Bellagio’s Harvest relies on local sources to create sustainable cuisine
Call it a farm/charm push—just in case you need a nudge to go back to the land (gastronomically speaking) in the midst of the glitziest city on earth.
“I want to celebrate the people who harvest the food for us,” says Chef Roy Ellamar, so—voila!—welcome to Harvest by Roy Ellamar at Bellagio, where the food journeys directly from the farm to your plate amid a culinary philosophy of “sustainable cuisine,” which Ellamar explains thusly: “The food is caught and raised in a sustainable manner. In our fish program, we work with the docks directly. We know who the fisherman was, where the fish came from, what time it landed.
“In the produce we use, the farmers are using organic practices. The time between when the produce is picked and delivered to us is minimized, so the vitamins and nutrients are more vibrant and accessible to us.”
Supporting local agriculture, Ellamar imports meat, poultry and vegetables from ranchers and growers throughout Nevada—including those who till soil and nurture crops in Caliente, Boulder City, Pahrump and Sandy Valley, among other numerous locales—plus Southern California and other neighboring areas. Seafood is drawn from U.S. waters, a surprisingly rare occurrence in many American cities, particularly in drier regions.
“We present it in an elegant way, but the bones of it is really simple food—a grilled steak or roasted chicken, but there’s finesse behind it,” Ellamar says. “And we try to make really good produce and vegetables and not get in the way of it by adding too much.”
Creations are simple, yet scintillating. Try digging into cocoa-rubbed lamb, grilled pork cheek, a fisherman’s stew (featuring Maine lobster and Florida gulf shrimp), slow-roasted porchetta and salt and pepper squid. However healthy the menu, it’s also eclectic.
“Our duck buns aren’t healthy, per se, but delicious—and everybody loves it,” Ellamar says. “I’m not ashamed to have those things on the menu. If you want truffles and risotto, that’s available, too.”
Don’t forget to dabble in some veggies—say, the charred Brussels sprouts with Blis maple syrup or roasted baby beets topped with spiced yogurt and pickled Asian pear. “People tell me, ‘I cannot believe these Brussels sprouts and cauliflower and this and that,’” Ellamar says. “It’s the freshness of the product and finding the ingredients that showcase it.”
Even cocktails—aka “farm-fresh libations”—hew to the Harvest theme. “We’re not necessarily highlighting the flavor of the vodka or bourbon, but the flavor of the vegetable or fruit we’re infusing inside the cocktail,” says Ryan Voss, Bellagio’s director of beverage and cocktails.
Before taste-testing the food, try sip-tasting the shareable cranberry/desert sage infusion (cranberry, persimmon, kumquat and desert sage syrup spiked with vodka). Or Beets by Roy (beet juice, mescal, lemon juice and Mandarin syrup, garnished with a goat cheese-stuffed beet cone). Or the pear harvest (pear juice from a cactus plant, vodka, pear cider and thin-sliced pears, arranged like a crème brûlée).
“Usually wine outsells cocktails two-to-one but our cocktails are neck and neck with wine by the glass,” Voss says. “Many of our guests are quite intrigued by this type of cocktail.”
While dining, keep your eyes peeled for some drive-by delicacies courtesy of a pre-entrée snack wagon. It transports from table to table small plates of treats including hanger steak, smoked salmon and pork belly. Later, a dessert wagon lures diners with an array of mini-sweets.
Taken in total, Harvest can satiate even the most sustained appetites—locally, organically and tastily.
Bellagio, 5-10 p.m. daily. 702.693.8865