by robert haynes-peterson | October 29, 2013 | Food & Drink
LEFT: Passmore Ranch sturgeon at RM Seafood. RIGHT: The Inca Dinka Doo provides balance to the sturgeon.
“We often suggest cocktail pairings,” says Nathan Greene, lead bartender at RM Seafood and the new Rx Boiler Room. One tasty option is the Inca Dinka Doo (Encanto pisco, Orchard Peach liqueur, lemon juice, honey syrup, and orange bitters in an absinthe-rinsed coupe glass) paired with Passmore Ranch sturgeon on a bed of couscous shrimp paella, andouille sausage, shellfish butter sauce, and smoked paprika oil. The floral and sweet notes of the liqueur and honey syrup balance the dish’s earthy spiciness, while the pisco brandy gives backbone to the drink. Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7200
LEFT: Hakkasan’s steamed red snapper. RIGHT: Pair spicy snapper with The Hakka’s cooling coconut.
The city’s many Asian fine-dining restaurants provide perfect opportunities to match fresh fish with sake-or-soju-based cocktails. At the new, massive Hakkasan Restaurant and Nightclub at MGM, Executive Chef Ho Chee Boon and bar manager Hien Truong have created a number of Las Vegas–exclusive dishes and drinks, as well as Hakkasan signature favorites, and offer some incredible pairings. For the steamed red snapper in spicy Assam sauce, they suggest The Hakka (Belvedere vodka; Masumi Okuden junmai sake from Nagano, Japan; coconut; lychee juice; and passion fruit juice), whose coconut notes soften the sauce’s sizzle, as the lime and passion fruit cut through the fish’s brine notes. MGM Grand, 702-891-7888
LEFT: Grilled Tuscan sea bass at Sirio. RIGHT: Pairing sea bass with the Basil Intentions martini adds another layer of flavor.
While we generally think of wine as the go-to for Italian restaurants, harder spirits and aperitifs have a long history in coastal Italy. At the elegant Sirio Ristorante at Aria, Executive Chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia’s refined take on rustic dishes lends itself nicely to strong drink. “We’re seeing many who stay with cocktails through the evening,” says sommelier Catherine Morel. For the Branzino di Orbetello (grilled Tuscan sea bass with charred heirloom tomato coulis, fennel potato cake, and asparagus), Morel recommends the Basil Intentions martini, with Belvedere vodka, Skyy Infusions Moscato grape vodka, muddled basil, and fresh lemon. Aria, 702-230-2742
The old adage “red wine with meat, white wine with fish” has long been abandoned. But what if you decide to skip the sommelier altogether?
photography by anthony mair (red snapper); roni field s-moonen (sturgeon, inca dinka doo); leila navidi (basil intentions); courtesy of mgm resorts international (sea bass)