Named after Columbian Artist Fernando Botero, Botero restaurant is a young, modern steakhouse. Run by Chef Mark LoRusso, formerly of Wynn Las Vegas' Tableau, Botero Steak is sexy, sleek and sophisticated.
When you walk into the restaurant off the Encore shopping Esplanade, you lose the bustle of the busy corridor and enter an energetic, modern restaurant. The moderately dim lighting softens the room, as do the curves of the circular restaurant.
Whimsical touches like the curvature of the chairs on the patio and the bar's built-in shelving playfully scaling the wall and extending overhead on the ceiling give Botero a unique, distinct talking point.
The center of the restaurant features a large Botero sculpture of "The Seated Lady", formerly gracing the dining room of Wing Lei at Wynn Las Vegas. The lady also has a drink named after her, made with a crystallized rose petal, sparkling rose, rose nectar and St. Germain.
Dishes are divided into categories like "farms and fields" and "childhood redux" but starters include a very nice Caesar salad with crouton bagel chips and crispy anchovy filets. A molded crab tasting includes crab two ways, roasted Alaskan crab in a scampi sauce served hot, and a Dungeness crab salad, topped with thinly sliced avocado.
Hot appetizers include a flavorful wild mushroom tart, with gruyere cheese and flaky pastry, a great way to start your meal on a chilly winter evening.
Various cuts of beef like the bone-in filet, New York strip steak and Bone-in ribeye come three ways: pepper steak, chimichurri and traditional. If you're feeling a bit more indulgent, try the six-ounce Japanese Kobe beef steak, and be prepared to be wowed.
In addition to meat options, seafood like olive oil poached halibut, Dover sole and pinwheel of salmon, with butternut squash and apple risotto are all fabulous.
Extras include a rich and creamy truffle macaroni and cheese. And, while many restaurants are now serving their own versions of truffle macaroni and cheese, this is one of the best I have tasted. The underbelly is rich, creamy and gooey, while the top is lightly toasted for texture. Other options for sides include tater tots, botero fries, fire and ice carrots, vanilla scented yams with marshmallows and roasted bone marrow served with onion jam. A word of caution, if ordering the bone marrow, dine early, as the kitchen can run out toward the end of the evening.
Desserts are as playful as the décor, like make your own ice cream, served on a palette with various "paints" or toppings to mix in.
The restaurant overlooks Encore's pool, and connects to the resort's nightclub, XS. Together, the restaurant and the nightclub, work harmoniously to provide guests with a more casual place to dine and a place to party.
-- Review by Nikki Neu