During the past few years I’ve received a lot of reader tips about the New England-style lobster roll (a rarity at area restaurants) served at the Tides Oyster Bar at Green Valley Ranch Resort. So when I finally made my way there, it was with that lobster roll in mind.
Except that the Tides Oyster Bar is now Tides Seafood &Sushi Bar. And — you saw this coming — the lobster roll is no longer on the menu.
All was not lost, however, because the name change reflects a menu expansion, and the addition of sushi always is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.
But, well, here comes another “except”: Except that the new menu appears to be still tripping up the restaurant’s kitchen staff. I’m thinking a few more friends-and-family nights should’ve been figured into the schedule to be sure all the kinks were worked out before the restaurant opened to the public.
An example: The reason we ordered the grilled mahi mahi ($19) was for the promised pineapple relish. Another except: The dish was served without it, and the mildly flavored fish was bland in the extreme. We asked, it was delivered, and the difference was huge.
Also: clams casino ($14), which from the menu description sounded like the classic, clams gently baked with butter, garlic, lemon, bell pepper and bacon. Except that there was no discernible bacon, and a lot of breadcrumbs.
Neither of these dishes was terrible, you understand; the mahi mahi, especially, was very good once we got all of the parts put together. But the kitchen wasn’t quite up on the details.
And there was another problem with the kitchen: We ordered a sushi roll as one of our entrees. The other entrees arrived together, but the sushi roll was delayed quite a bit, our server apologetically telling us that the sushi chef was backed up. And then we heard a man in chef’s clothing upbraid her for submitting too many sushi orders at once. Problem No. 1: No upbraiding in earshot of the customers, which should be a basic given from greasy spoons on up. Problem No. 2: I don’t know how you think this works, cupcake, but if a lot of people order sushi, she kind of needs to put in the orders. Maybe, if you’re going to serve sushi, somebody ought to put on more than one sushi chef at a time.
But was our roll worth waiting for? Not really. It was named Smack ($16), we guess for its presumed addictive qualities, and our server told us it was one of her favorites; I was intrigued by the “tempura deep-fried shallot” it was to contain, in addition to lobster and avocado and cream cheese. Except: While the lobster, avocado and cream cheese were clearly discernible, I was mystified by the apparent absence of the shallot. And the “teriyaki sauce” drizzled on and around it was syrupy sweet.
Much better were the fried oysters ($12), plump and briny, almost creamy inside and nicely crisped on the outside, with remoulade and seafood sauce.
And a pan roast ($15 for a half-portion, which we had, or $21 for a full). Pan roasts can take on a lot of forms, but this one was intriguing for the promised cream, tomato sauce and brandy, and the choice of shrimp, crab and lobster, or all three, which was how we had it. And it was a lovely dish, the sauce perfectly balanced, the seafood perfectly cooked. The presence of a scoop or rice in it was sort of “what’s up with that,” but it wasn’t objectionable.
And neither were the miso cod tacos ($18), which, the menu said, came with butter lettuce and crispy onions. So imagine our surprise when it arrived and turned out to be butter-lettuce shells (no tortillas) with the fish tucked inside. The onions were indeed crispy, the dish very good, but it definitely wasn’t what we expected.
Service throughout was fine, issues of decorum aside. The interior is reasonably comfortable, light and airy.
But instead of berating our affable, efficient server, the kitchen staff should be focusing inward.
Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Email Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com, or call 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.