LIBERTINE SOCIAL RESTAURANT AT THE MANDALAY BAY
LATEST VENTURE FROM CHEF SHAUN McCLAIN
Las Vegas (Perfect Meal Today) 5/8/17/–Libertine at the swanky Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is the latest venture of chef Shaun McClain, and since opening the doors in
August 2016 they have made steady progress. At a private tasting of some of the new small bites on the menu we got the chance to chat with Detroit native McClain and his executive chef Jamaal Taherzadeh about the restaurant which is totally different from his marvelous Sage restaurant, also in Las Vegas. “Libertine Social is all about the food, the drinks and the party.
We want this to be a playground for people to explore similar dishes and cocktails with edgy and unexpected flavors in an energetic environment that invites them to share those moments with others,’’ said McClain. Libertine Social is a high energy gastro pub fronted by a James Beard award winning chef who has partnered up with a famous mixologist/bartender in the shape of Tony Abou-Gannim, who wrote the definitive book on vodka called ‘Vodka Distilled.’
The space itself is wide open so people strolling by at the hotel can easily see the vibe at the restaurant which was designed by Alessandro Munge with a comparison to some of the spaces on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California. There is also an outdoor patio with a view of the beach at Mandalay Bay, and also a chef’s table with exposed grills and prep tables for the guests to feel like part of the action.
When it comes to the food, I only tried a handful of the dishes on the menu but they included mainly small bites like the ‘Parmesan Churros’ with lightly fried dough is coated with parmesan, and of course the ‘Modern Fried Egg,’ summer corn topped with a whipped egg and American Sturgeon caviar in an eggshell, and served with a toasted brioche.
Needless to say I must go back and try the chef’s Sausage Board, where his homemade artisanal sausages are paired with creamy cheeses and other sides such as Tipperary cheddar, Rouge Creamery Smokey blue cheese and brillat savarin. Also tempting has to be the Duck Pastrami sandwich which is served on golden brown toast and topped with pickled radicchio, sauerkraut aioli and mustard seed,
This is just a sampling of the wonderful savory dishes on offer here and to top off any meal here you have to try his Margarita Donut and then close out the evening with the Hot Chocolate Martini which covers a warm chocolate ganache cake with a rich vanilla bean infused amaretto glaze.
The cocktail department of the restaurant is a whole story in itself, and while Tony A is well known for his vodka expertise, I was pleased to try one of his rum libations. The Summertime Swizzle is one of five that he has created based on the swizzle stick fashioned from a Quararibea turbinate tree. They all come in pitchers good for four or five drinks and I believe I tried the Queens Park Swizzle made with 15-year old El Dorado rum. We followed that with his version of the Mint Julep with Bourbon.
There are two drinking areas at Libertine Social with the Main bar and the Arcade Bar, the latter being a private area tucked away that features cocktails from the 19th and 20thcenturies that have been forgotten. These will include the Daisy, the Smash and the Flip. These all come with a history lesson as well. Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay Open for dinner only 5pm-11 pm every day.