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Conrad’s at the Flamingo - A Classic Restaurant

By R. H. Duke

As you approach Conrad's spacious entry the classic decor is reminiscent of yesteryear. Traditional European accents are formally balanced with oak paneled walls, mirrored window panes, and etched glass that enhance sculptured ornate metal and wood chandeliers. Highlighting this classic look are shuttered windows flanked by draperies, and tables with candlelight gleaming around the table setting. Tables are impeccably set in each of the three separate dining areas. Glimmering candles, roses, and sparkling stemware are romantic and inviting in this quiet dining room completely away from the casino floor.

Conrad's style of cuisine is Continental, featuring a wonderful selection of cold water Atlantic seafood and select premium Midwest, 21 day dry aged beef, in addition to various gourmet specialties. Our recent visit resulted in an outstanding dining experience. Conrad's version of Surf and Turf is offered as a “special” and is unlike any that we had experienced in other restaurants. Imagine a swordlike skewer with a perfectly grilled 8 oz Filet and a 10 oz delectable rack of lamb of the finest quality in the center with 2 whole Maine Lobsters, one on each end of the "sword." This beautiful jewel of a dinner for two is presented on an oval shaped silver platter accompanied by boiled potatoes, carrots, string beans, asparagus, bok choy and other vegetables. Drawn butter, mint jelly, bordelaise and béarnaise sauce are served, on the side, for the meat and lobster.

The artistry begins as the Captain plates the dinner, tableside, slicing the filet and lamb to serve along with the vegetables on two separate plates. A third plate is used solely for the two lobsters which are shelled and garnished with the two pinkish red lobster shell heads. This is really a dinner consisting of three entrees served in a single setting...and a completely satisfying meal at that.

But save room for the artistic presentation of one of my favorite deserts, bananas foster and an excellent Flaming Bermuda Coffee, named by our Captain, Francesco who is from Bermuda. I have been served various versions of this flavorful drink, which is commonly known as "Flaming Scepter." A flavorful blended coffee is mixed with Courvoisier, Frangelico, and Kaluha served flaming in a wine goblet and topped with whipped cream. The combined flavors are outstanding and in my opinion beats Cappuccino anytime. A perfect way to finish a perfect meal.

If service is at the top of your list while dining, as it should be, Conrad's will not disappoint. As in many classic restaurants, the service is European influenced, sharp, and attentive to every detail by a trio consisting of a Captain, front waiter, and back waiter. The personalized tableside service is from quiet rolling carts, as the wait staff either prepares, finishes, plates your dinner, or prepares flaming deserts and coffee. This is most impressive as professional execution, with some showmanship, is displayed. We also found the wait staff to be knowledgeable on wines offered from a non-intimidating wine list of varied sources.

Experience is what defines any restaurant that strives to make the patron's dining experience a memorable event. This experience is evident at Conrad's. The kitchen is under the command on Norwegian-born Executive Sous Chef Gert-Are Kvalsund also the Assistant to Executive Chef Rune Vormestrand, both seasoned staff members at the Flamingo having been recruited directly from their native country. Chef de cuisine is Ronald Son Son formerly of the Hawaiian Village on the Island of Oahu.

The restaurant is under the expert management of Matre'd/Director of Restaurants Joe Ripoll, a native of Spain. Ripoll received his degree in the hospitality industry from University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1989. He developed his skills while an employee in various positions at Bally's Hotel/Casino. Ripoll is a protege of the master himself, Ilario Pesco - the absolute best in the industry. Stints at Bally's Al Dente, Seasons, Steak House, and world famous Sterling Brunch had prepared Ripoll for Director of Restaurants and Matre d' at various restaurants at the Las Vegas Hilton and Flamingo Hotels.

Conrad's, located in The Flamingo Hotel at Flamingo Rd and "The Strip,' promises it's guest an evening of sheer delight in dining. Dinner only. Thursday through Monday. Call 733-3111 for reservations.

R.H. Duke is a former restaurateur and a Las Vegas restaurant critic who says “Fine Dining is one of Life’s Greatest Pleasures!”

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