Nov 2011

American Fish by Michael Mina – Las Vegas (Aria Resort & Casino)

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

After polishing off our tomahawk chops at Jean Georges Steakhouse, we walked across the corridor to American Fish by Michael Mina. With ceiling  lights emitting a serene oceanic glow over every table, glass, and chair, the setting could not have been any more perfect for a restaurant celebrating the bounty of America’s waterways.

The best part of the dining room was the huge window peering into the kitchen. Every seat in the house offered a perfect view of meals being made from start to finish. Dinner and a show—how very Las Vegas.

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

American Fish is one of sixteen restaurants owned by San Francisco-based chef and restauranteur Michael Mina. On our tour of American Fish, Chef Mina demonstrated the restaurant’s four signature cooking methods: salt-baking, wood-grilling, cast iron-griddling, and ocean water-poaching.

“I wanted to pay homage to rustic cooking methods from across the country—lobster boils, clambakes and campfire cookouts—but apply them with modern finesse for a truly refined dining experience,” said Chef Mina in an interview with Vegas magazine.

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

The first technique that he demonstrated was ocean water-poaching. The filet of halibut was packed tightly with water from the Pacific Ocean, kelp, and a pat of butter prior to being dunked in a sous vide bath that the chef designed.

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

The best part of the demonstration was tasting the finished product. The ocean water-poached halibut was served with snap peas and mushrooms in a miso sake broth.

Cooked fish usually bores me with its blandness, but this method yielded a surprisingly flavorful filet. The butter, kelp, and ocean water not only jazzed up the plain Jane fish, but also kept it moist and tender. Bravo!

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

The second method yielded the tastiest bite of the afternoon. Chef Mina prepared cornmeal crusted rainbow trout in a cast iron skillet.

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

Basted in brown butter and fresh thyme, the trout had the crispiest, most aromatic skin. Fish can be so delish when herbs and butter permeate every pore. The trout was served atop a bed of Israeli couscous with saffron aioli and a Toy Box red pepper.

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

Taking a brief break from seafood, Chef Mina demonstrated the restaurant’s signature steak preparation. To ensure that the meat is unquestionably juicy and tender, the steak is poached in clarified butter with aromatics before being seared on the grill.

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

With visions of Jean Georges’ magnificent steaks still dancing in my head, I had high expectations for Chef Mina’s Kobe ribcap. Served with cauliflower florets, the steak was roaring red in the center with a fine char all around. The texture was as moist and buttery as Chef had promised. Way to follow up Jean Georges, Chef Mina!

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

The final technique that Chef Mina demonstrated was salt-baked Branzino and blue prawns.

American Fish by Michael Mina - Las Vegas

The fish and prawns were served with an arugula puree and heirloom tomatoes. Of the four techniques and dishes that we experienced this morning, this one was the weakest by far. Both proteins were overcooked and tasted surprisingly bland. Three out of four ain’t bad!

From American Fish, we traveled downstairs to “A New American Lunch” hosted by Chef Shawn McClain and Top Chef season 4 winner Chef Stephanie Izard. You better believe I still had room for a six course meal!

American Fish
3730 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: 877-230-2742

There’s more to eat in Las Vegas…


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