The heyday of the classic supper club may have ended, but that hasn't stopped Mina Alfafara from taking the classic combo of upscale dining and dancing to a new, exotic level.
Alfafara owns Mina Restaurant and Lounge, 8991 W. Sahara Ave., which offers both an ample dance floor and what Alfafara describes as "gourmet Filipino cuisine."
"I know that the Filipino community is really looking for a place like this," she says, "and so far, so good."
But Alfafara also hopes to introduce the cuisine of the Philippines to Southern Nevadans who aren't of Filipino descent.
"I want everyone to come in and taste our food," she says.
Executive chef Cornelio Ventura notes that, for those newcomers, Mina's service staff is adept at explaining menu offerings, dishes' ingredients and why a dish may be "made this way or that way."
And, because the cuisine of the Philippines has been influenced by such disparate countries as China, Indonesia, Spain and even the United States, patrons invariably are able to find something that strikes their own culinary chords.
In crafting the menu, Ventura says, "we still represent the classic flavor profile of Filipino cuisine," while also adhering to such upscale hallmarks as "offering fresh ingredients cooked only that day" and, whenever possible, sourcing ingredients locally.
Mina Restaurant and Lounge is open from 5 to 11:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Reservations aren't required, but are suggested.
The restaurant seats 125.
Starters: Pritong kalamares (squid marinated in house adobo sauce, lightly breaded and flash fried, served with aioli), $8
Salads: Mangga't gulay (slivered mangoes, cherry tomatoes and organic greens with citrus dressing), $10
Entrees: Kare kare (braised oxtail in peanut sauce with long beans, eggplant and bok choy), $15; lobster alavar (lobster braised in crustacean sauce, ginger, garlic, chili and coconut creme with seasonal greens), $22
Desserts: Buko pandan gelee (coconut gel infused with pandan, served in a young coconut shell with vanilla bean gelato), $12
BY JOHN PRZYBYS