Wynn Las Vegas Magazine by MODERN LUXURY

Wynn - 2013 - Issue 1 - Spring+Summer

Wynn Magazine - Las Vegas

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Page 37 of 99

PLATE ENVY LoRusso's grilled octopus at Botero includes roastedgarlic gnocchi, lemon, and arugula. Carlos Guia and Mark LoRusso share a laugh at Botero. TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS C hefs are often the toughest customers at other people's restaurants. But when there's a dish that stands out in a chef's mind, he or she is more than willing to dole out praise. Chef Carlos Guia of Country Club recently spent an evening dining at Botero, Mark LoRusso's steakhouse at Encore. It was an adverturesome tasting, including a New York strip atop a bed of shishito peppers with three sauces, creamy polenta with chanterelle mushrooms and black truffles, baby carrots and cheese-stuffed tater tots, hamachi and tuna tartare, foie gras with huckleberries—dishes that would make mere mortals swoon. For Guia, however, the standout was the grilled octopus, with roasted-garlic gnocchi and lemon. LoRusso walked Guia through his kitchen ("This kitchen is about 20 times bigger than mine," Guia said with a laugh), where the two could dish on the dish and make it together. Carlos Guia: Just the combination of flavors—the octopus is nice and tender, but there's just enough bite—and then also the grill, the char. The grill gives it a little smoke. It's just a good, well-rounded dish. Lots of different flavors. That would definitely be a repeat for me. Mark LoRusso: I'm really glad you liked this dish, because it's something I've been working on for a while. But the octopus—I was buying this really nice, fresh octopus from California, and they weren't cooking up well. I was pounding it, looking for different ways to tenderize it, but they were still not perfect. Then a fellow chef suggested I try the ones from Spain. So 36 BY GRACE BASCOS that's where they're coming from now, and it's made a world of difference. We take whole octopus, cook them in a mixture of red wine and red-wine vinegar for about an hour and a half, and then we bring it up to a boil, let it simmer for an hour and a half, real slow, then we chill it and portion it. As the final step, we grill them to order to get a nice little char on them. Kind of a Mediterranean ragu, warm up the pan. CG: Why do you think the Spanish octopus works better? ML: I think it really has to do with how they tenderize it. We were getting some beautiful ones in California and it just wasn't working out. Are you getting this octopus? CG: I'm not doing any octopus on my menu. I've done a dish that's similar, with the flavors, but not with the octopus. But I do like the bite to it, the grill on it. ML: When we grill them to order, a little makeshift grill [a grill pan on a burner] works out well for us. CG: Is this your only octopus on the menu? ML: This is our only octopus dish. When the season changes, we'll probably just change the garnish…. We add the arugula—which we want lightly wilted—salt, and pepper, and then we have some lemon confit—lemon and octopus go well together—and a few garlic chips. The garlic chips are blanched in water first, then in a little bit of milk, and then we crisp them up. We made a relatively simple dish. It really is all about cooking the octopus, and these are pretty classic combinations that you'll see: octopus, potatoes, peppers, olives. I'm really happy with the dish. I think now it will always be on the menu in some form. n PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRYAN HAINER Carlos Guia and Mark LoRusso get tangled up with some octopus. WYNN 036_W_FOB_PlateEnvy_Spring_13.indd 36 4/4/13 2:09 PM

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