Don’t let the name CRUSH eat, drink, love fool you into thinking the latest restaurant from Executive Chef Billy DeMarco is a hidden, intimate spot for couples, when it is actually a great fit for everyone that visits Las Vegas. A gorgeous restaurant as detailed and well thought out as any in Las Vegas and a menu to match, CRUSH takes its rightful place among the amazing list of restaurants at MGM Grand.
Taking over the location that was previously home to Michael Mina’s Nobhill Tavern, only the address is the same as CRUSH built a complete new identity from the ground up. CRUSH opens up by giving you a looking glass into the world of the MGM Grand with the open entrance that has a great large table bar side and a plush couch on the other. For people watching and enjoying Las Vegas with a group of friends, these spots can’t be beat. You can see the masses exit the theater, gamblers making their way through the casino, and, of course, pool revelers coming and going throughout the day.
As you begin walking through the restaurant, you get the feeling you are strolling down the street in some far-off romantic city. Then as you make your way to the second bar in the back of the restaurant, you are taken into a more vibrant and modern feel with 15 televisions that create an assortment of scenes from the ground to the ceiling. Finally, there is a private enclosed dining room that has a great view of the kitchen and dual televisions or computer screens, highlighted by the stunning mushroom wood that makes up the ceiling.
Looks and atmosphere aren’t everything, but they certainly don’t hurt, however at the end of your meal it always comes back to how memorable the menu was. Chef DeMarco made sure the menu was just as impressive as the rest of the restaurant. If you are looking for that ultimate, decadent dish that says Las Vegas, the Sea Scallop Benny takes care of all of that. You start off with fresh, pan seared and perfectly tender scallops and then Chef DeMarco adds layer upon layer of flavor. You are going to enjoy your scallops with a rich sunny-side quail egg, a lightly spicy chipotle hollandaise sauce and then the kicker: chorizo. This is definitely an extremely rich dish; I enjoyed the saltiness, but I could see if you have an aversion for salt you might find it on the high end. Eating this dish is a memorable experience where you will enjoy each bite as the flavors of every ingredient meld together. You will be telling your friends back home about this dish.
The flavor combinations at CRUSH continue with the octopus ceviche, which by itself would make for a fabulous appetizer, but the insightful addition of grapefruit and pickled jalapenos really elevates this dish. The citrus cuts the spice of the jalapenos nicely and makes for a well balanced dish. Heading to the main course it was great to see CRUSH take on gnocchi and pull it off. The ricotta gnocchi came out light and fluffy, and the pairing with the braised short rib makes this one flavorful dish. And, despite having my doubts, the pea puree worked very nicely to round things out. If you are looking for more standard dishes, CRUSH has a fabulous grilled salmon that is greatly enhanced by a carrot miso broth. Or you could go with the sliced sirloin steak or the lamb sirloin and leave knowing you were served a flawless cut of meat. Finally you can’t go wrong with the wood fired pizza, which comes out with that great crispy crust and creative flavors such as date and artichoke that will change the way you view pizza.
There are really only two ways to complete your evening. You can’t go wrong with the first option: the crème brulee threesome, which consists of vanilla, pistachio and coffee versions of this fabulous dessert. When I say two, that means I’m giving you an option, but with the Nutella Squeeze on the menu, that should be the only real option. Really the perfect dessert, taking you back to something sweet and full of flavor you will feel like a child again the way you are enjoying what is an ice cream sandwich wowed by the pairing of Nutella cream and caramelized hazelnut. Both flavors are so tasty they will be fighting for your attention.
Even if you don’t plan on dining at CRUSH, take time to stop in and enjoy the stunning bars and great wine list and cocktail menu. The blood orange is always enticing, and it was great to see the Enamorado on the cocktail menu using a blood orange puree. This cocktail combines Casamigos, sweet and sour and is highlighted by the rich flavor of the blood orange puree while providing a very subtle sweet flavor. The other cocktail definitely worth mentioning, especially as Las Vegas heats up, is the Punch, Drunk, Love. You get refreshing fresh juices from watermelon and lemon to go with mint infused Hendricks Gin and Lillet Rose – this drink would be perfect poolside.
MGM Grand is certainly becoming home to a plethora of world-class chefs and restaurants that will stun your taste buds, and CRUSH and Executive Chef Billy DeMarco have certainly staked their claim to be right at the top of the list when it comes to dining choices at MGM.
For more information visit CRUSH