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Restaurant Review: Switch at Wynn Encore, Las Vegas

"Hey, the walls are moving!" I exclaim, putting down my glass of A.H. Hirsch Reserve bourbon. I've only had one sip, yet apparently it was a large one, because looking up, the ceiling is opening, too! "Relax," says the waiter, with an indulgent, seen-it-before smile. "This is why the restaurant is called Switch.

The scene changes every twenty minutes." Leave it to Mr. Wynn to create a new twist on the "restaurant as theater" theme. Previously, the concept referred to the elevated theatricality of the dining experience. However, in Las Vegas patrons expect to be dazzled, and Switch delivers a novel experience. The inspiration for this vibrant, stylish restaurant with its brilliant orange crocodile fabric, Venetian glass murals of large sunflowers, and vividly colored carpets came when Wynn's in-house designer, Roger Thomas, who decided to focus on Switch's location near the flower-filled atrium. If the décor isn't novel enough, Switch also features a bourbon bar paying tribute to this classic American spirit.

Though not a spirits drinker, I came to appreciate good bourbon studying for my diploma for the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust. At Switch Bourbon drinkers have the opportunity to indulge in the world's best boutique bourbons. You will find 23-year-old Rittenhouse Rye, Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve, and infused bourbons with Meyer lemon skin and vanilla.

"Champagne, Madame?" asks the sommelier, wheeling up a gorgeous champagne cart. "A little bubbly to celebrate the moment of the Switch?" "Thanks," I say, still watching the walls and the ceiling change color and theme. It's a bit like sitting in a theater and seeing black-clad stage hands move the set around while you wait for the next scene to begin. Once the walls and ceiling have stabilized, I turn my attention to Marc Poidevin's menu.

We start with a dramatic presentation of a chilled seafood tower, including seasonal oysters, Alaskin king crab legs, bay scallop cerviche, and lobster. If you think gorgeous looking and fresh tasting seafood is all this dish is about, you have the wrong restaurant. In drama nearly equal to the changing of the walls, a white-clad server pours an Aladdin's lamp of dry ice into a vessel near the top of the tower, creating a seductive mist.

We pair this seafood appetizer with various by-the-glass suggestions from Wine Director Desmond Echavarrie, a very charming gentleman who is about to take his Master Sommelier exam. If you read my reviews regularly, you already know that I am mid-way through the Master Sommelier program and have tremendous respect for anyone attempting this incredible test of wine, spirits, and service knowledge. When you make a reservation here, be certain Mr. Echavvarie is in attendance so he can guide you to excellent, well-priced choices in superior vintage years.

For myself, I found the seafood tower paired very well with the 2007 Chablis "Fourchaume-Premier Cru" from J.M. Brocard (Burgundy, France). The Fourchaume vineyard produces delicious, well-balanced chardonnay with a touch of refreshing citrus and a deep mineral character.

After the enormous seafood tower, I don't feel I can enjoy a full dinner, so I order Marc's lobster salad - a light, delicious, and refreshing dish consisting of artichoke, avocado, asparagus, and truffle vinaigrette. However, the seafood starter only whets the appetite of my friend, who orders a seven-ounce filet he pronounces delicious. Switch is not a steakhouse in the purest sense, but the steak here is quite good and you can order New York Strip Steaks, Porterhouse, Veal T-Bones, Hanger steak, and Colorado lamp chops. You can also find a wide variety of pasta and risotto, which is conveniently offered as a side dish.

Seduced by the European ambiance, we decide to order cheese for dessert instead of sweets. Though Switch does not offer a cheese plate on the menu at present, the waiter is more than happy enough to have the kitchen create one for us. It is brought to the table with grapes and toast, and like the French, we enjoy it with the last of our Chateau Les Ormes de Pez 2001 Bordeaux.

Switch is a fantastic experience. You will find the cuisine delicious, and the fun and excitement of the décor change is something you will never forget. If you are bringing a friend, keep the Switch a secret and watch their reaction as the walls come down.

Switch
Wynn Encore Resort
3131 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 770-7000

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  1. Did you get a chance to try the spa while you were there – unmissable!

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