I was sitting at the bar, finishing the last bites of my favorite plate of food up until now this year– abundant sweetbreads, a funky ingredient with an impossibly tidy taste, decorated with grilled romaine hearts, smoky bacon, sweet English peas and a silky fond blanc sauce ($21)– and feeling normally blown away by the general experience at Sparrow + Wolf, when the Jay-Z/Timbaland track “Jigga Exactly what, Jigga Who” unexpectedly began. It was like the chefs prepared it, a sonic digestif of confidence if not full-scale bravado. A knife drop.
This is definitely the coolest dining establishment in Las Vegas at the moment, the location where on any provided night you’ll discover wild regional foodies, F&B industry pros of every level and savvy Vegas visitors, however not even if of the food or the music. It’s really amazing how well-rounded the Sparrow + Wolf experience is at this early stage, having opened in late May in a former pho parlor on Spring Mountain Road. It’s the 3rd website chef and owner Brian Howard chose for his first restaurant, after two Downtown spots didn’t come together. Often things just work out, however, and the Sparrow area’s substantial centerpiece cooking area, tight, buzzy dining-room and sizzling Chinatown area represent an ideal canvas for Howard’s edgy food.
Start with an equally innovative drink, maybe the Spring Mountain Sour with Suntory Toki whiskey, yuzu and beet foam, or the wild Where There’s Smoke, Del Maguey Vida mezcal cleaned in pork fat with tomatillo and pineapple. If you were a fan of sharing cooled seafood or charcuterie plates at Howard’s last home, the previous Comme Ça at the Cosmopolitan, you remain in luck– the Bento Box ($75) assembles oysters and other shellfish with treated meats and terrines for the supreme group appetiser. You’ll likewise want to start with the simple hearth-baked bread with butter and sea salt ($5), and an early preferred meal, Chinatown Clams Casino ($7.50 each), topped with the Chinese sausage lap cheong, shiitake mushroom and sea urchin Hollandaise.
This cooking isn’t as complicated as it might sound. Howard is understood for using unique components and exotic flavors and loading a great deal of method into each plate, however you’re here to consume, so the method is less important than the results, which need no translation. There’s nothing confusing about the deliciousness of tiger shrimp in nutty cascabel chile butter ($19) or meaty, decadent black cod dressed in citrus and velvety, spicy Alabama white barbecue sauce ($22). As if we weren’t finished with summer season currently, we’re actually hoping fall begins quickly, so we have a reason to continue feasting on the lamb Bolognese udon ($16), an over-the-top mashup of Mediterranean and Asian tastes and textures.
Sparrow + Wolf intends to redefine rustic, making every meal into home cooking with modern appeal. This is also the territory of chef de cuisine Justin Kingsley Hall, whose uncomplicated style is the ideal foil for Howard’s ambitious tendencies; see Hall’s thoughtful, easy technique in the artichoke over white bean hummus curtained in fresh herbs ($14). More collective dishes are in the works– this menu was designed to evolve. For now, standouts consist of the Campfire Duck ($34), breast with foie gras, wood ear mushroom, salted cucumber and a bold plum and duck bone broth; and the addicting, ultra-rich beef cheek and bone marrow dumpling ($14).
Excessive expensive food talk? I understand. Sit at the bar, split the utterly elegant meat stack aptly named the Big Ass Pork Shank ($27) with capers and teardrop peppers, and round off with the calamansi tart with blueberry and vanilla merengue. You’ll be back, so you can eat and drink depending on your mood. That’s another thing that makes a restaurant cool.
Sparrow + Wolf 4480 Spring Mountain Road # 100, 702-790-2147. Sunday, Monday & & Wednesday, 5-11 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.