Friday, March 1, 2013

Eat: D.O.C.G. in Las Vegas

With all of the trials and tribulations we had in Vegas, we didn't have the opportunity to try as many restaurants as we had originally planned. There were some ups and downs with the places we did get to try but on the bright side, if we ever do go back, we will know what places are a sure bet and which ones to avoid.

Courtesy of D.O.C.G.

Our first meal in Vegas was on a Thursday night at  D.O.C.G. in the Cosmopolitan Hotel, which was where we stayed. We were psyched to try this place because we were intrigued by Scott Conant (from all his appearances on the Food Network) and our inclination towards Italian food, especially Roman. To start our meal, we ordered a board of cheese and salumi. The ingredients were good quality but we found that both the cheese and meat were served at too cold a temperature, which muted/dulled some of the flavour. The wine menu was very extensive, as well as exPensive. We opted for a bottle of Mazzei Badiola, a bottle we normally get for 18$ at home. I was loath to pay 70$ US for the bottle, but it was one of the most affordable bottles on the menu and we knew it would be a sure bet. It was indeed a delicious bottle of wine.

For my main, I ordered the margherita pizza with bufala mozzarella & tomatoes, a plate that had many rave reviews & photos online. I was expecting great things, which is why I was so extremely disappointed to find the pizza was both burnt (bitter tasting) and soggy at the same time. The sauce was lacklustre, the cheese flavorless. I don't get looks so pretty, so deceiving! I ate 1/4 of the pizza but I couldn't bring myself to eat much more, which is unheard for me (I love me some pizza). Marc didn't even touch my leftovers, which is very telling.

For his main, Marc chose the maccheroni with polpettine & home style sugo as a primi, and the 13 oz. berkshire pork chop with glazed balsamic reduction and a side of polenta as his secondi. All of these plates came at the same time, so I guess the service staff wasn't familiar with the concept of primi/secondi, which is surprising considering they are emulating Roman style dining. The maccheroni was by far the best thing on the table as the pasta was fresh and homemade; it had the al dente bite that was promised by the waiter. The sauce was nothing special, creamy, flat tasting tomato sauce (almost like a rose, not sure if there was dairy added) and the polpettine were a bit rubbery. As for his secondi, Marc was served puree potatoes instead of polenta. Not a big deal, but when we asked the waiter about this he didn't seem too sure himself if it was polenta or potato. He did eventually return with an identical bowl filled with a mush so loose, bland and white that we weren't sure if we had received a second helping of potatoes until Marc tasted it and confirmed a corn-like flavour. It resembled grits more than Italian polenta. Needless to say, most of the polenta went to waste. Marc seemed to enjoy the pork chop; I had a bite and thought it was a bit dry but it was better than my meal.

I sound harsh. I'm not trying to be mean about it, but I'm just really disappointed by the food quality. I was excited to try this restaurant, and I felt gyped that we used up one of three dinner opportunites in Vegas on a pizza so bland and poorly executed that it left me wondering how so many people could give it such a solid review. Are my standards too high or did I get quality control issue in the kitchen? Regardless, I won't be going back to find out.

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