For his most ambitious Vegas restaurant yet, celebrity chef Bobby Flay has ventured off-Strip to join the revamped Palms. With Shark, Flay applies his signature, Latin-inspired flavors to seafood and sushi. His menu samples a variety of spices, adding depth without sending smoke out diners’ noses.
The menu mostly comprises shareable plates, except for a few truly grand entrées (whole grilled lobster, wild striped bass and a 36-ounce Porterhouse, for example). Our server recommend eating the food in a specific order: from cold to hot, mild to spicy. That means you can expect to taste the ceviche and sushi (by chef Kiyotaka Jet Asano) first.
For something different, try the mackerel sashimi ($8), which benefits from a three-hour salt rub followed by a 30-minute rice-wine vinegar soak. Shark elevates the crowd-pleasing rock shrimp tempura sushi roll with aji amarillo chiles ($16). Each of the two ceviches boasts its own special chile. The bluefin tuna ($21) gets the more traditional treatment with serrano chiles, avocado and cilantro, while the server-recommended yellowtail ceviche ($19) is bathed in a sauce made from charred pineapple, chile de arbol and bitter greens.
The signature items bring together all of Shark’s influences, celebrating the sea’s bounty by way of grilled octopus, black cod, scallops with panca chile, roasted salmon with yellow chile-ponzu dressing and tuna tartare with Peruvian chile sauce. Other dishes highlight Flay’s twist on Latin flavors. The crushed avocado ($16) is like a deconstructed guacamole, featuring an outstanding pistachio-serrano chile pesto.
The warmest and spiciest of the dishes, tacos ($17-$24) come last. Save room for the pillowy fresh-made blue corn tortillas and layers of bright flavors. The tortilla-maker works in the dining room, like the sushi chef, allowing for a special connection between guest and food preparation.
For dessert, don’t skip the tres leches cake ($14), which actually uses four milks: coconut, almond, soy and evaporated. It’s topped off by a sweet burnt tangerine caramel sauce.
SHARK Palms, 702-942-7777. Sunday-Wednesday, 5-10:30 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 5-11 p.m.