The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2011

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Page 115 of 132

Shabu-shabu originated in the 20th century but reflects older Chinese shuan yang rou cooking. Ingredients are flown in from Japan daily and depend on what is available. The fixed menu consists of seven gradually escalating courses, each building in intensity—a very metaphysical way of dining. “The idea behind Shaboo is that you’re left with ‘complete,’” says Executive Chef Drew Terp. “We’re not aiming for ‘full,’ or overeating. We aim for the perfect amount.” By contrast, Sirio Maccioni and his family are as exuberant as the Italian cuisine of their Sirio Ristorante. With a Tuscan base and European and American accents, Maccioni’s menu is carried to flavorful perfection by Executive Chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia. “Our signature dishes include ravioli Maccioni and Colorado lamb rack because we cannot get the ones we use in Italy,” says Chef Vincenzo. “So rather than crust with pecorino cheese, we crust with pistachios. We also have a homemade pasta, pici—a thick, eggless spaghetti from Tuscany. I like to cook with spirits, especially brandy, and fresh porcini with single malt scotch, preferably with a little smoke such as those from Islay, to complement the porcini. I’m also starting to make dishes using my homemade limoncello base. I like to follow my instincts; I don’t have any guidelines.” At Blossom, Executive Chef Chi Kwun Choi began his prestigious career in Hong Kong with culinary experiences as chef of Hilltop Country Club and the Kowloon Private Club. At Blossom, Chef Choi focuses on a Hong Kong style intertwined with Szechwan and Yunnan regional touches, and with American and French influences. His menu includes dishes with Cantonese style and northern influences such as Peking duck, and from the south, Szechwan shrimp and spicy stir fry. “We are known for our live sea food,” says Chef Choi. “The difference between fresh and live is huge. ‘Fresh’ comes from the freezer. But ‘live’ means the fish are swimming in both salt and fresh water tanks in my kitchen.” With such a diverse array of chefs and cuisine, Aria might be a contender for Culinary Center of Las Vegas. Chef Masa Takayama has created an à la carte environment with Bar Masa and an intimate traditional Japanese shabu-shabu cuisine with Shaboo. At Jean Georges Steakhouse, Executive Chef Rob Moore serves bacon-wrapped shrimp with papaya mustard and cilan- tro alongside slowly cooked salmon with celeriac and cornichon relish, complemented by a Whiskey Passion Fizz made with Bulleit Bourbon, passion fruit and ginger. Executive Chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia presents Sirio’s enhanced piatto reale di mare (royal seafood platter), with poached lobster, shrimp, tuna tartar and crab meat salad, enhanced with a Maccioni cocktail made with Absolut Mandarin vodka, homemade limoncello, Pama liqueur, and fresh orange juice. may 201 1 / the tasting panel / 115 PHOTO: RICHARD CARLETON HACKER PHOTO: MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL PHOTO: RICHARD CARLETON HACKER

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