July 2017 Magazines - Page 66

Haute Spot The Black Sheep Kitchen • Wine • Cocktails By Aly Wagonseller I LOVE THAT OUR CITY ATTRACTS EXTREMELY talented chefs with dreams of owning their own places. Perfectionists that work hard, learn the trade and develop a unique style and taste of their own with the intention of leaving the grind behind and opening a neighborhood joint that reflects the expertise and care you’d find in a Strip establishment, but under a tiny roof that serves us locals. The Black Sheep, located at 8680 W. Warm Springs Road, is just such a place, with Aureole and DB Brasserie alum Chef Jamie Tran, along with partners Andy Hooper and Jon Schwalb, creating a super cool bistro experience that offers inspired cuisine, an impressive wine list and crafted cock- tails you’d never expect so close to home. The name “The Black Sheep” is an homage to Chef Tran’s playfully rebellious spirit of becoming a female chef in a male dominated industry that included her own father, along with Hooper’s desire to depart the pretentiousness and egotistical pricing found at most hotel eateries on Las Vegas Blvd. Girl Power meets Stop the Madness, and it works with an offering of sophisticated, yet approachable American-Vietnamese food served in a setting that’s on trend and hipster, without being overly obnoxious. An eclectic selection of music and a separate bar keep things lively, with fun cocktails, well priced wines by both the bot- tle and glass, and attentive and friendly service making for a comfy night out in the burbs. 66 The menu is small, something I love, as I’d rather choose from a few, well thought out and executed dishes than a laundry list of mediocrity. We arrived during happy hour and, with oysters being offered for a buck a piece, imbibed. While the briny little morsels were very fresh, and sauces that included a lemongrass “granita” which exhibited a caviar-like pop for texture were tasty, the presentation in rock salt really rendered them aggressively salty. Might need to rethink this one. Bao Sliders, made with housemade sausage and a fried quail egg definitely caught my eye, but due to a run on this favorite the night before, they were unavailable the night I dined. Disappointing, but they’re still figuring things out having only been open a little over a month. Things crept uphill from there, though, with the July/August 2017 arrival of Vietnamese Imperial Rolls and Fried Beef Crisps. The rolls were cut on the bias exposing a dense, pork and shrimp filling that was homey and very tasty. Paired with light citrus vinaigrette and crunchy, pickled vegetables that did well to tame the rich filling, they’re a delicious bite. Fried Beef Crisp then arrived and I can’t sing their praises loud enough. Likened to chicharones, these lighter than air crisps made from beef tendon are sprinkled with peppery, togarashi dust then finished tableside with the addition of a lime chili sauce that gets the crackling party started; an addictive bite that’s flavorful, yet leaves room for the main event. Entrees are reasonably priced, with selections ranging between $17 for Braised Duroc Pork Belly to a Grilled Creekstone Hanger Steak valued at $25. We chose the Slow Cooked Short Rib and Scottish King Salmon Clay Pot. Short Rib is usually quite heavy, but the use of crisp summer squash, blistered tomatoes and a slightly sweet sauce light- ened things up in a really great way. The addition of home- made yucca gnocchi was sublime, a sprinkling of fried yucca threads adding another element of texture to an outstanding dish. The Salmon Pot was presented under lid that, once lift- ed, filled the air with the wafting smell of hickory. An “Oh so Charlie Palmer” signature trait that did well to add smok- iness to the dish. Filled with perfectly prepared salmon served atop citrus scented farro studded with eggplant and topped with a plum salad, it’s a must try for salmon lovers. Going out on a limb isn’t for everyone, but Tran and com- pany couldn’t have done it better. This new little spot in the Southwest Valley has serious potential, making black sheep status something to be proud about. For info, visit blacksheepvegas.com or call 702-954-3998. ◆