Four Seasons (last visit: May 2009).
The Verandah is Four Season's version of a hotel café. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. I've eaten there for breakfast.
The breakfast menu offers simple American favorites - pancakes, French toast, waffles, hash - plus a couple of ethnic dishes, such as huevos rancheros. Lunch gets a little more ambitious, and at dinner time the menu switches to an Italian theme.
Colors are mostly a range of browns, with lots of wood. Seating is available both indoors and outdoors. While I indoor seating is pleasant and relaxed, outdoors is even nicer. It's near the hotel pool, and a waterfall provides soothing background noise.
Service was friendly and efficient. I can't describe this very well, but I had a good feeling about the restaurant. Everything just worked smoothly.
For my first visit, I chose an often recommend dish: corned beef and pastrami hash, two eggs, and crisp potatoes. It started out with a layer of finely shredded potatoes - actually more like thin spaghetti than shreds - fried crisp. Next, a thick layer of hash. Lastly, two eggs, any style; I chose scrambled.
The hash consisted of a thick layer of finely minced corned beef and pastrami. It was delicious; somehow I managed to finish the gargantuan portion. The crunchy potatoes shreds were an excellent foil to the smooth hash, although they were a challenge to get onto my fork. The only disappointing item was the eggs. They were overly firm and lacking in character. However, that's a minor quibble. I would recommend this dish to anyone.
I also ordered a latte. It came with a small biscuit that was a cross between pistachio biscotti and shortbread. Slightly sweet, it was a good foil to the coffee.
The next trip, I ordered cheese blintzes with wild cherry cinnamon compote and sour cream:
Three small to medium size blintzes contained a cheese filling that was creamy smooth, yet still retained some texture from cottage cheese curds. It had barely a touch of sweetness; just right! Even the wrapper (in essence, a crepe) was excellent. I don't like sweet accompaniments to my blintzes, but the cherry compote was very good: flavorful; not too sweet, not too sour. These were the best blintzes I've had at a restaurant in recent memory - certainly much better than the lame excuses found at Strip delicatessens.
The only jarring note to the meal was the decaf coffee. It was so strong, with such a burnt flavor, that it made Starbucks coffee seem like dish water by comparison. Adding large amounts of sugar and cream didn't really help. I hope this was just an aberration.
After two meals, I'm ready to place The Verandah on my list of top breakfast spots. Its menu doesn't appeal to me as much as that at my top choices - Bouchon and Tableau - and the overall feel of the place also isn't quite as inviting, but the combination of excellent food, good service, and pleasing atmosphere make it a winner.
The meals were both about $21, plus tax and tip.
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