There are no other restaurants in Las Vegas, as elevated as the award-winning Top of the World, at about 800 feet, located at the Stratosphere Hotel & Tower. The fine dining restaurant always surprises with something new to offer or see from the revolving space. Every 80 minutes the restaurant completes 360 degrees rotation overlooking the Las Vegas valley. My recent visit was no different and the Chef’s tasting menu included a few welcomed surprises.
Executive Chef Rick Giffen, is as both personable, as he is skilled at running the lunch, dinner and culinary services for the Stratosphere. He brings 26 years of hotel restaurant culinary experience to his role and has opened more than 40 restaurants worldwide.
A unique tasting menu was delivered personally by Chef Giffen. He asked what I enjoyed about each dish, while pointing out key ingredients that make his menu selections different.
The tastes range from some items popular in the US, while incorporating flavors from Asia and Europe. Some Chef’s like to keep things simple, while others, like Chef Giffen, push taste buds to experience something new and hopefully delicious.
What’s new and delicious is exactly why I went to the Top of the World recently. Since my last visit to the Stratosphere Tower, several new rides were added, including the Sky Jump. The Sky Jump consists of a harness, with two guide wires that control a person’s descent, while facing South of the Las Vegas Strip. The wires and jumpers can be seen from inside of the Top of the World Restaurant.
Chef Giffen made sure to mention it upon my arrival and there are a few signs mentioning jumpers. The menu items for dinner and dessert have changed significantly since my last visit, too
There is a four course tasting menu with a few options, many more steak selections, seafood choices and entrée items, that I haven’t sampled before. The Chef asked if I wanted to order specific items off of the menu or roll the dice on items he wanted me to try. I opted to roll the dice and allow the Chef’s selection to start sending out sample dishes.
The first course was an appetizer of grilled Portobello mushrooms, roasted red pepper, buffalo mozzarella dressed with herb oil and balsamic reduction surrounding it. This is a good option for an appetizer for two, as it has two layers of the same ingredients.
I’m a fan of buffalo mozzarella and balsamic reduction. This is a sweet and savory start to dinner, but there are many below worthy as well.
Second course was a beautifully plated beef tenderloin carpaccio of Australian wagyu filet, Parmesan Reggiano cheese flakes, topped with capers and fragrant white truffle oil. Be careful with the beef carpaccio, because it disappears fast. Non-fans of mushrooms or grilled peppers, this is a great option for an appetizer for two.
The next course the Chef sent out was the crab cake. Some crab cakes are small, but this one was definitely large enough to be shared. It came with a green papaya salad and lemon grass beurre blanc sauce. This was a good course, but the beef carpaccio was the winner of the three so far.
The Chef asked if I didn’t like any ingredients or if I was allergic to anything. I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of beets, but forgot to say something about blue cheese. Well, wouldn’t you know it, but a salad course came out next with Maytag blue cheese.
I was hesitant at first, but the cubed Nueske bacon and oven-roasted tomatoes with white wine Dijon vinaigrette, balanced out the blue cheese to my amazement. I will order a full iceberg wedge salad on my next visit, just because the bacon cubes were so good. This salad is recommended because it had a surprisingly mild blue cheese and the bacon is not to be missed.
The fifth course included small samples of the Colorado rack of lamb, with Moroccan couscous, small slices of California Muscovy duck breast on baby bok choy drizzled with orange and lime hoisin sauce, and a seared Mediterranean sea bass. I’m not the biggest fan of lamb, but the texture of this sample was like that of a slightly smoother beef.
The Moroccan couscous was fluffy and complemented the meat well. The seared sea bass with garlic spinach was good and I could imagine enjoying a larger piece as a main entrée. Finally, the California Muscovy duck breast was super smooth and could be cut with a fork.
The last entrée course was a plate of roasted pork belly with chimichurri, sriracha, drizzled in demi-glace. Accompanying it, were two seared sea scallops with foie gras in the center. The roasted pork belly was rich, so be ready to share this course with another person, it’s that good.
The two seared sea scallops were perfectly cooked, however the foie gras was a little different than what I’ve had before. Foie gras is an acquired taste and so those who do enjoy it, will like the transition of taste and texture from the scallops, to the pureed duck liver center.
The dessert menu at the Top of the World will be changing in a few weeks as well as a few entrees, for each new season. The desserts I enjoyed were as good as the entrée samples, which included cheesecake lollipops, crème brulee, banana bread pudding and a flowerless chocolate lava cake. The banana bread pudding and flowerless chocolate lava cake were tied for being my favorite. However, all of the desserts were good. I’m interested in finding out which desserts get swapped out for new ones.
Seeing a jumper ride the Sky Jump, observing a few helicopters pass by, enjoying great service from the wait staff, while experiencing a completely new menu, are just a few reasons to visit the Top of the World Restaurant at the Stratosphere, Hotel & Tower Las Vegas.
Thanks to The Stratosphere for inviting me to experience a chef’s dinner tasting menu. There is no other place like the Top of the World Restaurant, in all of Las Vegas, Nevada and that is a difficult thing to say in the reality of $10,000,000,000 mega Strip hotels. Photo credit: Bill Cody
Bill Cody is an entertainment, technology and luxury travel reporter in Las Vegas. He reports on celebrities, events, tech, food, Las Vegas and luxury travel.
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