Wynn Las Vegas (last visit: April 2006).
This is Wynn's upscale Chinese restaurant. It's named after Mr. Wynn, in some fashion or other.
Wing Lei offers some familiar dishes, and some not so familiar. A page focusing on Cantonese specialties includes such ingredients as beef tendon, belly pork, jelly fish, fish maw, and goose web. Prices range from moderate (many entrees are around $30) to immoderate (Australian Coral Cod runs $99/pound).
The atmosphere is formal. Red and gold abounds. The carpet is a mix of cream, gray, black, and light blue. Moderately soft music (sometimes Chinese, sometimes not) plays in the background. The view outside is of two gnarled (pomegranate?) trees and a large sculpture that might be a Botero. On my table was a single red rose in an igloo-like base. Chop sticks and flatware are gold.
I began with the Wing Lei Sampler. Prawns with black bean sauce consisted of two large shrimp, barely cooked through, with a mild sauce; pretty good. Minced squab in lettuce cups was just that: minced squab and mushrooms with a small amount of sauce that must have included Hoisin sauce. A thin vegetable spring roll was crisp and very good. Overall, a good appetizer, albeit not very adventurous.
The adventurous part would be my entree. I decided to try something a little different. Braised Pork Belly is the same cut of pork used in bacon. Served in chunks about 1.5 inches square and a quarter inch thick, it was braised in some sort of flavorful liquid, and had the appearance of warm raw bacon, somewhat darkened by the sauce. Ah, but looks can be deceiving. It was quite flavorful, and just chewy enough to be pleasing. Accompanying it were slices of shiitake mushroom and chunks of daikon and bamboo shoot. A very interesting, very good dish. If you're a little adventurous, and can get past the thought of chewing hunks of bacon fat, I'd recommend it highly.
Dessert would be more familiar. Chocolate Dome was well named. Dark chocolate ganache covered a hemispherical chocolate nut center - similar to mousse, but thicker. A little creme anglaise and chocolate sauce covered the plate. Very good, but then I'm a chocoholic.
With dessert, a little tea. Wing Lei offers a menu of teas that are lovingly described. Now, my knowledge of tea ends with green-versus-black, but it was fun to read the descriptions, and try and figure out what each tea would be like. I finally settled on Ti Kuan Yin, the "Ultimate Oolong. Picked by trained monkeys." It had a pleasant aroma, good, light flavor, and none of the bitterness I associate with tea (but then, when I make tea, I get out my box of 3 year old tea bags, and stick the bag in a cup of boiling water until I remember to remove it). Now about those trained monkeys: I have a feeling there might have been a slight problem in the translation to English. As I understand it "monkey picked" is the term, and it refers to a top quality grade.
Based on conflicting reviews on the web, I hadn't been sure what to expect. Perhaps one review got it right, when it stated that some of the specialties were excellent, while some of the standard Chinese choices were no better than you'd get at a carry out. All I know for sure is that my meal at Wing Lei was very satisfying.
The meal was $65, plus drinks, tax and tip.
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