What was once a beautiful, rustic space with American Fish has been transformed into a lavish and elegant interior every bit equal to the $5 million they spent to renovate. They made this new Michael Mina spot more inviting and approachable by moving the bar to the front of the restaurant and added a small patio area. The impressive kitchen remains unchanged. Large windows encasing it allows diners a great view into the heart of the restaurant.
Many of the appetizers we sampled were stellar, particularly the pate de campagne ($13), foie gras parfait ($15), and blue crab crepe ($16). The port gelée topping the parfait was just sweet enough to balance the savoriness of the creamy foie. Less successful dishes included the escargots Bardot ($17), which I found to be too salty and garlic-heavy, and a decent tarte flambée ($14) that just couldn’t stand out among so many stellar dishes.
If you dine there for brunch, the Hunter’s waffle ($19) and croque madame ($18) are both solid dishes, but French toast ($12) is a must. Despite it’s impressive size, the thick cut brioche was surprisingly light and airy, even with the interior retaining much of the custard it was soaked in.
Of the savory dishes we tried the Heritage chicken roti ($29) was a standout with it’s crispy skin and well seasoned meat. The Parisian gnocchi ($23) was beautifully presented with it’s mix of pillowy soft pasta, mushrooms, and goat cheese.
Despite splitting the dishes with four other people most of us were stuffed. That didn’t stop us from getting dessert. The mille feuille ($12) and apple tarte tatin ($12) were both excellent, but the chocolate macaron ($12) was my favorite. The crispy macaron shell, smooth chocolate cream in the center, sprinkling of salt and warm chocolate sauce poured table-side make it a chocoholic’s dream come true.
Michael Mina restaurants can be hit or miss, but he’s got a winner with this one. His team has taken a rather ho-hum brasserie concept and given it new life. With a mix of traditional and new dishes, it has the potential to attract many to French cuisine for the first time or a return visit.
Aria Hotel and Casino
3730 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109