Legend has it that if you spot a leprechaun this St. Patrick’s Day, he’ll lead you to his stash of gold. But you have a much better shot of securing some of that precious metal by visiting one of the city’s top restaurants. Although the Strip is not paved in gold, its chefs have a healthy supply, and they’re using it to adorn some of their most extravagant creations.
Be warned, however. Not all that glitters is truly gold. There are a few costume jewelry-style creations that manage to make a faux golden sparkle taste so delicious that pursuing it could never be labeled a fool’s errand.
A sprinkling of gold leaf adds a luxurious touch to just about anything.
Sushi chefs at Zuma at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas use it to adorn their golden toro maki. It’s a roll made with chopped blue fin tuna, tempura flakes and pickled daikon, topped with toro, fried ginger, Osetra caviar and 24-karat gold leaf.
For another Asian treasure made with gold leaf at the Cosmo, try the siu mai at China Poblano. The traditional dumplings are filled with shrimp, pork, jicama, mushrooms and peanuts, and topped with the golden flakes.
Restaurant Guy Savoy in Caesars Palace recently updated its Prestige Menu with a langoustine fit for King Poseidon himself. The single crustacean is cooked in dashi and hibiscus and topped with Osetra caviar and gold leaf.
La Caille at Le Cirque at Bellagio is a golden tribute to the aviary gods. The tiny quail is stuffed with foie gras before it is encrusted with a thin coat of the precious metal. This culinary idol is served with a sauce and potato mousseline.
At Wynn Las Vegas, SW Steakhouse’s Louis XIII Gold Bars may not be worth as much as the gold bars at Fort Knox, but they taste a lot better thanks to the combination of Valrhona Caraibe dark chocolate ganache, praline crunch and Louis XIII-infused caramel inside their 23-karat coating. The custom-built display case is also probably a lot more elegant than the vault at that Kentucky Army base.
Jean-Georges Steakhouse at Aria offers a faux-gold bar, with nothing imitation about its flavor, which comes from caramel mousse, passion-mango compote, hazelnut feuilletine and sponge cake.
The leprechauns at Freed’s Bakery were apparently feeling a little mischievous when they decided to hide gold coins and beads inside a vanilla rainbow-layer cake filled with Bavarian cream. Not only do they require devouring the cake to liberate, once you reach them you’ll find they’re not gold, but chocolate and sweet confectioners’ dragees. The search for the bite-sized bling is still delicious digging.