Wolfgang Puck, a name that can make Emeril Lagasse sounding hip, has, for the lack of a better term, an empire of food conglomerates that is mind-blowingly vast (just check out all the restaurants under his wings, not counting the cookwares and canned soup and frozen pizza). Even in a world so saturated with celebrity-chef chains and brands, his is mightily impressive.
Perhaps with such secured success Puck doesn't feel the need to pamper for TV spotlights, except when trying to sell his cookwares on QVC. The original Spago opened more than 30 years ago on Sunset Strip and there are now a handful of duplicates all carrying the Spago name tag.
We stumbled upon the restaurant: after failing to get into a supposedly fabulous buffet that sold out for the night by about 630pm, we had no plan B in sight and were seriously starving (we were ready for a buffet!). Somehow, whether it was due to the crippling hunger or some odd algorithm my brain managed to do, I made the decision to bypass Rao's, Gordon Ramsey's Pub and Grill, and Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill to get to Spago--it turned out to be one of those sweet surprises in life when you least expecting it.
Kurobuta Pork Schnitzel
I wish this was bad so I could write something nasty about how Puck couldn't even muster his own country's signature food...no chance: this was stunningly done and easily the best Schnitzel I've tasted. The breading held its crispiness without getting in the way of the juiciness of the pork. It was nicely seasoned so any condiments would be superfluous. The "sides" were delicious, of course, but the pork was the star here and there was a beauty in its simplicity and straightforwardness.
Everybody does sliders nowadays, but these were really well-built and perfect appetizers.
While I don't claim to be a veteran in crab-cake adjudication, I just remembered getting lots of flaky and sweet crab meat in the bites. Both the aioli underneath and the garnishing salad provided nice acidity and accompaniment.
I don't dislike this, but the steak was on the stingy side, especially placed right next to the oven-mitt sized schnitzel. Since a glass of beer is in the picture, let me mention that they have a selection of few but well-curated beers on draft. It was here I got hooked on Full Sail Amber...
Peanut-Butter Souffle with Lemon Sorbet
This must have been created by someone that loves peanut butter, which I admit I don't eat on a regular basis. But I would if it's served like this all the time! Heck, I'll just come out and say it: best way of using peanut butter!
Ideal Meal: Schnitzel and Peanut-butter Souffle
Spago Las Vegas
Caesar Place Forum Shops
Food: 4/5, Service: 2.5/4, Vibe: 1/3 (probably better in the main dinning room, but the bar/cafe area has good energy), Value: 2/3 (not over-priced at all), Total: 9.5/15