Nobhill Tavern by Michael Mina

This post, like the majority of them, is long overdue. Blame it on a hectic work schedule and family life that leaves little room for anything else. So, while this is old news I’d still like to share. I was fortunate to dine at Nobhill Tavern on its final night of service, Saturday March 30, 2013. Surprisingly, there were quite a few empty tables for the closing of this iconic Las Vegas restaurant, which Michael Mina opened 12 years ago.

The menu this night was the same as when it opened. It was a one pager of the dishes that put this place on the culinary map and it was interesting to see how these dishes held up to today’s standards of contemporary cuisine. The verdict? The food was a touch dated, but the execution and flavors were still on par with some of the more upscale restaurants in town.

No dinner at Nobhill would be complete without imbibing their celebrated cocktail — the cable car. Consisting of rum, orange curacao, fresh sweet and sour and simple syrup, it was every bit as good as expected with the bruléed rim of sugar and cinnamon one of the highlights.

Wanting to sample as many dishes as possible, our party of four dined family-style, starting with four appetizers. The elegance and refinement of Mina’s work was on display with a garlic soup poured tableside on top of a spinach and egg ravioli. The freshness of ingredients was evident in the savory peppered beef carpaccio and any fan of duck would appreciate the duck ravioli. It was surprising to see the duck on the side next to the cheese stuffed pasta instead of inside it, but that thought was quickly replaced by the thought of ordering more after the first bite.

No trip to Nobhill would be complete without the lobster pot pie. The presentation of the dish whetted our appetites, as it was brought out and plated in front of us. The sides and top of the pot were covered in pastry crust, with the server delicately cutting off the top, placing it on a plate then scooping out the lobster and vegetables. The brandy cream sauce might be too rich for some, but accompanied with the crust, vegetables and lobster, it makes for a perfect bite. This one dish was plenty for our party to share.

It’s sad to see this restaurant go, but good to know that the star of the show — the lobster pot pie — is available at other Mina restaurants around the country and, of course, his establishment at the Bellagio. While it was a very good meal it was clear that Nobhill’s food was a notch below that of other contemporary American restaurants (most notably Sage, which is tops in American cuisine in my book in this town).

4.5 Stars

MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

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