RM Seafood Scallop
Sabin Orr

RM Seafood scallop dish

Spring all summer

Desert Companion

The delicate, earthy flavors of the season take center stage in these fine-dining dishes

Our spring may be short, but it’s still as inspiring to the valley’s fine dining chefs as it is to any poet or musician. More than any other culinary season, spring is heavily reliant on natural forces: A dry winter may hobble mushroom harvests, a wet March can cut leafy greens short, and this year was an especially exceptional wait for any good tomatoes. The moral: Appreciate what you have. Here's how some very appreciative chefs are welcoming the season this year — with tastes you can enjoy well through




Chef Nicole Brisson is one of the greatest proponents of rare produce, and dandelion greens are one of the more unusual. Cooked down along with mustard greens and chard, and then mixed with ricotta, they fill handmade little “ravioli.” They’re served in an aromatic dried Cara Cara orange peel butter and garnished with sorrel, making the dish not only incredibly satisfying and creamy, but an interesting balance between sweetness and the complex bitterness of the greens. The Palazzo, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. S., carnevino.com


Veal sweetbreads


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Chef Gerald Chin is always doing something interesting in the kitchen, and this dish has its share of surprises. Whereas most sweetbreads are a big fried or seared piece, these are broken into small nodules, roughly the size of the little ricotta cavatelli they’re plated with, giving each piece more surface area to volume. Also, they use morels, the coveted spring mushroom, by infusing them into a cream sauce and making an emulsified foam. The mixture of the creamy, earthy foam and the savory, silky sweetbreads are offset by the fresh spring peas, snap peas and pea tendrils. Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7200


Seared New Bedford sea scallops with spring garlic

RM seafood

Chef Rick Moonen is as much a champion of sustainable seafood as he is a creative, cutting-edge chef. For this dish, he sources some of the best scallops available, and sears them lightly, plating them with green garlic purée, a creamy flavor that’s lighter than you expect. This goes along well with confit pork belly and fingerling potato hash, and a spring citrus salad. Mandalay Place, rmseafood.com


Well bread: Veal Sweetbreads at StripSteak
Sabin Orr

Well bread: Veal Sweetbreads at StripSteak


Guy Savoy Dover Sole
Sabin Orr

Guy Savoy Dover Sole

Whole roasted dover sole

Guy Savoy

Guy Savoy is always evolving, always experimenting, drawing the best dishes from the best ingredients from around the world. This dover sole combines some classic techniques and motifs, but with a touch of haute cuisine. Plated with blanched baby white and green asparagus, passion fruit-cooked spinach, and a few thin ribbons of “celtuce” (a Chinese lettuce heart that tastes a bit like coconut and taro), the dover sole is topped with dots of a piquillo pepper and piment d’espelette purée and a passion fruit/smoked butter sabayon. Caesars Palace, 702-731-7110


Roasted foie gras


For centuries, nothing has said “spring” quite like strawberries. California-based Harry’s Berries has become famous for plump, picturesque berries, and these are paired with an equally beautiful piece of seared foie gras and a slice of fresh brioche. They’re garnished alongside some early-season pickled green strawberries, a unique bite that gives just enough acidity to really bring out the sweetness of the berries and the fatty richness of the foie gras. The Cosmopolitan, roserabbitlie.com


Chilled pea soup with carrots

Le Cirque

Perhaps no other dish uses spring’s bounty to its full potential like this one from Chef Wilfried Bergerhausen. This dish — arguably the most delicious on the Le Cirque menu — is also completely vegan. It’s a nest of fried carrot strings and emulsified carrot foam, with crispy fried mint leaves, pea tendrils, popcorn shoots, watercress, a citrus vinaigrette, and all topped with a chilled English pea veloute. The result is a symphony of fresh, earthy flavors. Bellagio, 702-693-8100


Durham ranch rabbit


Spring greens aren’t the only delicious things that emerge from the ground in spring. The humble hare is another terrific example of the bounty of nature’s favorite season. There’s roasted leg in its own jus, a confit “bar” of belly, and milk-poached loin topped with pistachio and cardamom. All of this is with fresh English peas and Anson Mills polenta, another unique and decadent dish from the minds behind Sage. Aria, 877-230-2742


Springtime burrata

Honey Salt

Taking a page from Guy Savoy’s classic “Peas All Around,” the Honey Salt mastermind Brett Uniss changes it up by using a large piece of creamy burrata in the center, surrounded by English peas, pea tendrils and snap peas, and a bit of preserved lemon and extra-virgin olive oil. One of the simpler items on the menu, but also one of the most satisfying. Creamy, rich burrata and the freshness of peas go so well together, this dish deserves to be a classic. 1031 S. Rampart Blvd., honeysalt.com

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