“When 1940s Hollywood meets Present Day Las Vegas”
Last night was the official Launch of “Project Vegas”. The first culinary stop was The Barrymore located inside of the Royal House Las Vegas. I was invited by my beloved friend, Jesse Estrada to dine at The Barrymore with Restauranteur and owner of Authentic Entertainment Properties, which runs The Royal House, Adam Mizzi, and Royal House PR & Marketing Director, Kamela Brewer, and DJ Matt Lindsey. When we parked, I have to admit that the “House” looked more like a rundown, neglected, seedy, Las Vegas Hotel with aged paint, unappealing color, with the EXCEPTION of the Restaurant signage which eluded to an ambiance both intrinsically cool and that of a little mystery.
Seated in the back dining room, the ceilings are adorned with film reels and already, I’m in heaven. (Now get ready, this is a mouthful) – This old Hollywood feel with tufted cushion slate blue-gray booths, tables a perfectly rustic polished wood, four-tops in the center (none of which are too close together which is a BREATHTAKING change), everything from the impressive film noir ink-blot pieces of art to the focal point wine “cellar” with handles fashioned with “bullets” as part of their design, straight down to the menu that honestly has my mouth watering, I get the BONUS of dining with one of the owners! THAT is a privilege I can assure you. Adam is a rather business savvy creative with an eye for style and a desire to bring back the classy and bold days of old Las Vegas. Before I go onto the Fare itself, the most impressive fact about The Barrymore is its inception. Completely gutted a mere 9 months before, this restaurant is Designed by James Gundy of 1027 Design Management under the direction of Owner, Billy Richardson, opening it’s doors for a “Soft Open” on Labor Day Weekend. That means they created a restaurant that rivals most any in 6 months! That is not only impressive but bold and ambitious! The beauty is they have pulled it off. The Barrymore is worth a stop. Now onto their cuisine.
Crafted by renowned Chef Anthony Meidenbauer and Billy Richardson, both of Holstein’s fame, The Barrymore menu is nothing short of fun. Choosing items we wanted to taste and a few Adam selects, we take our taste buds on a journey:
Lobster “Deviled Eggs” – american caviar,herb salad / $9
A simple Deviled Egg – interesting textures with the caviar mixed with the subtlety of lobster and the arugula herb salad is a complex enough range to make this a pretty good starter
Grilled Octopus – saffron rouille, celery leaf salad / $13
The grilled octopus looks beautiful and while tasty, this one was a bit too chewy for me on this particular night
Roasted Artichoke – salsa verde, parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil / $9.5
A very authentic way to have artichoke! That I appreciate.
Pan Seared Foie Gras – vanilla bean french toast, fig & cherry chutney / $18.5
This is the dish I use to determine if a Chef has set themselves apart. How a Chef prepares a Foie says everything about their ability to create. Foie tells me the scope of vision a Chef has. THIS foie was so good in theory and it was tasty but it was a tad over-seared. However, the Vanilla Bean French Toast is a nice touch to a piece of meat so incredibly particular of it’s accompaniments. The fig & cherry chutney was well made and very flavorful.
Chicken Matzo Ball / $7
Well this is a PLEASANT SURPRISE! Honestly it’s one of the best Matzo Ball soups I’ve ever had. The flavor in the soup is so comforting and perfectly balanced. I love the mini Matzo in the soup itself and the perfectly moist chunks of chicken. This is something you’ve got to try. It’s a happy remedy.
*Seared Ahi – creamy polenta & porcini ragout with braised greens & pinot noir reduction / $24.5
Before I ordered, I requested our Server ask Chef to put a little fire on it (i.e., put some spice on it and turn up the heat in terms of chile). Without fail, Chef delivered. This Ahi was well cooked, the undertone of chile and spice was precisely done and was in no way overpowering the beauty of the fish itself. The polenta was so well pureed and softened coupled with the porcini ragout which infused the polenta with just the right acidity – it complimented the grainy texture of the Ahi with ease. The only amendment I would have liked to have seen with this dish was perhaps the topped greens. Its texture took away from the polished bites of the Ahi just a little. Softened or cooked to “crisp” would have given it the better finish.
Short Rib – carrot mousseline, red pearl onion, bacon marmalade, natural jus / $28
This dish was really well presented. The carrot mousseline was wonderfully bitter, bacon marmalade savory, the natural jus a lovely marriage of flavor but the Short Rib – oh how we wanted it to be divine. It was good but a bit overcooked. Short Rib is one of those dishes that has to fall off the fork. I would gladly order it again though because it’s worth a second taste on the basis of it’s family of flavors.
*Bone-in Cowboy Ribeye 32oz / $65
While we joked that this was the entire cow on a plate, this cut of beef was truly delicious. It was MASSIVE! While cut, the flavor and marbling closest to the bone was scrumptious. My only suggestion is to serve it in a way that it looks more appetizing on a plate. Perhaps on a bed of something – as it is such a juicy cut of beef, I’m a diner that is sold not merely on taste but presentation as well.
Asparagus / $7
These were utterly fantastic pieces of asparagus! Simple, no frills, just wonderful, tasty, and well prepared.
DESSERT / $8.5
Moulton Chocolate Cake with vanilla bean gelato, cocoa nib nougettine with chocolate crumb
Ok, you know when you order something you think is safe because it’s good? This was BETTER! The chocolate cake was not the typical cake. It was a bit crispy on the outside and it was so perfectly succulent and rich, it was indeed a foodgasm. Yes, you heard me. Honestly, if you only order one dessert, this is the one.
Crème Brûlée with saffron pears and caramelized crisp
This crème brûlée is my old standy. It’s reminiscent of European Desserteries. Now introduce saffron pears and well, you’ve just enticed my palate. My little secret is I’m a huge fan of dishes infused with saffron: a spice that is so delicate, it can change the entire composition of every dominant flavor. This was done seamlessly.
*Chef, you could add saffron to the crème brûlée as a bold new version.
Ricotta Cheese Cake with graham powder, clementine & thyme chantilly
Creamy, homey, a happily crafted dessert.
Qupé Syrah 09′ Central Coast, CA / BTL $35 BTG $10
Described by 9 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2009 Syrah Central Coast is a fresh, vibrant wine. An expressive bouquet melds into layers of dark red fruit. The feminine, delicate side of Syrah comes through in this understated, poised wine. This is a striking wine considering it accounts for approximately half of the estate’s total production in 2009. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.”
Van Duzer “Cuvée” 08′ Willamette, Valley, OR / BTL $38 BTG $10
Described by the Vineyard as, “A lively blend of seven Pinot Noir grape clones shows itself in all-out fresh fruit aromas of raspberry, blackberry and cherry. To the taste, a berry patch of flavors introduces spice cabinet notes of cinnamon, clove and cardamom, all in agreeable balance, moderate tannins and a finish capped by a touch of ginger.”
Au Bon Climat 09′ Santa Barbara County, CA / BTL $44 BTG $12
Described by the Winery, “This wine is just easy to drink. Whether with fresh grilled salmon or left-over roast chicken or just in a glass by itself, the pretty plum and spring strawberry flavors of ABC SB Pinot are simply delicious. There is nothing pretentious here, just well balanced, nicely textured, brightly fruity wine that seems to go with everything.”
Overall, this is a truly beautiful concept. While still its infancy, I’m sure there will continue to be adjustments and modifications to the menu and overall restaurant but I am beyond impressed with how well executed The Barrymore is. Both aesthetic in both decor and layout, this is a restaurant that I am eager to keep an eye on.
I want to thank Adam for a truly exceptional dining experience in all ways: decor, ambiance, company, AND fare. It is not often that I get to experience something so unexpected. I will not only come back but look forward to seeing the progress as he adds an outdoor dining area in the Royal’s pool area; An outside patio and bar that will serve Cocktails and Starters and will be ready just in time for Summer travelers. The Barrymore is much like the name implies: sophisticated, understated, sexy, and unforgettable.
The Barrymore | 99 Convention Center Dr | Las Vegas, NV 89109 | (702) 407-5303
EXECUTIVE CHEF – ANTHONY MEIDENBAUER
IMAGES PROVIDED by Rouse Photography AND Dawn Garcia