I got the Groupon on a whim, because I saw it as a challenge. According to the reviews a là Groupon, this is an outstanding restaurant – “The Best Restaurant in Summerlin” it said.
Okay. I’ll bite.
So this last Sunday I used my Groupon and visited Embers Grille & Spirits, located in Boca Park. I arrived very early, so missed the after-church crowds which always mob restaurants after services. The menu was expansive, but not overly so. In my opinion, the prices were reasonable with the exception of the drink menu. However, I’ve finally come to realize that no matter how much I may rant about them, restaurants will always charge extortion-level prices for their wines and beers. Oh well.
I ordered the Seared Ahi Tuna Salad and a Double Daddy Imperial IPA. I thought that since they had such an expansive beer list – note to self: take pics of the menu next time – that I’d feed off of my Beer Festival adventures of the day before and enjoy something different. If I had decided to have wine, I probably would have gone with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling. I wanted something that would pair well and bring good acidity to the fish and vinaigrette. The salad had perfectly seared pieces of tuna, cherry tomato, fingerling potato, hard-cooked egg, still-crunchy green beans, and an interesting Kalamata Olive vinaigrette. The potatoes were chilled and just a bit al dente, not mushy as I was expecting. Perfect with that dish.
I cleaned the plate. It was really good.
Because I’m still an infant in the world of pairing beer and food, I still felt that I could have done a better job in this regard. Whereas I would have ordered an austere (as in unoaked or lightly oaked) white wine with this meal, the IPA, as it turned out, was only an okay pairing.
After the Beer Festival adventures and tasting a couple of IPAs that were lighter in color and had mouthwatering acidity, this IPA was amber in color with a cream-colored head. As soon as I tasted it, I instantly regretted not ordering the Steak Salad, which probably would have been spot on. That said, it was still tasty. Rich, hoppy, and mouthfilling, this would have been great on a summer day with something from the grill! The 8.5% abv is meaningless with this style of beer; the bottle was large and I finished the entire thing, which is something I rarely do with wine.
Because the salad wasn’t completely filling, I ordered the Warm Chocolate Cake with Tahitian Vanilla Gelato. The beer was great with the chocolate! And the dessert was delicious. One word of warning – because each dessert is made to order, I had to wait a while before it was delivered, but as promised, it was warm.
While I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to declare this the best restaurant in Summerlin – or even declare that it’s not – I enjoyed my brief interlude at Embers. My economics, both in time and in money won’t allow me to go the every single restaurant in Summerlin to test the veracity of such a claim. Nevertheless, the atmosphere, the attention to detail, the friendly staff, and the menu variety and price makes a place where’d I’d go with friends. And that is the measure of a good restaurant.
(Note added later – Unfortunately, my review system won’t let me give 1/2 stars, which I’d love to be able to do. In my world, 3 to 3.5 stars means that it’s a nice experience, just not a great or outstanding one. Go to Embers. You’ll enjoy it.)