Wynn Las Vegas Magazine by MODERN LUXURY

Wynn - 2011 - Issue 2 - Fall

Wynn Magazine - Las Vegas

Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/39920

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Page 61 of 123

FOOD SPOTLIGHT roll and glazed oyster mushroom standing in for eel at Wazuzu A vegan burger meal; mushroom avocado from below left: Orleans–inspired rubs at The Country Club, Gardein stands in for the sliced sirloin in what would otherwise be a classic steak salad. And at Wynn's popular casual Italian eatery, Stratta, Ronnen uses Gardein in place of veal to make a crispy Milanese almost indistinguishable from the original. Despite the obvious talent it takes to achieve these sophisti- cated dishes, Ronnen is equally proud of the burger he created, also using Gardein, that looks deliciously like an old-fashioned burger and which is served with skinny fries and a chocolate shake made from coconut and soy milk at Terrace Point Café, Zoozacrackers, Society Café Encore, Tableau and The Country Club as well as in-room dining. While these substitutions are relatively straightforward, Ronnen's true sorcery can be appreciated in dishes such as those he came up with for Wazuzu, the popular pan-Asian restaurant at Encore. Here, Ronnen created a selection of vegan dim sum, as well as the seem- ingly impossible vegan sushi, the crowning touch being a faux glazed eel that started out as a king oyster mushroom, for which he first cut the mushroom to look like eel, and then poached it in a broth made of kombu to impart a seafood flavor and give it the distinct chewy texture of eel. Likewise, to re-create that all-American classic, the crab cake, 60 WYNN at Lakeside, Ronnen started with hearts of palm, again braising them in kombu broth, and then shredded them to give them the same texture as lump crab meat. He then used the kombu broth, along with cashew cream, as a base for clam chowder, where smoked oyster mushrooms stand in for clams for their same smooth, chewy texture, and give the chowder the smoky flavor it would traditionally get from bacon. But creating vegan dishes can also be very simple, and Ronnen is the first to remind us that plant-based proteins, most notably beans, are a staple and principal source of protein in some parts of the world. In that vein, Ronnen added white-bean puree to a plate of oven-roasted broc- coli with grilled artichoke hearts at SW, thereby turning a vegetable med- ley into a hearty meal. At The Country Club, he rests a rich and flavorful truffled mushroom and potato napoleon on a bed of lentil puree to make it a complete dish. "You always have to have a protein," Ronnen says. "Without a protein, the diner won't feel satisfied. "David Walzog is eating vegan several days a week now at home," Ronnen adds. "Not bad for a guy who wrote The New American Steakhouse Cookbook. I don't want to do anything we're not proud of. If we haven't hit the nail on the head, we haven't added it to the menu." ■ PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALEX KARVOUNIS (BURGER); JEFF GREEN (SUSHI)

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