Loretta St. John was an opening act for many stars, a former backup singer with BOBBY DARIN and with WAYNE NEWTON, appearing with the Newton entourage at the Sands, Frontier, London Palladium, the JERRY LEWIS TELETHON and a special concert with BOB HOPE and WAYNE NEWTON. Loretta opened for stars JACKIE VERNON, DELLA REESE, BILLY ECKSTEIN, BOBBY VINTON, FRANKIE AVALON, JACK JONES and FRANK SINATRA, JR.. She also performed a world tour with the revival of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Loretta appeared on several TV series, including CHICAGO HOPE and appeared in the movie "CASINO".
ALOHA, ROY'S LAS VEGAS
By Loretta St. John
Las Vegas Restaurant Insider Editor
Most travelers who visit Las Vegas usually stay pretty close to their hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. But if you’re the adventurous type, like me, you might want to venture out a little beyond your comfort zone to discover something new and different…..like maybe a little “Aloha spirit”?
Just a short taxi-ride from the Strip you can find Roy’s Restaurant.
The first Roy’s was opened in 1988 in Honolulu by Roy Yamaguchi who is a winner of the prestigious James Beard Award. Combine European techniques with Asian Cuisine with “aloha” hospitality and you have a winning composition that blends as perfectly as the colors from an artist’s palette. Their décor accents the island/contemporary feel with expert lighting that is soft and inviting…..very flattering to us girls!
If you’ve even been fortunate enough to visit Hawaii, then you’ll know what to expect from Roy’s. The warm Hawaiian “aloha” vibe seeps into your pores like the sun on a beach in Maui. The staff is upbeat, charmingly attentive and super friendly.
They were the perfect compliment to the meal and to the evening. Ryan and Matt, our Servers, David, the Bartender, and Matt Weston, the Manager, were all perfect examples of what happens when Management treats their Staff fairly, with dignity and respect…..it all rolls downhill and results in happy customers!
I was joined for dinner by two friends, Edwina Carabajal from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Jimmy Mc Cowan from Dundee, Scotland. We started with a round of cocktails and an appetizer – Panko Crisped Calamari with Macadamia Nuts, Orange Chili Glaze & Yuzu Aioli. It was a tantalizing portent of things to come.
For her Entrée, Edwina ordered the Sizzled Hawaiian Opakapaka (a very mild whitefish) with Grilled Eggplant, Daikon Au Gratin and Jade Pesto.
She raved about the tastes and textures. Mr. McCowan ordered the Brown Butter Seared Salmon with Maple Cranberry Sausage and Warm Potato Salad with Stone Ground Mustard.
The smile on his face was certainly proof enough of how much he enjoyed it. I chose the Roy’s Original Hawaiian Blackened Island Ahi with Spicy Soy Mustard Butter Sauce and it was rrrreally delicious!
I highly recommend it. The Ahi was perfectly cooked and the sauces were a gastronome’s dream.
crowned the meal with Dessert – Pineapple
Upside-down Cake and a lovely Chocolate
Souffle, which we shared….but I ate most of it. Oink!
I should point out that, since I am a December-Baby, I celebrate my birthday for the whole month! So even though it was a week later, Roy’s created a special birthday treat for me. And they even printed a “birthday card” that said “A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip!. It was presented rolled up parchments-style, tied with curly ribbon. Frosting on the cake…….pun intended!
Roy’s will prepare a special meal for you if you have any special dietary restrictions. They have a special menu for Gluten-Free or Vegetarian. They have an extensive wine-list and they have fantastic “designer” cocktails. Try their killer Original Hawaiian Martini - Maui pineapples drenched in SKYY Vodka, Stoli Vanil Vodka & Malibu Coconut Rum. Shaken and served with fresh pineapple. Ooooohhhhh!
“Mahalo” to Roy’s, I plan to go back again soon….there’s so much more on their menu that’s calling my name………
Surf & Turf Petit Filet, Lump Crab Oscar & Maine Lobster Tail with Poblano Mash & Asparagus)
Roy’s Trio (Salmon, Crusted Mahi Mahi & Misoyaki Butterfish with Baby Bok Choy & Steamed Rice)
Shellfish Sampler (Butter Poached Half Lobster Tail, Seared Crab Cake, U10 Sea Scallop & Shrimp with Macadamia Nut Pesto Risotto)
From the Land:
Fire Grilled Filet Mignon with Crispy Sweet Potatoe Cake, Roasted Winter Veggies, Blue Crab Fondue
Asian Style Coq au Vin with Sake Braised Eringi Mushrooms, Bacon, Red Pearl Onions, and Fingerling Potatoes
Cherry Stuffed Pork Roulade with Robidden Black Rice, Pea Tendrils, Butternut Squash, Wasabi Demi Glaze
Cast Iron Seared Flat Iron Steak with Polenta Cake, Roasted Wild Mushrooms & Butternut Squash Puree
Hawaii Kai Style Beef Short Ribs with Honey Mustard, Yukon Mash, Broccolini, Natural Braising Sauce
Their Happy Hour is guaranteed to get you “happy” in a Maui-Minute! Aloha Hour - $5.00 Appetizers and Drinks! (Crunchy Golden Lobster Potstickers, Szechwan Grilled Beef Tenderloin Skewers, Wagyu Beef Sliders). It’s a big hit with the Happy-Hour crowd, so get there before 5:00PM to get a seat in the bar.
They pour a really good drink, so be forewarned….you might end up dancing the Hula and knocking over tables. Try to behave yourself and not embarrass your friends!
See you at Roy’s! Pretend you don’t know me if you notice me wearing a grass skirt and balancing a pineapple on my head!
PS If you’re interested in buying property in Hawaii, I just happen to know about a little grass shack in Kealakekua! Click here for a tour!
8701 W. Charleston Boulevard
EIFFEL TOWER RAISES FOOD TO NEW HEIGHTS AT PARIS RESORTBy Loretta St. John
Las Vegas Restaurant Insider Editor
When it comes to dining out, sometimes you have to compromise between ambience and quality cuisine…… but not at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant atop the Paris Resort on the Las Vegas Strip!
From the instant we stepped off the elevator and were welcomed by a lovely young hostess with a genuine smile, we got an inkling of the amazing experience about to unfold for us. After checking our reservation, we were led to a table that offered an incredible view of the Las Vegas Strip through the glass outer walls of the restaurant. No sooner did we sit down when we were dazzled by a performance of the Bellagio Fountains, directly in front of us!
Now you may ask yourself, how do they follow that ! !
Well the Tower restaurant did exactly that.
cuisine that was served to us, and the way in which it was presented was
nothing short of awesome.
Our Captain was Mr. Thomas Mann, a person with long-time experience in his field, right here in Las
Vegas. It was obvious right away
that he had the necessary class and polish for his profession….and still be
Lyle Tolhurst, Supervisor, Loretta St. John, Thomas Mann, Captain
We saw none of the pompous attitude that you sometimes are subjected to in Four and Five-Star restaurants.
The Captain’s Assistant, Jose, was very pleasant, respectful, capable and “spot-on”. He was a welcome addition to the standout evening.
parade of delights that followed became one extra-sensory experience after
another. To cleanse the
palate, we were served Les Amuses Bouches. Our Captain then brought luscious Crab Cake dish, as a gift
from the House.
was a beautiful 8oz. Filet Mignon (perfectly cooked) with Red Wine Sauce. An Accompaniment of Brussels Sprouts
with Chestnuts and Bacon was very
8 oz. Filet Mignon
My dinner partner chose for his Entrée the Braised Shortribs with Buttered Egg Noodles and Roasted Vegetables. I’m not shy about sharing, so I managed to snag a bite for myself, and it was outrageously tender and delicious!
Braised Short Ribs with Buttered Egg Noodles
We shared the Eiffel Tower Souffle for dessert. It was decadent, to say the least.
Their Entrée menu has a tantalizing array of choices such as:
Black Cod with Fingerling Potatoes, Brown Beech Mushrooms with Lemon “en Papillotte”
Sauteed Sea Bass with Organic Pearl Barley, Braised Root Vegetables and Veal Bacon
Other fish entress include Salmon, Monkfish, Snapper and Whole Boneless Dover Sole.
Some exotic meat choices are:
Muscovy Duck Breast, Camarque Rice and Sauce Foie Gras
Boneless Organic Rabbit with Braised Carrots Confits and Mustard Jus
Venison Chop, with Oatmeal Cake, Chanterelle Mushrooms and Huckleberry Reduction
Space constraints won’t permit me to tell you all about the wonderful choices of steaks and chops, or the stunning assortment of Appetizers. You’ll need to explore them on your own.
Since we were celebrating my birthday, Thomas and Jose` offered “Best Wishes” and served us complimentary Petits Fours with a lighted birthday candle! No. They did not want to sing” Happy Birthday”. They said I should consider myself very lucky not to hear them sing!
I guess I’ll have to take their word for it.
I especially want to talk about the Tower Restaurant’s Supervisor, Lyle Tolhurst, who totally impressed us by introducing himself and welcoming us in a way that was genuine and sincere. In a world where “plastic” seems to be the norm, it was really refreshing to experience the opposite at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.
Tower Restaurant has always been one of my favorites…. even more so after this
last repeat visit.
Don’t miss it!
EIFFEL TOWER RESTAURANT
Paris Las Vegas
3655 Las Vegas Boulevard South
EMERIL'S NEW ORLEANS FISH HOUSE AT MGM GRAND
by Loretta St. John
Bonjour mes amis d'Internet!
Two pound Maine lobster, stuffed with House Cured Bacon, Aromatic Vegetables and spinach in a rich veloute sauce (“Lobster Bienville”).
I can tell that I’ve got your attention now.
Rumors are flying that Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House at MGM Grand (3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas) (702-891-7374) is serving up the most luscious delicacies this side of New Orleans. Well the rumors are all true!
They’re open for lunch (Sunday to Thursday 11:30 to 2:30PM), Friday & Saturday 11:30 to 2:00PM), and dinner (Sunday to Thursday 5:30PM to 10:30PM, Friday and Saturday 5:00 to 10:30PM).
Do yourself a favor and “laissez le bon temps roule” at Emeril’s. You’re gonna have a tough time making your selections because the menu is pretty incredible.
At Lunch you could start with a steaming bowl of Fish House Seafood Gumbo, or you might try Blue Crab & Bell Pepper Fondue with Cumin & Chile Breadsticks and an Avocado, Cipollini Onion & Tomato Salad. My favorite entre is the Seafood Pan Roast, served with Two Medallions of Fresh Fish, Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, Traditional Seafood Jambalaya and Essence Spiked Butter Sauce!
Absolument délicieux! (Absolutely delicious!)
The Dinner menu presents even more choices with which to tempt you. For a starter, the Avocado and Blue Crab Cakes, with a Mango, Papaya and Macadamia Nut Salad, tossed in a Spicy Cilantro Dressing is a memorable dish.
If you like shrimp, Emeril’s New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp, served with a Petite Rosemary Biscuit makes a really tasty appetizer. If you happen to be into ribs (and I don’t mean in the biblical sense), you might try the Braised Short Ribs, on Butternut Squash Risotto Cakes and Roasted Shallot Reduction.
The Steamed Grouper, with Lobster, Gulf Shrimp, Shucked Clams and Vegetables in a Saffron and Shellfish Broth is something to write home about! Oh my God, was it luscious!
J'étais dans le ciel! (I was in heaven!)
Don’t stop NOW. You’re on a roll, baby! Try the Pecan Crusted Texas Redfish, with Grilled Vegetables, Stone Ground Grits and Creole Meuniere Sauce.
Are you sitting down? You’d better be. This will knock your socks off: Seared Scallops and Gulf Shrimp, with Homemade Pasta tossed with a Chimichurri Butter Sauce and Parmesan Reggiano Cheese! (Right about now I’m tempted to jump into my car and drive right over to Emeril’s!)
Il est le meilleur. (It’s the best.)
I think I’ll create a little mystery here by letting you discover the rest of the menu on your own. Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House is an authentic trip to New Orleans, minus the plane fare!
The service was impeccable. What a thrill it was when they served all eight people at my table, simultaneously! Yes, simultaneously. Eight waiters brought out all the orders, hot and delicious, all at once.
Lunch Appetizers range in price from $9.00 to $15.00, and Entrees from $17.00 to $31.00. Dinner and Hot/Cold Starters range from $8.00 to $16.00. Entrees range from $27.00 to $40.00, with one Entre at $60.00.
So give a call to Edward Tuohy, the General Manager and make plans to treat yourself very soon to Chef J.P. Labadie’s cuisine!
Au revoir pour maintenant, et bon appétit, mes amis d'Internet. (Translation available on request!)
EMERIL'S NEW ORLEANS FISH HOUSE
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South
R BAR CAFE - MANDALAY BAY
by Loretta St. John
When’s the last time you had a date with a Barramundi? (It’s a FISH, people…. not an exotic dancer!)
Picture this: fresh-water Australian farm-raised bass (Barramundi), with artichoke, capers, olive oil, garlic, cherry tomato relish, red onions, Calamata olives, in a white wine reduction! Are you drooling yet? Got your attention? Then hasten thyself to the R Bar Cafe in Mandalay Bay and dip into (pun intended) their seafood menu!
Owner and Executive Chef Rick Moonen, owns and operates popular restaurants in Manhattan, New York, namely “The Oceanic” and “The Water Club”. This kind of experience translates into another successful restaurant, now in Las Vegas. He and Chef Matthew Griffin present an impressive menu. Chef Rick believes in the importance of buying and serving seafood which comes from abundant wild populations that are under sound management. All the fish on their menu are caught or farmed in a way that is not harmful to the ocean environment or to other ocean creatures. I don’t mind telling you, this really impresses me!
(Check out www.blueocean.org which inspires a closer relationship with the sea through science, art and literature.)
You might want to begin with one of their “Starters”, e.g. Jumbo Lump Crabcake with Chipotle Mayonnaise… $16.00…. absolutely luscious…. you can actually see the crab meat!.... no fillers… beautifully presented on the plate with sprinkles of finely-minced chives and red peppers.
Follow with their Sugar Beet Salad…. $12.00…. slow-roasted beets, goat cheese, candied walnuts, craisins, red wine vinaigrette, endive, and frisee. Or maybe their Mixed Green Salad… $6.00…. baby lettuce with tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Their Crab Gumbo…. $15.00…. full of fresh seasonal crab, andouille sausage and okra, served over rice. It rivals that of the gumbos cooked personally for me by my Cajun friends in Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana!
You’re missing the boat (oh geez! Another pun intended!) if you don’t try their Market Seafood Selection (priced according to which fish you choose). Select a fish, choose a preparation (grilled, broiled, sautéed or blackened), and pick one of six different sauces. I chose Artic Char…. $24.00 – similar to salmon – sweet, non fishy, with sweet sesame-ginger aioli sauce. Yumm!
They serve five different pasta dishes, including Lobster Ravioli Diavolo…. $29.00. On my next visit, I plan to dive into (yee gads! Yet another pun!) their Anchor Steam Beer Battered Fish ‘n’ Chips…. $22.00.
Steaks and chops are on the menu also. They have a 14 oz. Double-Cut Pork Chop…. $32.00, and if you fancy a Filet Mignon, they have a 10 oz. cut…….. $42.00. Any “Turf” can come with “Surf”…. add Prawns…. $15.00, or ½ lobster (market price).
If you have any room after all this…. and I mean if!...... treat yourself to their Chocolate Mousse, or Crème Brulee… $10.00. The Pettit Fours served with our coffees were a really nice touch.
All of this is served against a backdrop of an off-white modern décor with really comfortable seating and warm lighting. I could actually read the menu folks! They have a great bar and a gleaming stainless-steel open kitchen. Our waiter Maurice was efficient, articulate and humorous without being patronizing…. a nice touch.
Manager Dion Farrington made us feel really welcome with his easy-going yet distinctive personality.
If you like quality, fresh seafood and great service... do yourselves a favor, Mates (there she goes with the puns again!) and dine at the R Bar Cafe in the Mandalay Bay Hotel!
R BAR CAFE IN MANDALAY BAY
3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South
CAPO'S ITALIAN CUISINE
by Loretta St. John
Hi there Cyber-Pals! Loretta St.John here with some news about the Las Vegas restaurant scene.
Bored with the “same-o-same-o”? Want a truly different dining experience? Then pop in to CAPO'S, located on Tropicana……. reservations suggested.
Upon entering, you’ll find yourself enclosed in a small, dark foyer in which there is seemingly no way out. Ring the bell on the wall and a small window will open. You will probably see the handsome face of one of the owners, Dominic Santucci…. from Chicago no less! Then a door magically opens and you’ll find yourself face to face with Al Capone… well, his photo that is (a very LARGE one), which is displayed prominently on the opposite wall.
The décor is “early Speakeasy” with an open beam ceiling that adds ambience and lends warmth to the room. The lighting is soft and subdued (very flattering for us ladies!) It generates a feeling of having dinner in a private home. There’s a small stage to the left on the back wall, which is decorated like the living room in my Grandmom’s house in South Philadelphia, with candle sconces on the wall and red flocked velvet curtains. Curtained booths line one wall where you can dine “incognito”…. very cozy.
There’s a cool bar area on the left side of the room where you can order a house-specialty drink, such as “Kiss of Death Martini” or the “Made Man Melon Martini” (Watermelon Vodka, Watermelon Pucker with lemonade). You can even have your dinner served there if you’re in the mood, or maybe one of their interesting appetizers….”Mafioso Caprese”… $9.95, or Chicago’s Thin and Crispy Pizza (garlic white with ricotta, mozzarella, brucetta tomato – or with Italian Sausage (is there any other kind?????) and Marinara Sauce…. $9.95.
During the evening you’ll be serenaded by Bobby Ligouri, “on stage” and in the audience, who will be singing Sinatra or Dean Martin tunes to pre-recorded “big band” tracks. And if you happen to be celebrating your birthday (which I was on that particular evening), Bobby will sing Happy Birthday to you at your table, with the help of a large “Dino” puppet!
And the food! Ah, the FOOD! The Caesar’s salad was crisp and cold, just like I like it. The dressing was rich, with a nice garlic flavor, but not too garlicy. (My Grandmom used to say “Effa you don’ta lika aglio (garlic), go home!”) I had the “One-Half Gotti’s Garlic Roasted Chicken” which was moist, herbed, and cooked to perfection, served with baby asparagus and a side of the pasta of your choice, for $16.95. Very tasty!
My dining partner had “Mad Sam Manicotti” – fried eggplant stuffed with ricotta and prosciutto, covered with “Capo’s Cheese” and baked in tomato sauce, for $18.95. That was outrageous! (We shared.)
We found the prices quite reasonable (e.g. ranging from “Godfather’s Filet” for $35.95 to “Made Man Pasta” for $16.95), which comes with a house salad or soup of the day, bread and butter (they offered us olive oil and Balsamic vinegar too, which we preferred.)
And of course don’t forget dessert! We had “Jimmy Two-Times Tiramisu- Tiramisu” (THAT’S NOT A TYPO!) …. ($5.95), and “Leo’s Lips Lava Cake” (an explosion of chocolate with vanilla ice cream …. $6.95).
I found CAPO'S to be really enjoyable. The wait-staff was competent and friendly! The owners, Dominic and Niko Santucci have succeeded in making their restaurant a delicious and fun experience…which is no wonder since they owned and operated several extremely successful restaurants in the Chicago area for many years!
You should go. Soon. Before somebody bumps you off!
And tell ‘em Loretta sentcha!
CAPO'S ITALIAN CUISINE
5795 W Tropicana between Decatur and Jones
Las Vegas Restaurant Insider Editor
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