cute-but-somewhat-annoying pen bottle filled with ketchup. Oh and there was a salad too, which had a nearly flavorless dressing on it of undetermined origin.

Donut Bag

At Charlie's urging, I decided to wrap the whole meal up with an order of their fresh donuts. They arrive in a white paper bag filled with confectioners sugar. Yes. This is my nut bag. Society's "Bag'O'Nuts" if you will, with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces.

Donut Bag

Six nugs. Hard three. A pair for a trio. Why not seven?

I can't say that after this third meal at Society Cafe Encore that I've joined the throng of cheerleaders for this place. But I can say that I probably won't put my foot down the next time someone suggests to share a meal there. The service, as always, was impeccable, food was tasty and satisfying, but that mysterious zoom factor wherein flavors multiply and explode over each other... you aren't gonna find that at Society. You will find decent hot wings that won't turn your fingers orange tho.

The check

Disclaimer: As part of our invitation to be the first persons to stay in and review the new rooms at Wynn, the fine folks at Wynn Resorts picked up our restaurant tab at Society. Their generosity had no affect on the outcome of this review, good or bad.

Tagged: vegaseats   society cafe   encore   dining   


Comments & Discussion:

Good review, but where are the pictures of the wiry girls in bikinis walking to and fro? I mean, you coulda set the scene for us a little better... :)

Society has been constantly changing since it opened. The original concept was a 24hr bottle service lounge that served gourmet food. Very quickly the hours were reduced and it dropped the lounge aspect. After a quick reconfiguring and restaffing of the bar area, it became a pretty hip place for drinks and appetizers. With the EBC opening, one wall was knocked out to better view the aforementioned bikinis.

@drake - sorry, i was too close to the girls to take pix. my gigantic camera would've scared them.

"...my gigantic camera would've scared them."
Um... O.K. .... ;)
How 'bout, stealth click with a wide angle lens, or video mode with the camera "resting" on the table, strategically pointed in the right direction?

C'mon. A man your age should be able to eat and perv at the same time. In fact, it's almost a professional requirement given the maturity level of your readers. :)

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