Whether you’re visiting your favorite taco shop or fine dining restaurant at one of the most luxurious resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, everyone knows that the simple tortilla is the staple of most Mexican meals. How that tortilla is made can make all the difference.
Encore’s Casa Playa has built on its reputation for thoughtful, traditional Mexican food. time program is a symbol of this cuisine’s commitment to authentic ingredients and flavors.
“From the beginning, we wanted to adopt a philosophy of using local, sustainable ingredients that we could find here or in California, but still preserve the backbone of Mexican cuisine, and the best way to do that was to start with corn.” says executive chef Sarah Thompson.
There are about 60 varieties of corn in the world, and Casa Playa uses nine different types of heirloom corn (mostly from small farms in Oaxaca) to make its own corn. timeDough made from nyctamalized corn. This time It’s hand-pressed to make tortillas for tacos, enchiladas, flautas, and other dishes, or stuffed and steamed to serve with summer squash tamales ($19). mole verde and Thai basil – one of the chef’s favorite dishes on the menu.
“A really undervalued meal and really time“We do a less traditional wrap in banana leaves. [instead of corn husks]but we also use coconut oil instead of lard, which makes the tamal lighter and fluffy, not dense and heavy.
Several restaurants in the Las Vegas Valley operate in-house timeand probably none of them produce on the scale of Casa Playa. The restaurant processes 30 to 50 kilos of corn per day, which produces 60 to 100 kilos of corn. time grinded once a day. Thompson describes the nixtamalization process as “essentially blanching and shocking it, as you would any vegetable,” except that the dried corn is cooked in acidified water to break it up before an ice bath. It is then ground with two volcanic stones.
Different types of corn are used for different dishes, after an intensive testing process to determine suitable flavors and textures. “There was a lot of trial and error and a lot of training,” Thompson says. “Some of them I worked with before I knew I wanted to use them like Bolito Amarillo, which is super soft and fluffy and makes a nice tortilla.”
The much drier Red Cónoco is used for crispy tostadas served with blue shrimp ceviche ($28), guacamole ($18), and other dishes. And these tender yellow corn tortillas are fast acting with Casa Playa’s new pork belly priest ($105), a popular large-format meal the kitchen built for itself cheat— vertical rotisserie grill on priest traditionally prepared—appears next to the table for interactive and delicious fun, topped with candied pineapple for the perfect spicy and sweet bite.
It’s a lot of work but it’s all part of serving refined Mexican food that is still connected to people’s pasts. “Everyone has their own opinion on what Mexican food is. “I grew up in Massachusetts, where there’s only Taco Bell,” Thompson says. “When you come here and look at the menu, you’ll see familiar things and talk to your server about everything. Our execution is unconventional, but the flavor profiles are traditional.”
BEACH HOUSE Encore, 702-770-5340, wynnlasvegas.com. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, 17:30-10:30; Friday & Saturday, 17:30-23:00
Click HERE to subscribe for free to Weekly Fix, the digital edition of Las Vegas Weekly! Stay up to date with the latest Las Vegas concerts, shows, restaurants, bars and more delivered straight to your inbox!