So this is a bit of a surprise. After celeb chef Brian Malarkey’s first Vegas restaurant/Hakkasan Group collaboration brought cozy, casual, pre-club dining room Searsucker to Caesars Palace, we were expecting more of the same from Malarkey’s ocean-oriented Herringbone. When we realized the Herringbone space was being built out upstairs at Aria, where a forgotten lounge once stood, we didn’t know what to expect. And when we discovered former Nove Italiano chef Geno Bernardo was returning to Vegas to run the kitchen, we knew the food would probably be great.
But it’s better than great, and Herringbone, with its lounge-style dining room and crisp, sun-soaked patio, is one of the most relaxed restaurant experiences on the Strip. Already.
At dinner, Herringbone’s menu is divided into dishes from the raw bar, salads, hot and cold appetizers, fish entrées, land entrées and sides. If you’re a seafood lover, pick your main first—and consider the simply grilled catch of the day, an unbelievably juicy piece of swordfish on my most recent trip—and then go heavy on the small stuff. The mix of East and West Coast oysters are a must, and so is the tuna poke ($22), served with brilliantly chewy green-onion pancakes instead of the typical crispy wonton. The beautiful crudo selection is another easy win, but the hot small plates are just as captivating: grilled baby octopus ($18); crispy calamari with peppers and lemon ($16); meatballs in pork gravy with whipped ricotta ($16). The burrata ($19) isn’t so much a salad as a build-your-own open-faced sandwich extravaganza with prosciutto di parma and roasted tomatoes on grilled bread.
If you were a regular at Nove during Bernardo’s tenure, you’ll be pleased to see his signature seafood spaghetti ($45)—spicy tomato sauce with lobster, crab, scallop, shrimp and squid—is faithfully replicated here. There’s whole grilled branzino ($45) with shaved fennel salad or the California version, white sea bass ($38) with root veggies and truffle vinaigrette. If you don’t love seafood, you’ll be just fine at Herringbone, but it’d be a lot cooler if you did. They have a couple of steaks, a Colorado lamb rack ($52) and a roasted chicken with panzanella salad ($34).
And there’s lunch! Herringbone does a great lunch, mixing those raw dishes and hot appetizers with salads and sandwiches like chicken parm ($19), a classic Italian hoagie ($18) and the soon-to-be legendary carbonara burger ($21). The patio has quickly become a Strip hot spot at lunch, and it’s only the beginning ... brunch is coming soon.
Herringbone Aria, 877-230-2742. Monday-Thursday & Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.