Belated Holiday Wishes!

December 27, 2013
I cannot believe Christmas has come and gone. In my mind, it feels more like Halloween. Yet, the New Year is only days away. I'm looking forward to saying good-bye to 2013. It hasn't been a particularly good year, nor a cruel one - thankfully. But like most we've had our share of joy and heartache. While I expect the same for 2014, I know we already have fun adventures planned, and there will be much cause for celebration in the new year.

I hope your holidays have been merry and bright! This Christmas Frank and I shared the day with loved ones and Christmas Eve we stayed at the Signature at MGM. It's long been our favorite place to staycation. This visit was nice, but our room was showing its age and it wasn't as plush as previous stays. This might be because I booked via luxury suites international. Although, I've booked thru them before without issue. Who knows?

We relaxed and lazed about, soaked in the tub and had snowball fights with bubbles, and read old love letters I wrote to Frank when we were in high school. It was a fun trip down memory lane.

We had dinner reservations at Crush. It's the restaurant that took over the space where Nobhill used to be. It had big shoes to fill, but we were hopeful since it's owned by Michael Morton who is also the co-founder N9NE at the Palms. The restaurant has a rustic chic garden feel. It wasn't too busy on Christmas eve, despite other restaurants being quite crowded. We had a booth in back after asking not to be seated at the high-top bar tables near the entry.

They offered a nice blend of cocktails, wines and beers. We had Kronenbourg Blanc ($9) and Oro di Milano Riserva ($14), on the pricey side, but I appreciated the rare selections. The menu follows the current trend of small plates and specialty pizzas with a few large plate selections for those who prefer the old school way of dining. We started with the ricotta gnocchi with braised short rib ($16). It's offered as a small plate, but we shared as an appetizer. It's hardly enough for two, but quite enjoyable. The shortrib was rich and decadent. The gnocchi was tender and light, though it had less ricotta flavor than anticipated.

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We each ordered large plates for our entrees. Frank chose the Lamb Sirloin with Brussels Sprouts ($38) and I had the Seabass with Kale ($34). Large plate portions are not for hearty appetites but definitely an upgrade from the small plates. Frank really enjoyed the Brussels sprouts, and the lamb was tender and cooked medium rare as requested, but there was a flavor that was off putting. He barely touched it. The waiter took notice and offered something else from the menu. After some urging, Frank chose the wild mushroom pizza ($16).

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The pizza was pretty darn good. The crust was nice and crisp, the fontina was creamy and paired well with the earthiness of the mushrooms.

My seabass and kale was prepared and served in parchment paper. It was topped with a tomato chutney. The flavors were good, but the texture overall was one note; mushy. It would've been better with some crunch. I tend to prefer fish with a nice sear.

While dinner might not have been top notch the staff was very accomodating. They went out of their way to be sure we were satisfied. I give them props. They sent out a complimentarty Nutella Crunch dessert for the trouble. Hazelnuts and nutella are a match made in heaven. The dessert did not disappoint.



Crush has only been open a few weeks so they may hit their stride, but at this point, I'm missing Michael Mina's Nobhill terribly.

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