The new David Clawson Restaurant in Anthem Village, the southeastern tip of the Valley, is worth the potential road trip no matter where you reside. What makes this spot, run by a Vegas newcomer, a must-visit? The combination of a unique concept and precision execution.
Clawson’s lineup eschews traditional appetizer, entrée and dessert menu groupings for shared plates designated by their primary ingredient or style of preparation, with simple names such as Oyster and Duck. Each dish has individual, thoughtful pairing options, ranging from beer and wine to sake for an additional $3-$12 for 2-ounce pours. But unlike those concise descriptions, the dishes themselves offer grandiose presentation.
Take for instance, Crab ($14). Simply the best crab cake I’ve had west of the Chesapeake, the pan-fried patty rife with lump crab meat and Old Bay and hardly a hint of filler will make you swear you’re in the Old Line State. Sausage ($8) presents a house-made chicken, pork and veal boudin blanc swimming in a complex cider cream, while Rice ($9) is an epiphany, a riff on risotto with sweet, briny uni intertwined with salmon atop creamy reggiano-tinged rice.
Certainly, some dishes excel more than others. Bread ($4) with rich Plugrá butter is good but unnecessary. Chicken ($8) atop green chile macaroni is a safe dish mixed among more adventurous choices. Scallop ($9) is an interesting visual sushi presentation, though finger lime overwhelms the otherwise subtle bivalve.
Instead, check out Noodles ($6), aptly described with “garlic and more garlic,” house-made lo mein turned into a buttery extravaganza you’ll need to share. Vegetable ($8) is a bright presentation of crisp asparagus layering Meyer lemon foam and pasta with sharp Parmesan. Salmon ($10) creatively combines house-smoked lox with dollops of mustard vinaigrette. Mustard on your salmon? Trust in Clawson.
Service is friendly, even if pacing can be a bit unwieldy at times, with multiple dishes arriving simultaneously. I’m confident this kitchen, still in its infancy, will find itself in short order. Focus instead on presentations, which are artistic without being overly ornate. From an amuse bouche of salmon belly perched atop a salt slab to bite-sized, basil-infused white chocolate truffles, a meal here is a whirlwind of delicious photo ops, particularly if you’re perched at the bar, where you can witness cold dish preparations.
David Clawson Restaurant is already an approachable, refined experience with a vibe somewhat reminiscent of the gone-but-not-forgotten Rosemary’s, which originally elevated the local dining scene. I just wish it was in my neighborhood.
David Clawson Restaurant 2840 Bicentennial Parkway, 702-466-2190. Tuesday-Saturday, 5-9:30 p.m.