Yes, in the middle of the desert you can still find the best fish served practically the same day as it’s caught. The best fish is never frozen before being served. That means chefs are flying in fresh fish for day-of serving to present the flavors of the sea at their finest. Here’s a look at the top five fish restaurants in Las Vegas. You may never eat meat again after sampling this fare.
Even if you could care less about sustainable food you should dine on the fish at Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay. Moonen, who lost out to Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit in New York City on “Top Chef Masters,” lives here, which we love. He wrote a book entitled “Fish Without a Doubt” that helps you cook seafood at home with nary a fret. And he has been an outspoken proponent of fish that are caught in an environmentally sound, socially responsible manner. So no Chilean sea bass on the menu. You’ll find straightforward dishes made from fish that tastes like you caught it yourself. And even though the restaurant is helmed by a celebrity chef, it’s open for lunch. Run, don’t walk here.
RM Seafood is located at Mandalay Bay, 702.632.9300, www.rmseafood.com.
We want to go on a camping trip with chef Michael Mina at American Fish at Aria at CityCenter. Something tells us that his renditions of fish would make an adventure in the great outdoors satisfying. Mina buys his products directly from fishermen, farmers and ranchers and emphasizes fresh ingredients and regional produce, particularly from the Northwest and California. But the magic is in the preparation. Mina uses four cooking techniques: poached in ocean water, griddled over a cast iron skillet, baked with sea salt and wood-grilled and smoked. And in this upscale lodge setting, you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu. We suggest the tasting menu at $95 per person for a sample of everything. On a side note, you really can’t go wrong with any of Mina’s Vegas restuarants, including Seablue at the MGM Grand and Michael Mina at Bellagio.
American Fish at Aria at CityCenter, 1.877.230.2742, www.arialasvegas.com/dining/american-fish.aspx.
Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare
You’ll want to sleep with the fishes at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas. All of them speak Italian. Chef Paul Bartolotta wants guests to feel as if they’re dining in a seafood restaurant in Italy. And that means fish flown in daily from the Mediterranean. Look for table-side presentations from the servers and be sure to ask for one of the romantic cabanas next to the lagoon. This place makes memories.
Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare is located at Wynn Las Vegas, 702.770.3305, www.wynnlasvegas.com/#dining/bartolotta/.
Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House
This newly renovated Emeril Lagasse outpost serves up pike from the Midwest with the chef’s own variety of Bam. You can expect spicy renditions of Lagasse’s Cajun-Creole creations along with a wine list that received Wine Spectator’s 1999 “Best of Award of Excellence” all set within a restaurant with funky New Orleans architecture. You’re a fool not to order the banana cream pie with banana crust and caramel drizzles. Ridiculous.
Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House is located at the MGM Grand, 702.891.7374, www.emerils.com/restaurant/4/Emerils-New-Orleans-Fish-House.
You would be remiss not to think of Bar Masa as a fish restaurant. Some of the most extraordinary fish in town is served up at Masa Takayama’s Japanese restaurant at Aria at CityCenter. As we’ve mentioned before, the Akami and Kanpachi sashimi prep your palate for the fine fish served here. Kanpachi jalapeno with fried potato julienne and the Masa “Toro Toro” roll are just some of the toe-curling delights on the menu. Definitely a must on your list.
Bar Masa is located at Aria at CityCenter, 877.230.2742, www.arialasvegas.com/dining/barmasa.aspx.