Vegas Uncork’d 2014: Grand Tasting (Las Vegas, NV)

Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting
Caesar’s Palace: Garden of the Gods
3570 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/9/14

DD0_8407

This weekend marked the eighth annual Vegas Uncork’d wine and food event. Spanning 31 events over 4 days, it continues to be one of the largest of its kind in the nation. I’ve mentioned it before, but Las Vegas is an ideal city for such a festival. Event spaces and hotel rooms are plentiful, and the city’s hunger for “celebrity chef” restaurants has created such a conglomeration of high-profile chefs in one city. They may never actually cook in their kitchen, but they’re well-represented during Uncork’d week.

DD0_8403

The Grand Tasting is the singular event that allows the most variety of food, wine and chef access for one ticket of admission ($225). Over 50 restaurants were represented with many more vintners and spirits. It’s truly a sight to behold. This would be my fourth year attending the Grand Tasting (also see 2012 and 2013 posts).

Ornately decorated booths are set up throughout the Caesar’s Palace pool area and attendees are able to roam from station to station to sample whatever they want.

DD0_8281

DD0_8282

DD0_8280

DD0_8295

DD0_8303

Chase Sapphire cardholders (me being one of them) had the opportunity to purchase tickets that granted admission to an exclusive lounge with Nobu Matsuhisa serving salmon belly with miso, caviar and gold flakes.

DD0_8290

Below is a sampling of the offerings (it’s impossible to see/try everything!).

Julian Serrano gazpacho

DD0_8285

Shibuya wagyu beef tartare, sesame wasabi, crispy taro

DD0_8365

Joel Robuchon salmon tartare with potatoes gaufrette and caviar; beef cheeks braised with eggplant in red miso and ginger sauce, mashed potatoes; light lemon mousseline with strawberry and basil gelee

DD0_8375

DD0_8378

DD0_8372
Giada pea pesto crostini with prosciutto; peanut butter and jelly tiramisu

DD0_8357

DD0_8358
Javier’s shrimp ceviche, salsa fresca, avocado

DD0_8287

Fleur grilled octopus, patatas bravas, spanish pepper aioli

DD0_8289

Heritage Steak braised brisket, kale, dates, whole grain mustard

DD0_8294

Guy Savoy artichoke and black truffle soup, toasted mushroom brioche with black truffle butter

DD0_8349

Vintner Grill black pepper gruyere profiteroles, house smoked duck, goat cheese, fig jam

DD0_8297

Andrea’s yellowtail sashimi, soba spaetzle, sea urchin; wagyu beef tongue, smoked ponzu, crispy garlic

DD0_8301

DD0_8299

Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar chili and cornbread

DD0_8304

Carlo’s Bakery vanilla cake; red velvet cake; carrot cake; mini napoleons

DD0_8306

DD0_8307

Buddy V’s Ristorante burrata and prosciutto caprese; grandma’s home style meatballs

DD0_8309

DD0_8310

B&B pulled pork sliders with slaw

DD0_8313

Lavo semolina cavatelli with sausage bolognese

DD0_8316

Joe’s scallop & crispy pork belly; new york strip oscar

DD0_8320

DD0_8322

Sushi Roku tuna tartare, yuzu guacamole, truffle

DD0_8324

Spago hibachi grilled steak, cucumber daikon kimchi

DD0_8326

The Palm sliced prime filet on crostini with horseradish

DD0_8328

Gordon Ramsay BurGR mangalitsa pork burger, english sharp cheddar, apple butter, arugula; sticky toffee pudding push pops, salted peanut ice cream

DD0_8331

DD0_8332

Gordon Ramsay Steak hamachi crudo, uni, smoked salmon roe, black garlic puree

DD0_8335

Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill steamed clams with chorizo, caramelized fennel, saffron broth; triple chocolate trifle

DD0_8337

DD0_8338

Beijing Noodle No. 9 hand pulled noodles with fish broth

DD0_8341

Payard Patisserie assorted macarons

DD0_8342

DD0_8343

Old Homestead Steakhouse grilled new york strip loin; kusshi oysters

DD0_8352

Mr. Chow chicken satay

DD0_8355

Mesa Grill blue corn taco with smoked shrimp, mango habanero hot sauce

DD0_8360

Hakkasan crispy prawn dumpling with plum sauce

DD0_8368

Craftsteak 24 hour braised short ribs, yukon gold potato puree

DD0_8381

Bar Masa bluefin tuna hand roll, kanpachi jalapeno hand roll

DD0_8386

Raku assorted yakitori

DD0_8391

Sweets Raku assorted japanese roll cakes

DD0_8394

Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers “cronut” kobe sliders

DD0_8439

Drinks were just as plentiful as food with wineries and spirits dominating the liquids. There were a number of handcrafted cocktail and beer setups, however.

DD0_8302

DD0_8395

DD0_8416

japanese cucumber melon punch

DD0_8410

DD0_8424

As expected, there were a lot of good bites. However, a few did manage to stand out. Joel Robuchon basically put out a really nice three course meal with the salmon tartare with caviar and crispy potato cone, followed by a luscious beef cheek with his signature mashed potatoes, and a cool, well-balanced, lemon mousseline with sweet strawberries and a bright basil gelee. New steakhouse Echo & Rig served up a few different items including slices of lamb porterhouse. They were exceedingly juicy, tender and with a nice char. Off-strip favorite Raku was another favorite – the outside skirt steak skewers were juicy and delicious, while newcomer Sweets Raku had moist and fluffy Japanese roll cakes. Payard’s macarons were another highlight – the coffee macaron was great and the black truffle ones a treat; Michael Mina’s Pub 1842 served up foie gras macarons that were equally as decadent.

As the Grand Tasting has grown in popularity, it seems like it has outgrown its Garden of the Gods venue especially where some of the most high-trafficked booths are. I noticed swarms around Giada De Laurentiis and Gordon Ramsay with people itching to say a word and have a picture taken with their favorite chef (smaller but noticeable crowds were found around Mina, Vongerichten, Hubert Keller, Robuchon, Savoy and others). It’s definitely far from a dealbreaker though, and lines for food/drink items were generally pretty short (so important…and something I don’t often see at large events such as this one). Guaranteed to be one of the memorable dining evenings of my year and I’m already anticipating next year’s.

Note: Two of the nine tickets in our party were hosted.


Comments

Vegas Uncork’d 2014: Grand Tasting (Las Vegas, NV) — 2 Comments

Leave a Reply!