At a Glance
What is it?
A terrific and surprisingly affordable Chinese restaurant
Where is it?
At Wynn Las Vegas on the North Strip.
What kind of food is served?
Extensive Chinese offerings and everything we tasted was delicious.
What is the atmosphere like?
Charming – more of a bistro than a staid Chinese joint.
How is the service?
What are the prices like?
A bargain compared to most restaurants in this building.
What else do I need to know?
Red and eight are considered lucky in Chinese culture.
What’s the bottom line?
If you are looking for Chinese food, this is a really good option.
If you have been in Wynn Las Vegas and found yourself peckish, you may have noticed that may have to take out a bank loan just to get a bite to eat. To say most of the hotel’s restaurants are expensive is the understatement of the century, with one restaurant regularly generating bills upwards of $200 per person.
So I was thrilled to discover Red 8, a delightful Chinese bistro, offering moderate prices on food that, in my opinion, is better than the higher priced places down the hall.
It’s a small place, tucked in a back corner of the casino, and although the walls are open to the din of the slot machine floor if you get a table near the back the noise is unobtrusive. The room is done in dramatic shades of chocolate and red with intricate tile and woodwork plus the requisite Asian design motifs you would expect. While the chairs at the tables weren’t exactly what I’d call comfortable for a long meal, it is generally a pleasant place to dine.
The menu is extensive as you would expect with a long list of appetizers, barbecue, congee, dim sum, noodle specialties, fried rice, veggie options, and classic Chinese favorites. All told there are nearly 100 different items to choose from so come hungry and come with your decision-making skills intact or you could be sitting there awhile trying to make up your mind.
Start with something like the minced chicken and pork lettuce wraps or the Malaysian chicken satay from the appetizer list or use the dim sum menu to provide you with a starter. The Cantonese potstickers, delicate dumplings filled with shredded vegetables and pork, are pan-seared to perfection and mouth-wateringly tasty, especially when combined with the traditional soy sauce accompaniment.
But the true winner in this category was the vegetable spring roll appetizer. I know, I know, vegetables, but in this presentation it was remarkable and I demand you try them. The filling was popping with bold flavors, providing a fascinating contrast with the subtle yet delicious crust. I wasn’t quite able to define the flavor in those flakes but I swear it was something like vanilla and it created an overall package that was better than any spring roll I’ve ever tasted.
For entrees we went to the “Favorites” category, figuring there is a reason they were favorites in the first place. The sweet and sour pork was more sweet than sour, not always my favorite way of presenting the dish, but it worked in this case. The meat was tender and the sauce had enough of a tang to it that the sweetness didn’t get overwhelming although I will say it was walking quite a fine line.
The beef with ginger and scallions was on the opposite side of the spectrum, definitely in the spicy category but still underplayed enough that all but those with the most sensitive of taste buds should be able to handle it. The teriyaki/soy concoction seasoned the meat and its partners perfectly and couldn’t have been done any better.
Or so I thought until I got to the Mongolian beef. Now this is what they were thinking of when the Chinese started cooking. Juicy morsels of beef with crunchy green peppers and onions all mixed with a zesty teriyaki type sauce over perfectly prepared white rice – it just doesn’t get any better than this.
The only disappointment on the menu comes where it usually does in Chinese restaurants – desserts. I know green tea ice cream and coconut pudding are traditional but after a terrific meal like that I wanted chocolate or maybe a cheesecake… or a chocolate cheesecake. Whatever. Don’t judge me.
The service was stellar throughout the meal. I couldn’t have found any way to improve it if I had tried.
As mentioned above, prices are very moderate. You can easily do a fantastic meal for under $30 before tax, tip, or drinks. It may not be the cheapest Chinese restaurant in town but it is also not the most expensive and is certainly one of the best.