Kenneth Watrous is my name. All the opinions here are mine. They also apply only to the places I have tried in Las Vegas.
Last month, we went to Crab Corner. This month, I tried Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand. I liked it so much, I went back for more.
Emeril’s is a smaller place, which gives a more intimate feeling than some of the larger restaurants I’ve mentioned. The patio dining is also an interesting treat at certain times of year when the air outside is just the right temperature and the ambient lights provide the same kind of tone that all of the lights inside are trying to mimic. The décor is colorful and the way the lights dot the walls gives the feeling of being underwater or inside an aquarium kind of thing.
There are also a few different sections which give some variety to the feeling with booths on one side and more open classic dining on the other. This is one of those places that I would take kids to when they are a little older because it has a transition to a classier environment without being stuffy or full of people that will get that look when they see children. I think you know that look, if you have ever taken kids to what other people consider an ‘adults only’ place.
The food is a New Orleans style and has a fairly different menu from lunch to dinner and different offerings in the seated areas as compared to the bar. In the lunch menu I have a passion for the blue crab and remoulade. This is a good light assortment that makes you feel like you are eating healthy while still enjoying what you have. This is eaten together and has more of a blended favor than a lot of things I eat. I like to sample flavors and experiences and usually I work with single entrees and pairings of sides, but this is a solid blended dish that works as a dish more than its components. After the crawfish etouffee starter, you get a full meal of spicy and hot and chilled and savory. It is also pretty simple to go with this pairing because you don’t have to think too much about adding each item, which makes it a possible stop on a timed lunch stop. If you have a busy day, not exactly a place to hit in the middle of the work day.
On a dinner pass I like to pick up the Texas redfish. This is a more southwest flavor with some New Orleans touches. The dish comes out hot and has a variety of spicy and creamy that go back and forth over a solid fish. This is one of those dishes that really shows what seafood is about where it takes an item that is good by itself and then just adds to that flavor with little touches and additions. The Creoloe meuneiere sauce is one of those touches that shouts Emeril and is a definite treat for anyone familiar with his tv personality.
The dinner menu is also seasonal with different inspirations and offerings in the way of sauces and preparations as well as the central ingredient. The lunch menu tends to be more the same around the year, except for the tasting menu which always features a specific central ingredient which changes even week to week. The sides offer a good place to add or counter the main dish. I like to pick up the bourbon and brown sugar sweet potatoes as a sweet and savory side to the spicy and creamy of the redfish. This makes a really well rounded meal the same way my lunch combo works out.
The desserts are more limited in their scope, which matches up with the New Orleans flavors that are offered. The pecan pie is the best in the city and comes from an authentic attempt and not just adding sugar to sugar. The bread and butter bread pudding is also a good choice if you need something that transports you to New Orleans in that way. This is a warm and sweet dish that lands on the side of semi-sweet and not so sugary that it leaves you with an aftertaste. Emeril’s is a great choice for a single set of flavors and while it doesn’t offer the whole ocean, like some places, it does what it sets out for well.
-Kenneth WatrousFind more about me on www.kennethwatrous.com or follow me on twitter at @KennethWatrous