Chinese-Mexican fusion. Sounds crazy, right? More like crazy brilliant.
There is a lot of hype around the restaurants in Vegas, and after our experience the night before at STK, I was not optimistic about the remainder of our dining plans - not as a knock against any particular chef's talent, but just some skepticism about catering to the (usually drunk) masses of Vegas.
But last weekend, one of my longtime food fantasies became a reality - I finally got to eat at one of José Andrés' restaurants. And let me say, China Poblano was everything I hoped for and so much more. The atmosphere is colorful and fun, but not deafening and exhaustive. The service was attentive, knowledgeable, and on-point throughout the meal with recommendations. And the food. Oh my god, the food.
I was a little worried that doing shared small plates with my pescatarian friend was going to dull the experience. But the fact that I was blown away by a meal without getting every chef's favorite culinary crutch - bacon - involved really speaks to Andrés' talent. Also, I know how I like my food. I'm all for recommendations, but it's not often I will let a server take complete control of the meal. But taking a few recommendations for our starters, which started the meal with a bang, we handed over complete control. It turned out to be a great decision - plate after plate, the meal was nothing but perfection.
Our meal included:
Tuna ceviche with amaranth seeds, soy sauce, and pecans.
Guacamole, slathered across fresh warm corn tortillas.
Caramelized Brussels sprouts with arbol salsa and chiltates.
Shrimp mojo, with sweet black garlic and roasted poblano peppers.
Huitlacoche tamale with spicy salsa verde.
Salt and pepper crispy tofu with shallot, elephant garlic, and fresno chile.
The "Lucky 6" dumpling combo, with a shrimp, pork, mushrooms and peanuts dumping, a scallops with pork, bamboo, mushrooms, and peanuts dumpling, and a beef with lime, daikon, and watermelon radish dumpling.
The only item I would take a pass on during a future visit would be the tofu. Not because it wasn't great, but because it's tofu and let's be honest pork > tofu every single time. I would also recommend leaving room for dessert. The mango sticky rice, topped with homemade rice krispies, provided a surprising twist as a pleasant end to a perfect the meal.
Make sure you find time to fit in a meal at China Poblano during your next visit to Vegas. Then you can leave Sin City confident that you made at least one good decision.