One year after Michael Morton and Scott DeGraff opened N9NE in Chicago. George Maloof invited the duo (friends since age nine, hence the company's name) to add a second location in his Palms Las Vegas Hotel opening in 2001.
Nearly eleven years later that seems like ancient history. Maloof no longer owns majority stake in the hotel casino, but N9NE has survived. In fact it has thrived all these years. While restaurants have come and gone. N9NE has stayed, it was time I saw what the fuss is about.
Frank and I met a friend for dinner. We splurged a bit and had ourselves a feast. Service is pretty relaxed, staff is not what you'd expect from a fine dining establishment, but they were attentive and apologetic when our server spilled water all over the table.
Our feast began with carpaccio, lobster pot stickers and avocado fries. The carpaccio was luscious and unique because it was served with a quail egg in a steak tartare nest. It was delicious.
The lobster pot stickers were pillows filled with yummy Asian flavors and lobster, of course. Tasty bites for sure.
The avocado fries were crisp, but not greasy. They were served with a cool chipotle lime dipping sauce. Decadent and savory.
Moving on the entrees, we ordered the Colorado Lamb, 22 oz Porterhouse and the 16 oz bone in filet. We shared sides of asparagus, potato gnocchi and hot potatoes.
The sides were all delicious. I often find asparagus is cooked to mush, but these stalks had bite and were cooked to perfection. The gnocchi was bathed in a truffle cream sauce. There were no complaints there, but it was the hot potatoes that were sinful. Au gratin swimming in aged cheddar and jalapenos. I'd return for these potatoes alone.
The steaks were beautifully prepared, tender and scrumptious, but it was the lamb chops that were stellar. We've had delectable lamb chops elsewhere... Circo, Delmonico, and Aureole come to mind, but these were fantastic. Tender, juicy and presented with a beautiful crust made from parmesan and pine nuts. Mild flavors to enhance the lamb rather than mask it. Sink your teeth into these. You won't regret it.
I couldn't possibly indulge in another bite so I skipped dessert, but the guys each had a red velvet cupcake. The cake was moist and the cream cheese frosting was not too sweet. A perfect end to an exceptional meal.
It was easy to see what N9NE has been doing right all these years. Solid eats. Hip environment. No complaints.