Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chart House, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas - Royal Flusher Restaurant Review

The Chart House is a seafood and steak restaurant plunked off the chic Rush Tower lobby at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas. It's relaxed, modern dining room is a little oasis from frenetic Fremont Street. There are many iterations of Chart House restaurants in the Landry's chain, but you don't get the sense that this is a formula place or a franchise.

We've eaten a number of times at the Chart House, and looked forward to returning.

I'd made a reservation (which really wasn't need considering the early hour we'd chosen to dine, around sixish) and when the appointed time (sixish) came, I threw on a sportcoat and we headed down for a nice relaxed dinner, taking a well-deserved break from our fairly degenerate gambling activities.

Chart House is a fairly affordable fine dining experience. It features a very large - I mean very large (i.e. big-ass) aquarium in its center, which serves as the focal point for the restaurant, which encircles it.
I'm guessing this is a seafood place, right?
I'm not sure what the fish swimming in there think about their brethren which show up regularly in their fishy Davy Jones lockers (aka patrons dinner plates) but then again, I'm not sure fish think much of anything except 'go here, look for food, go there, look for food, go here - PREDATOR! SWIM AWAY - go there, look for food'.

We were seated promptly and greeted warmly. When asked, the waiter gladly recommended a glass of red wine, since I had not the knowledge or patience to peruse the wine list and make a reasonable choice. I gave him some idea of the parameters of what would serve my palate best.

"Look, here's how I buy wine at home. I have kind of a checklist. First, is it red. Second, does it have alcohol. Third, is it cheap. And third, does it come with Air Miles."

"Sir, you said third twice."

"It's no wonder, considering how much cheap plonk I drink. Take it from there and treat me right."

The waiter rose to the challenge and did indeed find a reasonable glass red for me which I enjoyed very much (even though it was sans Air Miles.)

The Quad Queen started with a salad. She found it fresh and delightful, definitely a cut above Magnolia's version of the Cobb salad.

This salad is a thoroughbred. Nestled upon a bed of chopped greens are racing strips of different salad fixin's that make for a nice presentation, and affords the choice of eating things sequentially, or mixing them up and eating them in random order, a choice that is usually not afforded one in a salad. This, then, is true Chart House salad luxury!
Luxury Racing Salad
On a previous visit, I'd enjoyed the Menage a Soups - a trio of soups, which included a cold gazpacho, which I couldn't get enough of. I decided to remedy that by ordering a full snort of gazpacho.
Delicious gazpacho!
Unfortunately, what would have been a lovely soup presentation was marred by a sloppy spill of soup down the side of the - gazpacho glass? - onto the plate, and onto my spoon. This went unnoticed by the staff and I punished them appropriately by complaining loudly and often that the gazpacho was cold.
The soup itself was excellent. It was tart, pleasingly acidic and light in spice. Overall it had a good balance of acidity and spice, and that flavorful base that can be difficult to taste in cold food. But there were large chunks of tomato in there, that I thought should not be in there - I would have liked it more finely blended as long as it didn't end up a blend!

The neighbors ordered the shrimp cocktail, which had that cool dry ice smoke thing going on.

We decided to split the deep fried Mac 'n Cheese.

It's a mistake to order this for yourself along with an entree - because you'll eat all the Mac 'n Cheese and be full. It's hot and cheesy (well duh), with a pleasing crunchy outer coating... very hard to resist and super-delightful comfort food in a cube-like geometric format. 


The Chart House deep friend Mac 'n Cheese is smoky, bacon, cheesy heaven.

My entree was port wine glazed Chilean sea bass with cranberry relish. I'd never tasted sea bass before, not being a big fish guy, but I do enjoy fresh seafood, particularly if it doesn't have 'that fishy taste'. I figured if I ordered a $40 sea bass entree it would be good.

The fish was served atop a gorgonzola risotto. It looked gorgeous.

Port wine glazed Chilean Sea Bass with cranberry port wine relish and gorgonzola risotto.
The sea bass was cooked perfectly - flaky, moist and tender.  It had a slight bit of that fishy taste that isn't too my liking. I wonder if I am a supertaster for fishy taste. The cranberry relish complimented the fish perfectly but the sweetness was at odds with the risotto.

Mrs. Flusher ordered a lobster tail served without sauce or anything, just broiled and paired with vegetables. It was slightly overdone, which is easy to do with a lobster tail on the grill. But coming from honest Nova Scotian and Newfoundland roots, the woman knows an overdone lobster tail when she eats one and this one was over, unfortunately.
Lobster Tail
I tasted the accompanying vegetables and was pleased to find that they were perfect - still with some crunch, but no hint of rawness, and more importantly, not cooked to mushy crap as so often happens.

The bill was $158 roughly, before tip.

We had to combine putting $100 on one credit card, splitting the bill so two Landry's club $25 bonuses could be used together, and then putting the remaining $8 on the room.

Unfortunately for our waiter, we didn't really explain this very well on the first, second, third, or third instances - but he was a trooper, and kept disappearing into the waiter's calculating room time after time without any complaint, without any eyerolling, without any hint whatsoever that it was a pain in the ass, which it most assuredly was.

No, he kept at it with a great attitude until it was the way we wanted it, and I greatly appreciated this. This made up for the gazpacho spill and then some.

Well done, server Brett!

Chart House
Golden Nugget, Las Vegas, Nevada

Royal Flusher Restaurant Royal Rating - 3-and-a-half-to-a-Royal
On previous visits to Chart House, we've enjoyed other offerings.

Top it up Jack, we’re savvy gamblers and we’re thirsty!

The Trip Report That Wasn't - Part VI

Breakfast of Quad Champions
Menage a Soup Trois
Salmon, shrimp, crab cake and Jolly Roger asparagus.

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