I love a good pun — and who doesn’t? (I know, I know) — so maybe that’s why I still remember a radio commercial from the ’70s where the narrator said he went to a particular chain restaurant just for the halibut.
But I always got it. Like many people, I also love halibut in all of its mild, meaty, flaky goodness, though it’s not found on restaurant menus as often these days. So it sounded good when our waiter said it was the catch of the day the other evening at MRKT Sea & Land at the Aliante.
We chose it seared ($35; grilled and blackened were other options), and it was perfect, cooked just until it was flaky, seasoned simply with a bit of ground black pepper and served with a nicely executed lemon beurre blanc. This was an example of exactly what fish should be but often isn’t.
A bone-in New York steak ($34) was a quite large piece of meat, perfectly medium rare (which actually was a bit of a challenge in this case, the steak was so thick and large) and full of beefy goodness.
On the side, we had the roasted Brussels sprouts ($7), sliced sort of thinly but not shaved, roasted with diced bacon just until they were perfectly caramelized and glazed with a balsamic reduction.
The weakest execution of the evening was the oysters Rockefeller ($18). As it originally was conceived, this was a simple dish, showcasing plump, briny oysters with a simple topping of fresh spinach laced with Pernod. It’s been messed with a lot over the years as chefs try to put their own mark on it, but that showcasing of the shellfish ought to prevail. In this case, the oysters seemed fresh enough and reasonably plump, but it was difficult to tell because they and the spinach that topped them were buried below an overabundance of a thin bechamel that was creamy and would’ve been nice in another dish but in this case, brought nothing to the party.
Service throughout was very good. Like many steak-and-seafood houses, MRKT has somewhat of an elegant vibe, from the hostess and bartender in long black gowns to the servers in refined neutrals to the circular bar, cozy semi-circular booths and subdued lighting. It’s clearly the class act at the Aliante.
And while I’d probably get the oysters on the half shell next time, I’d happily return.
Heck, I’d go back just for the halibut.
Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Email Heidi Knapp Rinella at email@example.com. Find more of her stories at reviewjournal.com and bestoflasvegas.com, and follow @HKRinella on Twitter.