Staying at Vdara and 2 eggs and orange juice at their fast food place costs the same as a buffet, so I went to Bellagio yesterday and Aria today.
Aria? I walked in- no line - at 8:30 (first bad sign), it resembles an ugly cafeteria (honestly, with the $$ they spent on that hotel, for the buffet to look that bad!), food was meh. No fresh egg station (the scrambled eggs were powdered, with no option of getting a fresh egg), no salmon/scallops, the french toast was thin and dry, an overall odd assortment of foods at breakfast (Portuguese sausage? Ham? Pot stickers? Chinese chicken salad? Processed cheese ?) I don't eat breads or desserts so can't speak of them - but I suppose good for bagel lovers, I saw 5 or 6 types of flavored cream cheese. The muesli was probably the best thing on the buffet, but it was heavily sugared and there were no bowls to put it in (very soupy). When I asked about bowls they pointed across the buffet to a couple sitting by the grits. Hmmm. Overall, I didn't have one thing that I wanted to taste again, wouldn't go back, and can't understand how it can cost more than Bellagio's buffet.
After reading and re-reading boards, we decided to eat at Jaleo tonight. Overall, we had some hits and some misses, but would gladly go back again.
We started with the La Serena con membrillo - a pastry cone filled with La Serena cheese and quince paste. Crunchy sweet pastry cone, jellied sweet quince, and creamy La Serena cheese which looks like a teensy tiny ice cream cone. About 2 bites but they were fantastic and set the bar a bit high for the next couple of courses. Especially liked the contrasting tastes and textures. I'd eat about 5 of these again in a heartbeat.
For appetizers - we ordered the White Asparagus with lemon, thyme and Idiazabal cheese. The white asparagus were blanched, crunchy, chilled, and served with microplaned cheese in a lemon sauce. It was bland - I would have liked maybe a hit of anchovy or olives in it. Wouldn't order or recommend.
App #2 was the chicken croquetas. For fried food (which I rarely eat) it was very good, but I thought this was bland as well. Nice textures but really not interesting. Dinner was looking grim at that point.
Salad #1 - the Warm Brussels sprouts salad with apricots, apple, and Serrano ham (there were also grapes in this). We love brussels sprouts, and indeed all of the individual ingredients, but it too was subtle to the point of ho hum (perhaps the La Serena pastry at the beginning was so good and flavorful that everything was paling by comparison?) Wouldn't order this again.
Salad #2 - the Sliced Apple and fennel salad with Manchego cheese, walnuts, and sherry dressing. While not a huge fan of fennel - I thought that this salad was saved by the incredibly fresh, toasted walnuts, the lovely Manchego (nicely aged, good flavor), and the sherry viniagrette. The acidity of the viniagrette mixed with creamy cheese super fresh, crunchy walnuts was quite good. Not fabulous, mind you, but worth eating.
Entree #1 - Seared Scallops with romesco sauce - my husband and I both wanted to order this entree, but we only ordered one serving so that we could try other things. When we go back, I'll order the La Serena, and then move directly to this seared scallop. The very best scallop I have ever had, an intense sear/crust (not the best romesco sauce I've ever had - once again, a bit watery and bland) but the dish was just fantastic taken as a whole. I'd order this again. And again.
Entree #2 - Grilled Skirt Steak with Piquillo Peppers - I had read on another report of Jaleo that someone liked this entree. It was fantastic. A small piece of skirt steak sitting on top of a piquillo pepper (which is a little bit sweet and was a great offset for the steak which was grilled perfectly medium rare). We both loved this dish. The waiter came up to us and apologized for not getting our entrees out and in reality, we ate them so fast he didn't see that we got them. Great entrees.
Dessert - my husband grew up in Mexico and we both love flan. We ordered 2 servings of flan. It really isn't flan - more like a creme caramel (or the bottom of a creme brulee without the brulee), but it was served with the most fantastic small scoop of lemon sorbet. I'm not a fan of lemon gelato/sorbet however this was fantastic. The accompanying whipped cream was served with what we think was orange peel shreds that appeared to be deep fried. Both servings disappeared. The people sitting next to us (tables are close, make friends, OK??) ate flan at the same time we did and everyone wondered if it was OK to lick the plate. Yup, that good. Nope, no one licked the plate.
We did not order the paella as it was vegetarian and we had two salads and an asparagus dish and wanted some protein for dinner. However, when we left they had a shrimp paella going, so apparently they make and sell one, then when it is gone, make something else. In the future I would ask again to see if they had a different one. I did want to try the paella.
Previous comments that we would agree with:
The server said people normally ate 2-3 plates. We only ate part of the salad, but ate 4 plates and are nicely full. For 2 people, we ate 8 plates (+ 2 cheese cones), 2 beers, and a soda for $165 (including tip). I think fair value for the quality of food.
?? LOS tomorrow or maybe somewhere else. I'll probably make and break 2 or 3 reservations before something strikes me as being the right food.
Many, many places to eat in Park City. For local mexican, try El Chubasco, Blue Iguana, Cafe Rio. Pub food try Red Rock Brewery. American/steaks try Grub Steak. Sushi try Sushi Maru. Splurge go to Chez Betty.
Chez Betty Restaurant
Grub Steak Restaurant
Yes, of course I mean Enoteca Corsi. Too much limoncello.
Yes, it was murder on my shirt - in addition to being a savant on Italian cooking, you have ESP!. I didn't explain the complex very well. There was no red pepper, no spiciness. When I've had this dish at a good restaurant in the states, it has the juicy clams, clam sauce, olive oil, white wine (with or without butter), but then it always has a bit of a kick from the dried red pepper. (In US tho, it is usually made from fresh pasta, I can forgive that and enjoy it with dried). This was very bland, oily, greasy, and garlicky. Just not my thing.
It seems to vary, possibly by somewhat complex economic equations. Have I ever seen a coupon for Adolphs or Chez Betty, no. But the Grappa, Chimayo, etc group, in years past, have been fairly heavy discounters.
We are spending 10 days near the Pza del Clodio. Love the apartment and the neighborhood. This is our second trip to Rome (the first for 2 weeks 2 years ago). Our culinary experiences in Rome have been somewhat mediocre (but then we live in a serious travel destination and understand that there are a few great restaurants in our town, surrounded by the rest that the tourists eat at.) My apartment here has internet access so I have been furiously querying the boards to find places to eat - so thanks to you all so far.
1. Enoteca Cortina (on Via del Gesu) - had lunch there with a to die for veal stew along with a nice tiramisu. I asked the American couple at the table next to ours (who were eating the two pasta dishes on the menu their recommendations - one was a timbale and the other a pomodoro - they said the pomodoro which was not fabulous. After they left, a table full of Italians came in and ordered the timbale. Good value, good food. (primi around 7 euro, secondi around 10 euro) only open at lunch?
2. Bibi e Romeo (on Via della Giuliana) the main draw is that this is one door away from our apartment. My husband had the filetto with balsamic vinegar reduction and it was the best he's ever had. I had pasta con vongole. (I dunno, but somehow I expected better than dried packaged spaghetti with clams, garlic, and butter, not complex, very greasy). Probably won't return....(around $90 US for one beer, one water, one salad, one primi, and one secondi).
3. Dino e Toni (on Leone IV) - admittedly not fabulous food, but a terribly fun experience. Roughly half of customers are north american, and the other half are Italians. Tony cooks and Dino brings food out. You eat what he tells you to. There was an amazing display of antipasti ranging from very very good (pizza with blue cheese and fried bites with what appeared to be a honey-cream mixture in them) to very, very sad (pizza with a glob of cold cooked spinach on it), entries - a good all'amatriciana, take a pass on the pasta with raddichio, and we got 4 or 5 desserts for the 2 of us - the granita was nice, crem caramel OK. A very good time was had by the audience. This kind of reminded me of destination eating experiences with a dinner theater. (58 E for 2 including 3 large beers and a gazillion plates).
More options to come, appreciate everyone's opinion, we live in Park City, UT, so I'll try and help people out on that board.