5-14-16 / Lemongrass / Las Vegas, NV

For the morning of Saturday, May 14th we had reservations made for brunch at Bardot Brasserie in the Aria. Unfortunately, when we were in the car on the way over we received a call informing us that there was a problem in the kitchen and they would be closing for brunch. Forced with a quick decision, I suggested we go to Lemongrass (also located within the Aria Resort & Casino) instead. It wasn’t a traditional brunch, but it was still enjoyable.

We decided to take advantage of the rotating dim sum cart and ordered the above pictured BBQ Pork Bun, Pork and Shrimp Sui Mai, and Bean Curd Wrapped Pork and Shrimp. Also (not pictured) the BBQ Pork Ribs, and two Chicken Basil Buns. The BBQ Pork Bun were the highlight with big chunks of succulent pork in a sweet and vinegary sauce, encased in a sweet steamed bun. The bun was substantial enough to make the dumpling into an almost stuffed sandwich of sorts, with a far sweeter dough than I’m used to, but it was a welcome foil to the spicy and vinegary pork. The sui mai also fared well from a very rough chop, far from the usual sausage-like texture of most dumpling fillings. Large chunks of sweet shrimp and salty pork were held lightly by the egg noodle wrapper. The bean curd wrapper on the pork and shrimp suffered from over-steaming, causing the wrapper to be limp and reject most of the caramel sweet and sour sauce. The ribs were excellent, steamed and chopped up into small pieces to allow the gristle and bones to be separated and discarded, but far from the traditional “american” concept of a rib. The chicken basil buns were fairly standard flat discs of dough, similar to what you may see an open-faced pork belly bun served in, with an incredibly flavorful mixture of tiny pieces of ground, seasoned chicken, and large pieces of fried basil. They turned out to be quite difficult to eat, but well-worth the effort.

2016-05-14 12.16.41

After the heavy meal of the night before, I opted for something much lighter for brunch: the Thai Crab Omelette. Overstuffed with large chunks of jumbo lump crab meat, egg, and chopped with fried thai basil, this dish was simple, but effective in its goal. Extremely filling, the sweet crab and herbal basil balanced the crispy and salty fried egg omelette out beautifully. The garlic chili hot sauce (their homemade version of a sriracha) provided a nice zip of vinegar and punch to an otherwise sweet and salty dish. It was a huge portion and kept me full all day.

My wife enjoyed the Three Cups Chicken, a standard basil chicken hot pot dish far more familiar in Chinese cuisine than Thai. That didn’t stop the huge chunks of fresh white breast meat, ginger, basil, sesame oil, and Shaoxing wine from all working together in symphony to provide a harmonious and balanced hot pot. The sauce was so luxurious and thick, I was tempted to drink it from the bowl, but I opted for a Thai Iced Coffee instead. The heavy, powerful coffee drink with the thick, sweet syrup, was more like a coffee milkshake than a standard drink, but it was excellent nonetheless.

Overall, it wasn’t our first choice in dining for that specific meal, but it was a very enjoyable experience nonetheless.

 

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