In the old era of Vegas (before all of the world celebrity chefs flocked in to this city), Alessandro Stratta was considered as one of the best chefs in fine dining at his Renoir, tucked in the Mirage. Noticed his great talent, Steve Wynn, a genius entrepreneur in hotel business, brought him in and provided grand restaurant named after the chef nickname - Alex
Food (and wine) - 92/100
I opted for the 4-course prix-fixe because they have dishes with my fav. ingredients such as scallop, lobster and lamb – so it was naturally an easy pick. Unfortunately, it’s not as good as I thought – don’t get me wrong, it’s still decent but not wow or really delicious. The poached lobster is nice, but its side dishes are too flavorful and complex (too many things throw together and they do not integrate each other well). The lamb was slightly too dry (but still rather tasty), then there were the lamb’s offal, morels (not too bad, given it’s already May), and pea puree – intensive flavor altogether that I think more suitable for winter season, not end of spring 2009, I know it’s been a while. The cooking is serious and precise, sometimes I think they’re trying too hard – missed some simplicity, just let the main ingredient shines.
The restaurant is quite generous … before that, there were canapé consisting of ahi tuna tartar, red bell pepper bisque, smoked salmon and wild mushrooms as far as I could remember. The amuse is probably my favorite for the whole meal – fluke carpaccio with caviar and fresh cream, refreshing and simple. The bread collection is good; there were black olives, fennel & anise, walnut raisin and grain & honey. The dessert sounds perfect for Spring: roasted pineapple with coconut ice cream. Somehow, the pineapple is very sweet (maybe caramelized, lacked in freshness and some natural sour taste), then come the sweet banana cake, the ice cream is also sweet – not bad, just a bit too much. Instead of ready to unwind at the end, I became full and had some intense flavor in my throat.
This is a low 2 ½* star food for me – despite many positive reviews, Alex is not yet ready to get the third one anytime soon.
Service (and ambiance) - 92/100
The most memorable part (and possibly the best thing) of my meal at Alex is its dining room. Unlike Robuchon mansion, it’s very spacious here. The décor is grand with mahogany woods everywhere. By the window table is romantic and gives overall view of the restaurant, while I enjoyed my sofa seating. The service is professional, but not personalized. Many of the staffs are quite old surprisingly; all dressed in suit, a bit rigid at times – somewhat robotic, but never late to refill your water or whenever you need something.
Again, the overall rating is the same as the food above. By the way, the tasting menu offered more luxurious ingredients such as abalone, giant clam, foie gras etc – sound appetizing, but I doubt how good they’re going to be. Just read the news that Alex is closed … what a pity! I intended to give this place another chance, at the very least I’ve been here once
Pictures - alex '09