Las Vegas Trip: Part IX – Anise Tapas & Grill

A friend of N’s from LA had been in Las Vegas just a few weeks before us. He recommended that we go to Anise Tapas & Grill. There are no Mexican kosher restaurants where we live much less Mexican Israeli fusion restaurants so we were excited.

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The atmosphere was great. The restaurant was quiet and romantic with an intimate feel.

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To the right is a bar where there were many people who sat and ate instead of getting a table.

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N and I sat at a nice little elevated table in the center of the restaurant.

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We sat down and were brought a tin filled with what tasted like homemade Za’atar crackers and a mini mason jar filled with oil and garlic. These crackers were fantastic, and N and I could not get enough of them!

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The first thing we ordered was Sangria. I had never had it before, but N had. I loved it, and N said it was the best that he had ever had.

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N’s friend had suggested getting a burger because the one he had was great. But there were so many yummy looking things on the menu that N and I decided to have many small things (tapas) and no main. We actually went item by item and didn’t know we wouldn’t have a main until the end when we were too full for one.

Before ordering, N asked the waiter for recommendations. Our waiter was very friendly and attentive. He gave us many recommendations, most of which we followed.

The descriptions in quotation marks and italics below are taken straight from Anise Tapas & Grill menu listed on their website.

Drunken Avocado Empanadillas

“We admit it; our eggrolls are luscious lushes! Finely Crisped egg rolls filled with seasoned avocados and fresh cilantro. Served with Patron jalapeño agave sauce.”

We loved this! These were fried to perfection, the avocado was smooth and creamy while the seasoning was flavorful and bright. The slaw was ok but light and could have used a little more flavor.

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Fish Taco

“Two fish tacos made with wild cod, and served with our jalapeno patron sauce and citrus slaw.”
This was one of the things not recommended by our waiter but since N and I make fish tacos, we wanted to see what a more authentic fish taco would taste like. Sadly, we didn’t love it. The taco shell was not toasted and so they were soggy and fell apart. The taste was ok, but again we felt it was a little light and more seasoning would have helped.

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Moussaka Sliders

“Two mini lamb & Angus beef burgers topped with fried Japanese eggplant medallion and harissa. Served with tzatziki.”
These sliders were super tasty! The slaw was the same as before though so we were unimpressed.

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Overall we were very pleased with this meal and gave the restaurant an overall grade of A-/B+. We were quite pleased with the suggestions from our waiter and wished that we had stuck with his recommendations.

On the last night in Vegas, we went back to Anise Tapas & Grill for another excellent dinner.

Once again we started with Sangria. N ordered two this time. He claimed it was because he had a cold and didn’t want to get me sick as he was coming down with a cold. I think that was just an excuse and he wanted his own since I drank so much of the one we had the first night we ate there.

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Not only was the Sangria fantastic once again, but I scooped out all of the fruit from both mine and N’s. The fruit was also excellent.

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Lentil Soup

“Flavor in every drop. Lentils and cauliflower seasoned with a delicious yellow curry blend for a pleasing kick.”

We loved the lentil soup, it was rich and tasty.

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Chicken Dumpling Soup

“Served with ginger, lemon grass slaw.”
This soup was a complicated one. I loved the taste, but it seemed like the cook had accidentally dumped in a tablespoon of white pepper. The taste of the soup was so good, I loved the dumpling, ginger and the lemongrass. But after a few spoonfuls the pepper taste completely overwhelmed everything else and my mouth was on fire. Even N, who loves super spicy food, said it was basically inedible. He was amazed that I kept eating I. But the lemongrass and ginger flavor was so good. I kept eating the crackers to cool the fire in between spoonfuls. It didn’t help completely but it allowed me to have another spoonful. Even with that, I had to stop after eating a little less than half the bowl. If we every get back there, I would love to try it again as the taste minus the spice was new, fresh and quite intriguing.
What was super puzzling was that the menu didn’t list the soup as spicy so we knew it had to be an accident, but when the owner asked how everything was and we told him about the soup, he brushed us off. Now, I didn’t care so much about this because I had been able to eat a bit of the soup and I loved the taste. But my mother is super sensitive to spicy foods and can’t eat them at all. I was quite surprised the owner didn’t care at all about our complaint and if I, like my mother couldn’t eat spicy foods, I would have been very upset.

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Our helpful waiter gave us two little bowls to split the soups.

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Cigarro Marroqui

“Four crispy fried phyllo dough “cigars” filled with sinfully and savory spiced Moroccan lamb and Angus beef.”
These cigars were great! They were super crispy and tasty. But once again the slaw was just ok.

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Paella Para Mi’

Spanish rice with flame grilled tomatoes, onions, peppers, succulent marinated chicken, blackened saffron rice and bits of spiced lamb sausage, topped with scallions.”
Again, this was a dish not recommended by our waiter, once again we couldn’t help ourselves as we make Paella ourselves and wanted to taste an authentic version. Sadly, again we were unimpressed. The rice was a little gluey and we didn’t love the taste.

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House Angus Burger

“Lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion, and garlic aioli.”
This time, we followed N’s friend’s advice and ordered a burger. It was a delicious burger! The angus beef was super tasty and the aioli added a nice flavor and creaminess.

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Once again we were quite happy with the meal. We give the restaurant an overall A-. Both times we were there a live band started playing as it got later. If Anise Tapas & Grill was near us, this would definitely be out new go to date night restaurant.

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