CHEF AARON KLAFTER-PHILLIPS BRINGS STRIP CRED TO EMBERS GRILLE + SPIRITS
It was 2008. I was on a panel of judges for the sixth annual Las Vegas Regional S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition. Six local culinary students competed. We judged them on creativity, presentation, sanitation, taste, texture, aroma, and overall presentation. The regional winner was UNLV student Aaron Klafter-Phillips, and his dish was herb-roasted organic Cornish game hens.
Fast forward to 2012. While dining at Embers Grille + Spirits in Summerlin’s Boca Park, the restaurant’s much touted new executive chef comes out to greet me. Who should it be? Yep, Chef Klafter-Phillips has found his way to the ‘burbs and Embers after stints at the Strip’s Table 10, Bradley Ogden, and Stack Restaurant & Bar.
Although Embers got off to a rough start when it opened last fall, the very recent arrival of Klafter-Phillips will go a long way in fixing most of the eatery’s problems. “I added more robust flavors. I veered away from having so much steak on the menu and I added more vegetarian options,” said Klafter-Phillips of his menu revamp. “Also, I plan to change the menu seasonally.”
His updated appetizers include Roasted Garlic Hummus, Goat Cheese Crostinis with roasted fennel and fig, and Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with a toasted almond and blue cheese in a pomegranate reduction. New entrée options are a Grilled Chimichurri Chicken Breast Burger, Pan Roasted Free Range Chicken, Cioppino, a B.A.L.T. Wrap made of smoked bacon, avocado, romaine lettuce, cherry tomato and avocado herb aioli mayo, and Grilled Miso Salmon.
My dining partner and I opted for two of the menu’s most popular entrées: Pan Roasted Sea Bass and a Grilled 8-oz. Filet. The sea bass was served on a bed of eggplant puree, grilled ratatouille, and tomato jam and was prepared perfectly. The filet came with roasted fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus in a red wine demi-glace and was also a winner.
For dessert, Chef whipped up a trio of Crème Brulee, Graham Cracker Crust ice cream, and mixed berries from the grill. It was a sweet and satisfying ending to Klafter-Phillips’ sweet beginning.
Embers Grille + Spirits, 702.778.2160
Summerlin’s Boca Park, www.emberslasvegas.com
Hours: 3 to 11 p.m. Monday –Thursday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 1 to 11 p.m. on Sunday.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 at 11:11 pm
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