Saturday, July 29, 2006

Emeril's Fish House

Well, our stay in Vegas has ended, and we're back home. But I feel it my duty to report on our final meal in town: Emeril's Fish House. Now, it seems everyone's heard of Emeril. Even the Sopranos have mentioned him on their show. He has several restaurants now, and is supposed to be one of the greatest chefs ever. Following the success of our visit to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, I knew we had to check out Emeril.

Emeril's Fish House was located at the MGM Grand Studio walk, which is an odd sort of food court. There's the actual food court area, with McIcky's, Haagan Daas, Nathan's Hot Dogs and, of course, Starbucks. And then all around it are restaurants which look like they won't even talk to you unless you're dressed up. Most, if not all of them have a view of the hallway, behind the glass walls that surround them. I called the concierge from our room and made reservations, and two and a half hours later, showed up in my Oingo Boingo tshirt, frayed jeans and sandals. The first thing I noticed was that almost everyone we saw on the staff looked like transplants from Boston. You know how certain areas just have something about the people, a timelessness about the way they dress that never really changes, no matter how many styles, fads and decades pass? These people looked like they were from Boston. I felt a little homesick for New England.

When we were seated, I noticed that the plates had a big old Emeril's Fish House logo on them. As soon as our drinks (water) were brought, those plates were removed, as they were apparently only for show. We were seated at a table for two, right between two other tables for two that both looked like they had couples there for special occassions. They were casual dressy, just like everyone else, and trying not to look at us or the way we were dressed, just like everyone else. It made me laugh inside.

My wife ordered New England clam chowder and a BLT salad, and I ordered a lobster bisque and crab cakes. The waiter seemed surprised that we would only be ordering soups and salads for our entire meals, but let's face it, Emeril's is not cheap and well, we were still kind of full from the Mesa grill. My wife told me that the clam chowder was good, but she's had better in Price, Utah (not the best review, I suppose). My lobster bisque was in fact the best bisque I've ever had, but then, I've not had many bisques. It was smooth and velvety, had a very complex flavor, and was of course pretty spicy. Maybe just a tad too spicy for bisque, but I enjoyed it.

Our salads came, and I was glad we were still so full from Bobby's place. The salads were small. My wife's was served on a rectangle plate, partitioned into two spaces. On one side was a baby spinach salad tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. The top leaf had a layer of garlic under it. The other side looked like a cream cheese (probably goat cheese) terrine with bacon and tomato on it. She said it was pretty okay. My salad included a few bitter baby greens and goat cheese crumbles, and two crab cakes. Oh, and three orange segments. The crab cakes were good, and again, pretty spicy. They were better when eated with the orange segments. The salad wasn't worth more than a bite. It was all very pretty though, and nobody seemed surprised when they saw my flash go off. It almost seemed expected.

My wife informed me a couple of times during the meal that she thought that Bobby's place was much better. I'd have to agree with her. Still, the staff was polite, if not friendly, and service was fast. I also noticed that when they served a table, all the plates not only arrived at the same time, but were placed in front of the people all at the same time. It almost looked choreographed when I saw it happen at other tables, as well as our own. I had heard about this, and was most impressed when I saw it in action. Unfortunately, good service does not make up for a so-so meal, especially when said meal ends up costing $50. Fortunately, this was the meal that we applied the hotel's $25 discount to. I felt much better to only pay $25 for our food, even if that still seemed like a little much.

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