If Honey Salt is supposed to give people a glimpse into the culinary home lives of owners Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla (as mentioned in an article in Las Vegas Citylife) then I’m hoping they’ll adopt me so I can experience that culinary excellence on a daily basis.

As many people know, Elizabeth Blau is the founder and CEO of a restaurant development firm that has shaped the culinary scene in Vegas and around the country. Her husband, Kim Canteenwalla was an executive chef on the Strip, most notably (and recently) at Society Cafe at the Wynn. He has since turned his focus to Honey Salt.

Located in Summerlin, in the spot that was last occupied by Nora’s, it’s a comfortably chic and eclectic atmosphere that is somewhat upscale and completely approachable. It has that “I just threw stuff together to furnish the room” look, but there’s no doubt that every detail was carefully thought out. And, that goes for the rest of the restaurant brand. Linens, placemats, glasses, their printed materials, online and social components all have a cohesive look, feel, and message. This isn’t Blau or Canteenwalla’s first rodeo and it shows. Almost everything about this place is polished and perfected, especially the food.

The tuna tartar ($15; ginger, cilantro, soy, lime, crunchy quinoa) was strip-quality delicious. The burrata, rosso bruno and teardrop tomatoes salad ($15; figs, basil, blood orange balsamic, extra virgin olive oil) was tasty and fresh, as well. The portion size was plenty big to share.

The wife and I split the filet ($32; potato bacon hash, roasted anaheim salsa, house steak sauce). Much cheaper than a filet on the Strip, it was perfectly cooked and as tender as expected. It was sitting on top of a crispy hash and surrounded by a wonderful sauce. The salsa that accompanied the dish gave it some bold flavors and earthy notes without taking anything away from the beefiness of the steak.

Our kid had the kid’s cheese pizza ($8). The chewy and airy crust was delicious. But, the elongated look typical of flatbreads made him hesitant to dive in. He’s picky and suspicious like that.

Desserts were excellent. The toffee sauce made the bread pudding ($9) a hit. It was so warm and comforting, it was like getting a big bear hug from the inside. I’m a sucker for pumpkin cheesecake ($9; toasted butter pecan crust, salted caramel, spiced pumpkin seeds) and this sweet and creamy version didn’t disappoint. The petite size of the dish was perfect for one person. The kid went with the “Grow-your-own-sundae” ($5). It’s a great interactive dish for little ones with Oreo “dirt” that they get to sprinkle on to their ice cream. Gummie worms and candy rocks are included on the plate to add into the mix. A tiny bottle of chocolate sauce is also a part of the dish. It can get a bit messy, but kids will love it. Mine sure did.

The low point of the meal was the service. It looked like our waiter was working another section of the restaurant and was also given our table (in the section closest to the restrooms). Unfortunately, it felt like we were an afterthought. 15 minutes to get drinks. Almost half an hour for our kid to get a lemonade. Long periods of time between courses. Slow to get additional drinks, the check, to pay for the check, disappearing after getting our food, etc.

Elizabeth Blau did stop by to ask how we were doing and she was great. Obviously, she’s a pro at this and when we mentioned our issues she listened without getting defensive and did what she could to correct the problems — making sure our next round of drinks were promptly delivered, sending the manager over to speak with us, and getting the sundae for my kid (originally we just ordered a scoop of ice cream but she upgraded it). Having an owner that cares about the customer makes me hope that service issues will be corrected in the future. Our visit was the second or third week they were open, after all.

I love that the place is kid-friendly but still cool enough for date nights or adults-only get togethers. Summerlin and the west side definitely needed a spot like this. There’s no doubt we’ll be back, unless the owners decide to take me and my family in (they can adopt a whole family, right?). Then we’ll be eating at home (their home) all the time.

4 Stars

— Update: July 1, 2013 —

This is going to be a super quick update… During my last trip to Honey Salt back in April I had more delicious food. One of their specials that night was a grilled prime rib ($32) with asparagus and potatoes. It wasn’t your typical slab of prime rib. This amazing slice of beef was cooked (or maybe just finished) on a grill as evidenced by its grill marks. Yet it was still tender and juicy and perfectly seasoned, making it one of the best prime ribs I’ve had.

I ended the meal with their triple layer cake. A middle layer of caramel swirled vanilla cake was sandwiched between layers of delicious chocolate fudge and topped with a rich, silky smooth ganache. It’s worth the calories and multiple trips to the gym to work it off. And, even after two-plus months, I’m still craving it.

4.5 Stars

1031 S Rampart Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89145
(702) 445-6100

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