Beatles LOVE at the Mirage

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The new Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil live theatre extravaganza is taking Las Vegas by musical storm, and after learning that former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, LOVES to dine at the FIN Restaurant inside the Mirage Hotel and Casino, I had to join him, at least spiritually.






Techy and trendy FIN.

The Beatles have literally changed people’s lives. I remember when they hit the airwaves and the TV cathode tubes on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Their musical style was so unique, sending a new energy pulse (spasm?) through the burgeoning post war generation; the avant garde music style still holds true after seeing this superb spectacular show at the Mirage. So do yourself two favors: dine at FIN, owned by the Mirage Hotel itself, and take in LOVE.  You will love Fin and you will adore LOVE.

There are two Tony’s inside the Chinese Restaurant: Tony my Korean waiter, originally from Pusan, and Tony the manager, a genteel Chinaman, who has been with the Mirage for many years in many capacities.




Sea bubbles rising in a kelp bed.

I must comment on the décor of FIN. 

Streaming mobiles fall from the ceiling to the floor representing either techno kelp or sea bubbles rising from the ocean floor. I felt like I was at the bottom of the ocean looking up. Maybe the reason Sir Paul dines here is because it reminds him of the songs, "Ocotopus at the Bottom of the Sea", or “Yellow Submarine”!

This distinguishing mobile feature is matched by the arrangement of the tables about the 150 seat restaurant.  Towers of stainless steel panels with dye cut squares stamped out make the modernistic restaurant gleam.  There are two private dining salons to each side of the main salon, each with seating for ten, closed off by hand-painted Chinese screen murals of cherry trees and mountains.  Sir Paul dines in the private area when he craves privacy.

So here I am, and I don’t have to wait long for the service to appear, and in fact, three wait staff are falling all over themselves to serve me Fiji spring water, Merlot wine, and to chit chat.  I think they are working on their English, which was superb without any lessons from me.




Take a FIN taste tour.

Tony, my "man-in-black" waiter, suggested as an appetizer the Crispy Shrimp on Fried Toast, but it didn’t sound appetizing at all at first, but I stuck with his suggestion, and I was amazed by this sweet taste treat.  The six piece starter was exquisite.  I had nothing like this ever anywhere. ($14.50).  This was backed by the suggestion from Tony, the manager, to try the Pan-Fried Goose Liver pate with a touch of Black Pepper Sauce ($28) and the five livers were arrayed pleasingly.  “It is a lot like Foie Gras,” exclaimed Tony, and I was doubly happy that he made this suggestion. Take the two Tony tips seriously!

Now I know why Sir Paul dines here.  He has been all over the world and has partaken all the top-star establishments along the way, and he knows how to pick a great restaurant.  It is enough to make you want to stand up to sing and dance across the hardwood floors. A Beatles tune, of course. Now, if I can only pilfer Sir Paul's private internatoinal dining notes.




Liquid fortune cookies.

Other starters include the FIN’s Four — Jellyfish, Chinese Ham, Beef Flank, and Octopus ($22); Abalone, with Jellyfish and Sweet Pickles ($80), sure it is a stiff price, but you don’t see Abalone on every menu board either; Steamed Soya Chicken and Barbecued Pork ($18.50); Shrimp and Scallop Lettuce Wrap with Pine Nuts ($14.75; Crisp Shittake Mushrooms with Sweet Vinegar Sauce ($8.50);  Spicy Eggplant Hong Kong-Style ($12.50); Vegetable Egg Roll ($7.50); Pan-Fried Pot Sticklers ($14.50).

FIN has a nice list of soups and I went for the traditional Won Ton before checking out some of the other options.  Chinese Herb Soup is the mainstay Soup du Jour. Then there is Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup with Enoki Mushrooms; Shredded Dungeness Crabmeat and Corn; Shrimp and Pork Won Ton.  All soups are $7 except for the Double Boiled Buddha Jump Wall which is at market price. I have to come back to find out exactly what this is.  Tony, the manager, suggests that I stop back for the luncheon menu, which is a completely different fare from the dining menu. I am certain I will take him up on this offer.




Gleaming polished steel
mirrors FIN's superb service.

I envisioned why the restaurant is named FIN because of the length and breadth of fresh seafood selections.  Tony, the waiter, told me that Lobster, Clams and other seafood are kept alive in a tank in the back until they are ready to be ordered for the table. You can get them fresh from the tank steamed, sashimied, wok-fried, or braised.  All the following are at Market Price:

Daily Fish Selections (varies daily); Maine or Australian Lobster; Santa Barbara Prawns; Dungeness Crab; Alaska or Austrian King Crab (King Crab from Austria? I am truly amazed. I thought it was a misprint.); Crystal Crab; or Giant Clams.

Other cool seafood selections from FIN include:

Wok Fried Lobster with spicy Curry Creamy Coconut Sauce (Market Price); Stir-Fried Lobster Tail with Spicy Seafood Meat Sauce and X.O. Sauce ($88); Wok-Fried Lobster Tail with Blackbean and Egg Sauce, Cantonese Style ($88); Braised Whole Fresh Abalone with seasonal vegetables ($80); Braised Whole Japanese Abalone  with seasonal vegetables ($295 the most expensive item on the menu); Stir-Fried Fresh Sliced Abalone with seasonal vegetables ( $80); Stir-Fried Fresh Sliced Abalone and Sea Cucumbers ($88); Pan-Fried Scallops with Black Bean Sauce ($27.50); Crispy Fragrant Salt and Pepper Squid ($18.50); Wok-Fried Chilean Sea Bass with Scallions and Garlic ($31.50 – my choice); Light Fried Prawns with Creamy Mayonnaise, Melons and Glazed Walnuts ($26.50); Steamed Live Prawns with Garlic Sauce ($56); Pan-Fried Shrimp with Kung Pao Spicy Sauce (22.50); and  Steamed Sea Bass with Cured Ham ($31.50).




Sir George McCartney LOVES dining at FIN.

After ordering the Steamed Sea Bass, Tony, my waiter, added a half portion of Chicken Fried Rice on the side ($23.50 for a full portion that would easily serve four persons). Other rice dishes included: Yang Chow ($11); Seafood and Spicy X.O. Sauce ($13.75); Shrimp Curry  ($13.75); Chinese Sausage ($13.75); Dried Scallop and Egg White ($15); Fok Jau ($24.50). I have to look the last one up on the Internet.


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FIN has an expansive noodle selection that ranged from Vegetarian Pan Fried Noodles ($11.75) to Seafood Pan-Fried Noodles ($20).  These dishes will easily serve two people if ordering entrées.

The two most impressive chicken entrées were Cantonese Barbecue Duck ($18.50 for half and $36 for the whole), and Imperial Peking Duck at $58.  There is a nice choice of beef and pork dishes, including Mongolian Beef for only $18, or the Braised Mandarin-Style Pork Chop.  Tony, the manager, stated that the Chops were his favorite menu items.

No Chinese restaurant is complete with out Clay Pot dishes and FIN has several excellent choices, including from the low priced end: Braised and Fried Tofu with Black Mushrooms and Vegetables ($14.50), to the top end: fresh sliced Abalone and Sea Cucumber at $88, or the fresh sliced Abalone, Lobster, and Mixed Seafood, also at $88. The Braised Sea Bass with Tofu and Shredded Pork is a more reasonably priced $16.50.



Reservations:
702/791-7111

FIN also has a nice selection of side vegetables, such as Braised Spicy Ma Po Tofu ($12.75), Stir-Fried String Beans with Spicy X.O. with Meat Sauce at $18.75; I am happy to report that the Stir-Fried Mixed Garden Vegetables ($12.75) were served fresh and crisp.

Tony, the waiter, suggested that I sample for dessert the Trio of Mochi Ice Cream that included Mango, Green Tea, and Luchee.  The Ice Cream was delightfully wrapped around a sort of colored dough and the coolness squished out with each bite.  Tony’s other favorite dessert was Fried Bananas and Sweet Cream, but I think desserts are all his favorites.  Choose Warm Tofu with Ginger Syrup, Traditional Red Bean Soup (a dessert?), or the unusual Coconut Tapioca and Pineapple Martini.  All desserts are $8.

So as I followed in Sir Paul’s footsteps, so should you because FIN stands for Fresh Ingredients are Nutritious and I know you will LOVE the place..

By Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.




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