Searsucker plays with inventive dishes
Legendary Caesars Palace is a mecca for celebrity chefs and iconic restaurants, ranging from culinary luminaries Guy Savoy, Bobby Flay and Gordon Ramsay to iconic haunts such as Rao’s, Old Homestead Steakhouse and Mr Chow in an impressive ensemble. In this collection of destination dining—right off the casino floor, in fact—is Searsucker from Hakkasan Group. And this hidden gem shouldn’t be overlooked.
Searsucker is a concept originally founded in San Diego by Brian Malarkey of Top Chef fame. And while Malarkey divested himself of day-to-day involvement in the concept earlier this year, the venue is still thriving after his departure. You need look no further than a yellowtail crudo starter as an indication of Searsucker’s continued success, a crisp seafood presentation balancing citrus undertones with hints of heat, neither of which overwhelm the delicate fish. Equally as inviting is the modestly named Toast, layering ale-cured salmon, tangy lemon ricotta, crispy capers and sharp dill for a New York deli-esque treat Katz’s would be proud of.
The restaurant’s strength is its diversity, delivering across varying cuisines and cooking styles. Asian influences are apparent in both lightly fried chile-glazed calamari, stacked amongst apple slivers for a contrast in textures, and crispy, salted pigs’ ears, delivered in a whimsical Chinese takeout presentation. More classic presentations include buttery bone marrow, accented by a Fresno chile bourbon glaze, and the Searsucker Caesar, a straightforward play on the classic with baby gem lettuce adorned with Parmesan croutons and highlighted by a fragrant Caesar dressing.
A refreshing reprieve from the sometimes oppressive Vegas heat is the shrimp and melon salad, where sweet compressed melon and tomatoes are accented by jumbo shrimp. A little more substantial is a flattened brick chicken, smoke-laden charred skin embracing juicy fowl beneath. And here’s an insider’s tip: While buttered potatoes are a side typically only served with the lobster, those in the know will request them anyway, as the buttery treats are a welcome addition to any meal.
The same goes for libations, with Searsucker’s program anchored by a quartet of Old Fashioned cocktails. The offerings include a classic varietal, along with a spicy rendition called the Hot n’ Bothered heated with Hellfire bitters. But most memorable is the PB and J Old Fashioned with peanut-infused Maker’s Mark, tropical-tinged Fassionola syrup and strawberry/orange bitters. Best of all, it’s garnished with miniature PB and J sandwich on a skewer—because Vegas!
Saving room for dessert, a Searsucker mainstay is the cookies and milk, with warm chocolate chip cookies adorned with sea salt served straight from the oven, alongside a refreshing glass of cold milk. It’s just like Mom used to make! They’re even better when served with the daily scoop, a constantly rotating selection of cold treats sourced from a local specialty maker, which, on a recent visit, included smoked maple and bacon fat ice creams—separate flavors, although the combination would be epic—a vegan coconut gelato and even a slightly tart yogurt. All provide a welcome finish to a delicious evening.
Caesars Palace, opens at 5 p.m. daily, brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun. 702.866.1800