There’s a new restaurant focusing on local, quality ingredients. The style is heavily French with a modern twist. And the food is delicious. Now tell me where the restaurant is located. On the Strip, right? Or how about Summerlin? Maybe it’s somewhere in trendy Downtown? The answer is Boulder City, and the restaurant is Scratch House. The chef is Silviu Briceag, whose background is as interesting as the plates he presents. Before his culinary career, he was an economist in his home country of Romania. Thankfully, he fell in love with cooking, trained in some of the finer pubs of England and moved to Toulouse, where he honed in on classical French techniques. What comes out of his kitchen honors those traditions with wrinkles that make the food his own. Believe it, Vegas. This place is worth the trip.
Scratch House 1300 Arizona St., Boulder City, 702-754-1300. Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Cranberry Infused Fried Brie
It’s listed in the “to share” section, but honestly, you’ll want to eat it all. It’s like mozzarella sticks for the Hamptons. Upscale fried cheese! The Brie is filled with cranberries, then panko crusted and lightly fried. The delicate cranberry sauce on the plate takes it over the top. ($21.99)
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
Normally at a restaurant like this, I go for steak, but this was my favorite entrée. You couldn’t possibly cook a piece of fish better, with a crispy crust and flaky body. Tarragon new potatoes bulk up the plate. The crawfish beurre blanc, full of butter and saffron, is decadent. Acidic confit red peppers cleanse the palate, getting you ready for your next bite. ($25.99)
Signature Filet Mignon
This is 8 ounces of high-quality, grass-fed beef, so it’s amazing that Briceag has managed to make the other components worthy focal points of the plate. The wild mushrooms have a wonderfully firm yet approachably soft texture. The parsnip purée is creamy and gives needed starchiness. And the blackberry bigarade sauce could win a competition, sweet and unique. ($38.40)
I’ve never tried a dessert like this before. A caramel pineapple meringue is light as air, with caramel rum sauce, chantilly cream and homemade vanilla ice cream. It’s a must-try. ($6.99)
Beautifully simple, and that texture ... so smooth. The three flavors rotate depending what the chef finds in season. Raspberry has some nice sweetness. Passion fruit gives you a tart opposite. And four fruit (which is really five fruits) combines lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange and banana. It’s the best of the three. ($4.45)