VegasEats: Andrea's at Encore
» filed under Las Vegas tagged: vegaseats andreas switch vibe dining encore hakkasan surrender nightlife quantum teledildonics comments: 15
The use of "hip" and "vibe" brings out the worst of my inner monologue. Eye rolling begins and the sarcasm builds to a fever pitch. To me, and for that matter most people I know, anything like this means you're trying to make up for a hidden fault with a little flash and bang adjectives.
Cut to Andrea's, the new restaurant named after Mrs. Stephen A. Weinberg and built into the bones of the former Switch at Encore. While Switch was a novel concept, it never seemed to find its groove, and despite a brisk pace business, changes came about, someone got married, and in line with giving his former wife things such as whole hotels, a restaurant was really just a trinket.
From the start, I think it was no wonder why everyone declared a misfire for Andrea's. With such gimmicks as a musical chef (?!?) and the catchphrase "Hip Asian Dining" its hard to understand why anyone could take this place seriously. But just like my past feelings about Bobby Flay (disliked, more so after MESA) and Gordon Ramsay (I was so wrong, attested to by Sticky Toffee Pudding) I thought if I'm going to complain, I really should put my money where my mouth is, or in this case into my mouth. And since I can, I thought I'd bring everyone along for the ride.
Booking a table for our experiment was not a problem as most every time period was available during midweek. We arrived at the restaurant 10 minutes early and were promptly seated after being assured we'd be done in time for my companion's 9:30 showing of Le Reve. The hostess was quick and courteous and followed up by the server's assistant who also quickly brought out a bottle of Pellegrino and cold lime slices while we went through the iPad-based drink menu similar to those found at Gordon Ramsay Steak. I opted for an old standby the Sinatra Smash, which has become somewhat more of a generic standard now across the Wynn properties, while my friends had an Old Fashioned which they both told me was watered down and upon my tasting was proven to be one of the worst drinks I've had in my life. The mixologist needs a bit more training if you ask me. But putting that aside, we perused the menu and decided upon a few shared plates as well as entrees to get us through the evening.
The first dish to arrive was the Bigeye Tuna and Crispy Rice, with a topping of spicy mayo and pickled Jalapeno. While the fish was a little too warm for my liking, the crispy rice was perfect and the whole thing had a fantastic flavor profile overall. It hit the table just in time too as we were getting famished due to having ordered edamame and shishito peppers which never showed up, something having to do with our waiter, Roman, who was in himself something of a downward spiral of attitude and arrogance.
The second shared plate to arrive was the Yellowtail Yuzu Tobiko + Albacore Miso. Once again the flavors were spot on although a bit shallow, and I would have preferred a bit more oomph (not oontz) but overall delicious.
The final shared plate to arrive was the Shrimp Tempura + Spicy Tuna. This roll rocked, pun not intended. The flavors were amazing and it was universally declared a smash by all three of us. At this point all of us began to wonder and discuss if honestly we had misjudged Andrea's prematurely. Could we be wrong?
After a bit of a delay and several ignored passes by Roman, the God amongst waiters, the entrees arrived via two runners from the kitchen. The first was my friend's choice of Diver Scallops with Pork Belly over a bed of mashed potato. Immediately he lit up and with good reason. The scallop was cooked to perfection and the pork belly married flawlessly with it to create an exceptional dish. Sadly however, this is where the Andrea's experience ended for the good and began a nosedive into dining hell. (picture of Lemongrass Beef Tenderloin in bowl)
The second entree was my other companion's Lemongrass Beef Tenderloin which he ordered medium rare. The beef came out perfectly cooked and tender, however the dish overall really was no better than anything you'd find at your local Chinese mom and pop. The veggies were overdone and the sauce as special than a Panda Express brown sauce, making it a disappointment especially at the price.
Fortunately however he did order a side of eggplant which was cooked in a sauce to a perfectly lovely consistency and flavor, something which helped add a bit of oomph to his underwhelming entree.
I, hoping for a little of the same, ordered a side of Wok-seared Broccoli in Ponzu which was saltier than a salt-lick but less so than Roman (now on his 40th prance by our table). Topped with browned oily slices of half fried garlic, the entire dish reeked of garlic salt and was a huge disappointment. But the worst dish of the evening fell to me.
These are the Crispy Pan Fried Noodles. I don't even know where to begin. Firstly, I wasn't sure how you could pan fry noodles into a perfect block, but I've seen different presentations before so I gave it benefit of the doubt. Once cracking into it - literally - it was nothing more than bone dry uncooked pasta with the flavor of dried hay. The topping of chicken mixed with mushrooms, carrot, and Chinese broccoli was mediocre and had approximately 7-9 small chunks of chicken in total. In some hope that I could make the noodles edible I allowed the sauce to soak into the brick, but alas it was no help turning it into a mushy pile of starch-like glue.
Our waiter - a finalist in the top 10 worst service professionals I have ever encountered - slams down dessert menus in a huff, before even clearing plates.
The dessert menu sums up everything wrong about Andrea's. Beyond the $12 for three teeny balls of ice cream or $30 for a cache of cake pops there's nothing inspiring here. And that's the disappointment. We closed our check and ended our misery racking up a bill of around $275 for a party of 3.
Andrea's, the space, is beautiful. Designed by Todd-Avery Lenahan, it is gorgeous in detail, fit and finish from the private dining booths to the open kitchen. But the uninspiring, gimmicky menu doesn't allow the talented chefs to shine, hobbling what could've been a fantastic fusion joint. Paired with a surly, mumbling, angst-ridden, un-Wynn like wait staff, it is apparent that Andrea's is just another Tao, Lavo, or Hakkasan wannabe on the small scale. And that is reason enough for me to never set foot in the joint again, even if DJ Frodo is spinning the iTunes.
The Latest:The VegasTripping Holiday Gift Guide 2013
M Resort DeiMagines Their Rewards Program
One Of The World's Most Beautiful Things
Meet The Gorgeous New Suites At The Delano Las Vegas
The Executives: Find The Debt
Nothing Says Merry Christmas Quite Like VegasTripping T-Shirts
Take A Peek Inside SLS Las Vegas Casino Floor
Check Out These Unbelievable Renderings of Ballys Grand Bazaar
And the 2014 Trippies Nominees Are...
Read This Rare, Authentic Celebrity Casino Endorsement
Rose. Rabbit. Lie. Hires Captain Frodo
» Complete Archive