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Vegas Eats: Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at MGM Grand

By Misnomer on Thursday, 29th October 2015 1:05pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 8

   

Mgmgrand Emerils Entrance

Emeril Lagasse is something of a paradox. On one hand, he's a classically trained chef with an unassailable pedigree, and an originator of fine dining in Las Vegas. On the other hand, he's a TV huckster, prone to yelling "BAM!" while trying to sell you a 2-Piece Multi-Function E-Fork Set on QVC.

I've generally tried to focus on the former. To that end, Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at MGM Grand is where I first experienced fine dining in Las Vegas. In fact, it's probably where I first experienced fine dining at all. Hey, I'm from St. Louis, shoot me. Or don't. Someone else here probably will. Anyway, eating at Emeril's became something of a must-do during my formative Las Vegas years. I ate there every trip. I tried almost everything on the menu. I loved the place. But over the years, it started slipping. The food wasn't as good. The fountain at the restaurant's entrance stopped working, and rather than fix it, they just turned it off. The seating was ripped and tattered. The staff was aloof and even surly at times. So I stopped going. Then, about a year ago, Emeril's announced a "grand re-opening". This seemed to be an acknowledgment of all of the problems enumerated herein above. While in town for VIMFP, I decided to give the restaurant another try, to see if things had gotten better. In many ways, they have.

I arrived for my six o'clock reservation and was seated promptly at a two-top table with a view of the glass encased, floor-to-ceiling wine room. My server could not have been more pleasant. She was the type who touches your arm and calls you "honey", and genuinely makes you feel welcome. Her kindness made it easy to forgive the fact that the big fish-shaped fountain at the restaurant's entrance is still switched off. The seating surfaces, as well as the rest of the restaurant, appeared in tip-top shape. I ordered an Abita Turbodog dark brown ale, and made some selections from the menu.

Mgmgrand Emerils Amuse

An amuse-bouche. I've noticed that when you make a reservation at any Emeril's restaurant, they ask if you've dined with them previously. And if you say yes, they bring you an amuse-bouche and say, "This is to welcome you back." So say yes, and you might also get one of these crackers with beef tartar, blue cheese, and balsamic vinegar on it. It was tasty.

Mgmgrand Emerils Shrimp

Emeril's Barbecued Shrimp. The barbecue sauce here isn't KC Masterpiece. Rather, it's garlicky and full of pungent Creole seasoning, and finished with cream and butter. The shrimp itself was delicious, and expertly prepared to the perfect point of doneness. But oh, that barbecue sauce. I was grateful for the soppin' biscuit. I kind of wish I had a bucket of biscuits and a vat of sauce. As a general matter, I'd like to see more vats in fine dining.

Mgmgrand Emerils Scallops

Seared Sea Scallops. This alliterative dish was served with smoked bacon and black eyed pea succotash with sweet corn cream. I positively love scallops. These were sweet, a little salty, and melt-in-your-mouth perfectly cooked. The succotash was an attempt to echo the natural sweet and salty flavor of the scallops, and the sweet corn and bacon did just that. The black eyed peas were undercooked and tough, however. The two big stalks of withered frisee didn't really need to be on the plate at all.

Mgmgrand Emerils Macncheese

As a side dish I chose the Hickory Bacon and Smoked Fontina Mac and Cheese. This thing was a smoke bomb. There was a disconnect between spooning the soft, gooey, ostensibly cheesy noodles out of the baking dish, and then actually placing them in my mouth, where they tasted like hookah. More like Mac and Cheech, amirite?

Mgmgrand Emerils Bananapie

Banana Cream Pie. I've had this dessert at Emeril's New Orlean's Fish House before, as well as at Delmonico at Venetian, and at an Emeril's outpost in Orlando. It is one of my all-time favorite desserts. My wife even makes this labor intensive sweet for my birthday on occasion. But this particular piece was a disappointment. It tasted old, for want of a better description, as if it had been prepared many hours, or possibly days prior. The pastry cream had hardened, and was heavy and dense, and not at all like the silky smooth decadent treat that it should be.

Mgmgrand Emerils Check

Including an iced tea and a double espresso, the bill for one came to $114.59, before a generous tip for excellent service. Overall, it was a pleasant meal at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House. I'm glad I gave it another try, and I'm happy to see that they've made some improvements - but "pleasant" is the nicest compliment I'm able to muster.



Tagged: vegas eats   dining   emerils   mgm grand   celebrity chefs   misnomer   e-fork   





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Comments & Discussion:

BAM!

Much like with Misnomer, my first Vegas fine dining experience (and fine dining experience ever) was at one of Emeril's restaurants, in my case, it was Delmonico. It was a good meal and I've been meaning to make a return visit for nine years. The thing about Vegas is that there are so many great restaurants that some either get pushed further down the list (I've been meaning to try Mesa Grill since my very first trip in 2004.) or never even show up on my radar (Emeril's New Orleans Fish House being one such example.). At the larger resorts, it's easy for a longtime restaurant to get overlooked in favor of newer options and is why some longtime establishments have to refresh things every now and then.

I'm happy to report that I made a return visit to Delmonico last trip (in September). It was outstanding. Everything, from appetizers to sides to the main course (steak, duh), was excellent and very tasty. And the service was sublime - very friendly, funny service with several outstanding recommendations (including one not even on the menu!) Anyways, I hadn't been in a few years and was glad I went back. I have been to the Fish House in the past as well, about 3-4 years ago, and was underwhelmed. Glad to hear it's somewhat improved, but I think I'll stick to Delmonico if I want some BAM in my life.

I've only visited this particular location during their happy hour which remains one of the best on the strip with half priced apps and beverages. Nice post, Mis!

I always stop by Emerils' for the Banana cream pie (with a cup of joe!) but like you, I've observed that it's quality has gone downhill over the years . My guess is they're using cheaper ingredients.

That had me untill $44 for scallops. $44? Those thing better have done a full Broadway...or at least 'Cuse University level song and dance routine for the diner before they were cooked. Yeeek!

I hate the MGM restaurant set-up, with everything in one long walkway with the restaurants open to gawkers. VeneLazzo is the same. Either give me a view or a private room, or preferably both.
Perhaps that is why I tend to dine at Wynn, Bellagio and Cosmo only.

And $44 for 5 scallops - fuck that!

Your review definitely resonated 'pleasant' and as Seinfeld might say, 'there is nothing wrong with that'. Emeril's fish house, was also my first 'fine' dining experience, and I've had similar thoughts to you, that it's sort of faltered, lathough after the remodel, I'd also say the focus went from fine dining to a bit more casual with fine dining prices. That's too bad on the banana cream pie, I've had it and also made it, and have to say just from the picture it looked a bit 'meh'



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