Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Valley's Newest Casino - M Resort

Despite the on-going recession, which has noticeably hit Las Vegas with decreased visitor numbers and delayed construction projects, a new casino opened on the south end of the valley last week. Ron and I ventured down to the M Resort to check it out.
Our goal was a quick meal at the buffet followed by some poker. We got there at 6pm and the wait in the buffet line was said to be 45 minutes. We immediately tried plan B, which was for me to get in the long rewards card line while Ron scoped out an alternative dining spot. Ron picked Veloce Cibo, a sushi restaurant, while I got through the rewards line in 30 minutes

To our surprise, Veloce Cibo was located on top of the hotel, with the panoramic valley view that M has been praised for. We asked for the sushi bar, which turned out to be short cocktail tables with comfortable bucket seats right against the picture window.
We received both a bar menu and a dining menu, which included sushi, small plates, and large plates. M has been noted as having a more approachable price point in their restaurants, and this was evident in their top floor restaurant only having two entrees over $30 (lobster and veal, as could be expected). Off the small plates, we ordered steamed potstickers and Kobe beef sliders, which were impressively presented with a mound of crispy sweet potato fries.
The best bargain of the restaurant was their bar menu. We actually asked the waiter if the prices and description were correct because the sushi appeared to be an absolute steal. We ordered the sushi for two, which included three different rolls with four pieces each for only $16.
An even more unbelievable value was the sashimi for two, which included three slices each of three different types of tuna sashimi for only $12. That price is unheard of, and the fish was fresh and delicious.
One of the more unique parts of our dining experience was the wine selection. We wanted to order wines by the glass and were informed that the wine was self-serve and we could purchase a $25 debit card for use in the wine machine. They are obviously still working out the kinks in the system because the waiter didn't know if the card could be recharged or if it could be used at a later date, but the wine dispensing system is ingenious. A wall of wine stores a vast selection of bottles preserved using the Enomatic system. You simply put your debit card in, select the wine and amount (1-, 3-, or 5-oz pours), and stick your fresh glass under the spout as your wine is dispensed.
After dinner and soaking up the view, we checked out the pool area and the wine bar downstairs, which uses the same system to boast 120 wines by the glass (without the need to employ cocktail waitresses, cutting down overhead and speeding up the serving process). Eventually, we made it to the poker room for a short session of 4/8L. Although the table had half blinds and a half-kill (I want to play 4/8, not 6/12, thank you very much), this was the perfect game for me - loose-passive. I haven't played poker in over a year, so I was nervous about remembering how to figure odds, but the passive nature of the players allowed me to ease in without having to call many raises, and the looseness of the table let me play the hands I knew were strong. Ron made a killing at the table, but I was happy to take my $18 profit and call it a night. I know there will be many more adventures out to M. Although it was only a 25 minute drive from Summerlin, it almost makes me miss living on the south side of town.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wine and Appetizers

I took advantage of my parents' visit to finally have a group of people over to my house. I thought of it as a sort of house-warming, so I had the crazy idea to prepare all of the food myself. The heavy-appetizer menu included tarragon deviled eggs, walnut Gorgonzola in endive, prosciutto mushroom sautée in phyllo shells, mini onion tarts, bruschetta, lime cheesecake in Oreo shells, chocolate-covered strawberries, and mini lemon meringues. I prepped for two days with help from Mom and Dad.

There were eleven people total, and we all fit comfortably around my new extended island. My stools had just arrived, so there was plenty of seating and way too much food (though we had no problem emptying the wine). I ate the baked brie and asiago onion bread brought by guests for breakfast for several days. Although game night is now defunct (L&B, please come back!), I hope this group can start a monthly wine and app get-together.