Thursday, August 13, 2009


On a recent family trip to Vegas, we went to "Switch" at the Wynn Encore. It sounded like a cool restaurant given that the surroundings change periodically through the night, hence the name "Switch." Additionally, we have heard good things about the food so wanted to give it a shot.

Immediately upon entering, the restaurant began to change. The paintings on the walls began to flip, the glass windows went down into the floor and another type of wall arose to take its place. The colors in the room also changed.

While the concept was pretty cool, the execution fell short. The restaurant increases the volume of the music in an effort to garner the guests attention. This grand show in actuality came across a bit cheesy (we went through about 6 switches throughout the meal). Aside from the place being a bit gimmicky, the actual ambiance is nice. It has a NY feel with a large open dining room similar to what you would see at Cut or STK.

In general, the apps were fantastic. There were six of us dining so we had a chance to really get a feel for the full menu. We started off with the warm goat cheese tomato tart (see attached pic). It came out looking like a mini pizza but instead filled with goat cheese, basil, garlic and scallions - perfectly executed. It was definitely one of the best appetizers. We split the black truffle risotto with mushrooms (a special that night) which was delicious (see attached pic). It needed a touch of salt but came with a generous portion of truffles that went really well with the creamy buttery risotto. The lobster salad with artichoke, asparagus, avocado and truffle vinaigrette was light and refreshing. It was served slightly chilled and went really well with the acidity in the dish (the crisp Sancerre wine we had went perfectly with it). The only disappointment of the apps was the Kobe Beef Carpaccio with arugula-endive salad, crisp parmesan and salsa verde (see attached pic). You usually can't go wrong with this type of dish, but was a bit fatty for our liking. That said, this is clearly inherent in Kobe style beef.

Not sure about you guys, but in general we tend to get very excited following great appetizers only to find disappointment in the main courses. This is where Switch delivered, as all the main dishes seemed to beat expectations. We had the pan-roasted Branzino with morel mushrooms and artichokes in a beurre blanc sauce. This was one of the best Branzino's we've ever had. It had so much flavor but still remained a very light dish, despite the beurre blanc sauce. We also had the Grilled Diver Sea Scallops in a pea ver-jus on top of an eggplant ratatouille. Bravo!! My husband had the bone-in NY strip, which came out perfectly with a nice rich Bearnaise sauce on the side. While this steak can go up against the best out there, it was overshadowed by some of the other dishes.
We chose a few sides to go along with the entrees. We went with the Truffle Creamed Spinach, the Vermont Aged Cheddar Mac and Cheese and the Sweet Potato Fries. The creamed spinach, though incredibly rich, was phenomenal. We've had plenty of truffle based dishes but never with spinach. The richness of the cream in the spinach really went well with the truffle flavor. The mac and cheese was solid as well but have had better. As for the sweet potato fries, we cannot say we had any complaints as they were perfectly crispy, but they just didn't seem to fit with the tone of the cuisine.

The wine selection is quite impressive but priced for high rollers in Vegas. We went with a Spanish wine called Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses, Priorat 2006...solid fruit forward wine with hints of chocolate and black cherry. They also have a fun cocktail menu - their lychee martini was terrific!

Rating: 93 (would be higher but docked points due to the gimmickry)

Encore Hotel
3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

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