It’s barely been open for a month, so it’s a bit early for a full assessment of Libertine Social, the eclectic new restaurant from chef Shawn McClain and beverage titan Tony Abou-Ganim. This place, with its vast mix of dining and drinking environments and ambitious intentions, feels like it will morph as it finds its place among Mandalay Bay’s stellar restaurant row. Definitely check it out, and plan to return soon.
Libertine’s menu is supposed to be social, mostly smaller plates designed for sharing, but some are better kept to oneself. From the toast and dips section, definitely share the plentiful duck pastrami with pickled radicchio and mustard seeds on crispy rye crackers ($17) and the braised oxtail on pan de cristal crostini ($16), meaty bites that will fill you up if you overindulge. Definitely get the summery strawberry gazpacho shots with king crab ($15) while they last, and don’t feel bad about drink-eating them all. Definitely snack on the Scotch olives with lamb and feta ($9); if you’re planning on sharing mine, make other plans. The delectable flatbread pizzas? Share. Same for the sausage board ($18). Roasted fingerling potatoes ($14) dressed in pancetta and serrano ham and a soft egg are for your fork only. Side veggie dishes like gruyére-creamed kale are good to pass around, as are the few big plates, like a 10-ounce, mesquite-fired Wagyu skirt steak. And we haven’t even gotten to cocktails yet. Told ya, there’s a lot of exploration to be done here.
Libertine Social Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7558. Daily, 5-11 p.m.