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 Chart House. We took December off, so this month, it’s Aquaknox.
One of the great high-end places to dine in Vegas is Aquaknox. This is one of those signature places that acts as a draw for one of the casino/hotels, this one is inside the Venetian. Now I say, dine, for a place like this because it is a lot about the experience and the prices make you enjoy the food a bit more. Unlike some other places this is about checking out what can be done with high quality ingredients and a lot of time and dedication to designing flavors. If you are interested in getting a lot of food and hanging out after work, check out some of my other reviews of local spots.
This is a sit-down and reservation kind of place, but it you check in early it isn’t normally more than a day kind of wait, none of that three week in advance stuff. The décor is elegant, and I don’t normally use that word. But this place is. It has recessed lighting, large tables and silver booths. The bar area has ice and fountain decorations that are lighted from the inside. There is a real ambient quality to the place that makes it feel more than special.
There are two bar areas. One is the drinks bar where you can lounge with other up and comers and enjoy a signature cocktail or a pricey wines and bears. They also feature a collection of Absinthe, which is unique. Not my kind of thing, but it is worth mentioning just for the novelty quality. Though I have considered the rootbeer float they make with it, one of those things you can mention later in life to the right kind of people. The other bar is the raw bar. This is a place to get ready in a minute style seafood like shrimp, oysters, and mussels. The items are fresh and usually raw or semi-raw (always hard to tell with ceviche) but are assembled on order and not fully ready just when you walk up. This is a great setting for a meet up before a show at the hotel or an after hours cool down.
The menu itself is top-notch with some exciting flavors and some prices to prove they aren’t joking. Items such as foie gras, cavier selections, and $60 steaks show that they aren’t just cooking whatever. These are also not dishes made in advance and dished out over the day, these are hand-selected kinds of items that are worth really considering each bite.
The flavors come from a variety of different locations and feature a combination of authentic and fusion flavors. While something like the Ora Salmon is pretty much a Japanese dish, the house fish soup is a fusion of different sea-foods and flavors from the Mediterranean and Maine. The halibut is my favorite as it is pretty simple and naked with a great bed of vegetables that it rests on top of. I’m also a fan of the plateau from the raw bar, this is a kind of heap of different foods and is about the only dish offered with a combination of seafoods and not a single dedication to flavor. It isn’t a sampler so much as it is a type of miniature tasting menu of its own. It is heaped with prawns, mussels, crab, and oysters.
The deserts include a cheese plate of soft and semi-soft selections. This can be a good choice after the richness of the food and isn’t so much a desert as a way to kind of come down from the rest of the experience.
Overall the experience you can get at Aquaknox is really high class and a bit indulgent. Everything they do they do well and the staff is helpful without being pushy. I also like that they work with you and are not rushed. At the same time, the staff is also not at the table every minute asking follow ups, so it is my ideal type of service.
-Kenneth WatrousFind more about me on www.kennethwatrous.com or follow me on twitter at @KennethWatrous