Michael Mina at the Bellagio

We like a good surprise and Michael Mina gave us just that. Of all our food adventures in Las Vegas, Michael Mina came out on top for our biggest gastronomic surprise. It was one of those moments where prior to dining at Michael Mina we have heard good things about Chef Mina while embarrassingly not knowing enough about his impressive credentials. And, we expected a good meal but instead were blown away by the seafood we had. Michael Mina himself has a restaurant empire including this namesake restaurant and while he is unable to be physically present at each restaurant every night, he clearly got it right with his executive chef at the Michael Mina restaurant at the Bellagio.


Seafood lovers who find themselves at Michael Mina are at the right place.

The shellfish platter, ordered and priced per person, includes maine lobster, raw oysters, crab, prawns, and scallop ceviche. The shellfish are individually plated with each type of shellfish prepared its own way and are seated on a thick layer of crushed ice placed in a deep bowl. The prawns came with orange and mint aioli; the lobster was served with citrus vinaigrette and mint leaves. The creativity of the shellfish platter shone through the scallop ceviche. Served on its own with a portion enough to be an appetizer on its own, the scallop ceviche comes with slivers of Thai birds eye chilli, mandarin orange segment, and mint leaves and covered coconut-flavored foam. Taking a step into the unconventional flair and creative way of eating the ceviche were the sides of tortilla chips and fresh popcorn. The ceviche was meant to be scooped onto a tortilla chip and then topped with a tiny bit of popcorn before popping the entire thing into the mouth.

The signature tuna tartare, is brought to the table and the server explains each ingredient in the carefully plated tuna tartare before mixing up all those ingredients together until well combined. Tossed with sesame oil, ancho chile, pine nuts, mint leaves, garlic, and Asian pear, the tuna was refreshing, almost a perfect-like dish for summer. The tartare has a pleasant presence of sesame oil that stands out and if anyone is not a huge fan of sesame oil, the accompanying sliced toasts balances the taste of the tartare perfectly. Otherwise, the tuna is perfect eaten on its own, just like the way I like it.

The star of the meal was the Three Seas that came with three types of Japanese fish. The dish was inspired by the Japanese way of preparing food as can be seen in the way this dish is served, but the highlight is how this dish is transformed into the Michael Mina way without compromising the source of the Japanese inspiration. The texture and form of the miso-glazed chilean sea bass totally blew us away and I don't think we can ever forget the moment we had with the sea bass. Each bite was incredibly delicate and moist and it almost created the illusion that we were eating fish fat except that it was not fish fat. It was actual fish we were eating. The ginger seared tuna was rare inside and the seared scallop was also very well prepared. Staying true its Japanese inspiration, the fish sat on a thin bed of flavored bamboo rice mixed with ikura (salmon roe) and shredded pickled daikon. Instead of the traditional Japanese oshinko made of pickled daikon, Michael Mina introduces its own twist using pickled cucumber. Accompanying the dish with more Japanese-inspired sides are the tempura maitake mushroom, spinach-wrapped shitake mushroom, and poached daikon. The execution of this dish was impressive with the doubly impressive sea bass.

The foie gras risotto with chicken jus was a good option as a side dish to our seafood-heavy meal. The texture of the risotto was perfectly al dente when it was still warm but as the dish gradually cooled to room temperature it became a little hard. But all in all, this was still a very solidly prepared dish.

The complimentary house made apple cider was just what we needed for our food-filled stomachs. 

One unforgettable part of our experience at Michael Mina was our server who was nothing short of professional, helpful, and friendly. In fact, I think he should moonlight as a part time photographer when he is not working at Michael Mina. At the end of the meal, we asked our server if he could help take a photograph of us. T and I did not know what we were in for when we asked our server for the quick favor. After we handed him our camera, he went into photographer mode and proceeded to rearrange the items on our table so that they would look nicer in the photograph, including temporarily removing some "ugly" items on the table (our table's check), etc. After the first shot, he walked over to the other side of the table and suggested us to hold hands over the table (which emitted some laughter from the table next to us although I think they laughing at our server and not my husband and I) for the second shot. And then finally he wanted to take a third shot of us and suggested my husband to stand by my chair. Gotta love our server.

Even if just for the incredible sea bass, we hope to return to Michael Mina.

Michael Mina at the Bellagio
600 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109

2009 1-Michelin Star
2008 1-Michelin Star
2005 Bon Appetit Chef of the Year
2002 James Beard Award Best Chef
1997 Rising Star Chef

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