When Stephen Blandino left Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons to open his debut restaurant, Americana in Desert Shores, we couldn’t wait to see what the Staten Island-born chef would do with full creative control, from kitchen to table.
Blandino learned about fine dining from the master, having also worked under Palmer at Aureole in New York City and Las Vegas, and it shows at his new off-Strip destination. As owner and chef of Americana, Blandino combines decades of passionate cooking into his contemporary American concept—and the view isn’t bad, either.
Americana is tucked away in the lakefront plaza that also houses Marché Bacchus, and its quaint and sparkling patio is reason enough to visit. But the ambitious spins on classic dishes are equally memorable. Blandino references techniques from around the world—including his Italian grandmothers’—combining traditional home cooking with a refined culinary perspective. From the Hudson Valley foie gras terrine ($18) with fig jam, bitter chocolate and warm brioche to the chef’s favorite—the bone-in ribeye ($52)—every item on the thoughtful menu feels worth ordering.
Upscale white linens and floor-to-ceiling windows suggest you start with Champagne. Get a chilled glass and an order of market-fresh oysters ($21) before moving on to the Japanese Wagyu-wrapped bigeye tuna ($18). Thinly sliced, deliciously marbled beef enhances thick, tender chunks of ruby-red tuna, while avocado mousse, sweet tangerine and briny ponzu caviar deliver decadence and brightness. Sticking with the seafood theme, each bite of Americana’s grilled octopus ($15) is cooked to tender, smoky, perfection.
The New York strip ($47) is another crowd pleaser. Served with rich and meaty bone marrow and creamy Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, this dish will satisfy even the most insatiable carnivore.
There’s nothing overzealous in Americana’s approach. Combined with Desert Shores’ picturesque atmosphere, Blandino’s creative hand brings a new and exciting adventure to the neighborhood.
Americana 2620 Regatta Drive #118, 702-331-5565. Tuesday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.