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Tillerman updated for competitive fine dining market

When Karen Pollick bought the landmark Tillerman steak and seafood restaurant a year ago, she promptly changed the menu.

Executive chef Evan Fleisher was hired to oversee the revamped menu and add his own touches. A few oldies but goodies, such as the Tillerman salad and Oysters Tillerman, had to remain. But more than 90 percent of the offerings changed, Fleisher says.

They had to, in order to be competitive in a town that is now known for its fine dining.

"When you can go to the Strip and get any manner of cuisine cooked by celebrity chefs, you have to be more innovative to draw people in," Fleisher says.

With a 30-year history as the fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas, new management’s first and main priority was to improve the quality of the food, Fleisher says.

"We wanted to make sure people had the best dining experience," he notes. "The type of food I like to cook is stuff that touches people from childhood, not necessarily comfort food, but things they ate early in their lives."

Fleisher takes those dishes, such as a roasted chicken, and adds a grown-up twist, such as truffle mashed potatoes. One thing you won’t see on the menu is anything high concept.

"I hate pretentious food. Our food is very understandable, very approachable," Fleisher says. "We’re an old school steak and fish house and we want to keep that feel but make it modern."

Starting Sept. 13, the restaurant will be open for lunch, offering a build your own burger menu, sandwiches and entrees.

The restaurant, which seats 275, maintains its traditional look. It is located at 2245 E. Flamingo Road.

Dinner reservations are recommended.

Specialties: Veal osso buco served with wild mushroom risotto, $45; Gorgonzola crusted halibut served with apricot and candied ginger cream spinach, $34; 16-ounce bone-in rib-eye with mashed potatoes, $46

Appetizers: Oysters Tillerman, $15; spicy Thai calamari, $12; oysters on the half shell, half-dozen, $12

Soups and salads: Clam chowder, $7; French onion soup, $8; Tillerman salad bar, lettuce variety served with condiments, tomatoes, marinated mushroom salad, $5 (free with entrees)

Entrees: Grilled swordfish served with sauteed cannellini bean ragu, $35; prime rib with mashed potatoes, $28 queen cut, $36 king cut; seafood stew served with saffron rice, $45

Desserts: Creme brulee with flavors rotated weekly, $7.25; molten chocolate cake baked to order, $7.25; caramel apple pie served warm with vanilla ice cream, $7.25

Information: 731-4036

By SONYA PADGETT

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