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Keep going along the Strip until you find Cili

Somebody — we’re guessing the developer — obviously had high hopes for Cili, the restaurant at the Bali Hai Golf Club, when the complex opened more than a decade ago.

Originally a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, it was open for lunch and dinner but it didn’t take long to see that, while the club is just past the south end of the Strip, few people found their way in after the golfers called it a day. Thus, a while back the restaurant shifted to serving only lunch and hosting special events. And so you may have forgotten about Cili, but that would be a mistake because it offers a mix of great food and polished service in an I’m-on-vacation (or at least at-the-country-club) atmosphere.

The menu, as you might imagine, is quite varied, in keeping with the diverse audiences that such a restaurant must by necessity serve. There are the golfers, the people in for a business meeting, the ladies who lunch and those who wander in off the Strip. So you can lunch on anything from a hamburger on up to beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Not wanting to fall asleep at our desks we decided to stay on the lighter side, with a cup of mushroom soup ($5) with a caprese salad ($11), plus a grilled steak salad ($18).

Two salads? Well, the caprese was listed as among the “starter salads,” so we figured on a few slices of mozzarella and a few of tomatoes, with some basil in between, which would be perfect with a cup of soup. Instead this was a meal, the slices of fresh cheese and wedges of heirloom tomato drizzled with a balsamic reduction and accompanied by a huge pile of greens in a wondrous variety, tossed in a light vinaigrette.

The soup was absolutely excellent, a far cry from the condensate-clones we usually encounter. This one was creamy but based on a rich stock and imbued with heaps of minced mushrooms, for sublime flavor and texture.

The steak salad was a little different as well, an iceberg wedge topped with bacon, blue cheese and a thinnish blue-cheese dressing, with mounds of gently sauteed, marinated beef and onions on the side.

Service was not only polished but also quick, which left us feeling conflicted. We had to get back to the office, but we could’ve spent a few hours taking in the cool green view of the golf course.

Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. E-mail Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Find more of her stories at www.reviewjournal.com and bestoflasvegas.com, and follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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