By Bob Barnes
The Morton name brings to mind a legacy of iconic names that includes Morton’s Steakhouse (founded by Arnie Morton) and Hard Rock Café (founded by Peter Morton).
Las Vegas resident Michael Morton has followed in his father Arnie’s footsteps and has placed his own mark on the landscape of Las Vegas dining over the past two decades through his founding of the N9NE Group and co-founded the Morton Group with his wife Jenna, with a portfolio of restaurants that includes La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway at Wynn Las Vegas.
La Cave opened in Dec. 2010 and has become one of our favorite places to dine over the past decade, in large part to the fine-dining quality in a casual yet elegant environment. The restaurant’s name hints at a sanctuary from the hectic gaming area, and it truly is.
Design elements are intended to make you feel like you’re dining in an exclusive wine cellar and include a glass entryway, rich wood panels, wood oak flooring and Latin phrases that describe food, wine and the arts. However, I highly recommend enjoying your meal in the patio, which was recently expanded and now overlooks the Wynn pool area and offers comfortable couch-like seating and a floor-to-ceiling living wall filled with succulents.
Morton Group Corporate Executive Chef William DeMarco has designed a modern American small plates menu that is perfect for sharing and the menu identifies items that are gluten free, vegetarian and vegan selections. Highlights of our recent visit included Jumbo Lump Crab Lettuce Cup with citrus segment; Beef Carpaccio with mushroom, caper and truffle aioli; Short Rib Taco with avocado crema, tomato and cilantro; Bacon Wrapped Date with blue cheese fondue; Beet & Burrata salad with arugula and Dijon vinaigrette; Beef Filet Crostini with blue cheese and truffle cream; seared Ahi Tuna with cream spinach and port wine reduction; and the very rich risotto-like Truffle Mushroom Grits with Pecorino.
As always, room was saved for dessert, and we enjoyed the S'mores Flatbread topped with toasted marshmallow, graham cracker and white & dark chocolate; and doughnut-like Beignets served with raspberry jam, crème anglaise and chocolate dipping sauces.
With the word wine in the eatery’s name, you’d expect an extensive selection and after perusing the rustic leather-bound 26-page menu you’ll discover your expectations have been fulfilled. The wines are arranged by country of origin and varietals with about 30 poured by the glass. An excellent way to sample is to select one of the eight four-glass wine flights, with themes including Cab is King, U.S. Route 101 and Old vs New.
La Cave is open daily for dinner and a butler-style (meaning the food is brought to you) brunch with unlimited offerings of more than a dozen tray-passed items (such as Bacon & Egg Flatbread, Angus Mini Burgers and Filet Mignon Eggs Benedict) is served Sat.-Sun. from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
You may be thinking dining on the Vegas Strip is uber-pricey and a hassle to get in and out of, but the majority of the shareable dishes are in the range of $14-$24, plus free self-parking and a short walk from the garage makes visiting the Strip more attractive.
If you like La Cave and its reasonable prices, consider also checking out Morton’s other Vegas restaurants: La Comida at 6th and Fremont, Crush at the MGM Grand and One Steakhouse at Virgin Hotels. https://www.lacavelv.com