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Ortanique: Cuisine of the Sun

By R. H. Duke

When you think Caribbean your thoughts may drift to rhythmic island music against a backdrop of sandy beaches, clear skies, warm gentle breezes, and blue waters!  Epicureans, however go a step beyond with images of tantalizing flavors, texture, and exciting cuisine of the “Islands.” For creative cuisine with roots in the Caribbean, the buzz in Las Vegas is ORTANIQUE, located inside the walkway between Bally’s and the Paris Resort.

The ambiance can best be described as exciting, sexy, casual elegance, with a splash and aura of a contemporary supper club. The cuisine is invigorating, refreshing, creative and tantalizing. The entertainment: sounds of cool jazz, rhythmic island music, reggae, and a cool after hours club. This adds up to a perfect recipe for a total, ultimate, unique, exhilarating dining and entertainment experience.

The concept, brought to Las Vegas by co-creators Chef Cindy Hutson and restaurateur Delius Shirley, has taken this city with the gusto of a tropical storm. This innovative duo has brought a distinctive style of cuisine to our dining arena by way of Miami’s original multi-award winning ORTANIQUE. Chef Cindy honed her skills on the island of Jamaica where she met Delius a Jamaican native and son of renowned island restaurateur Norma Shirley. Together this couple has created Caribbean flavors unique to authentic recipes and classic techniques. The talents of Chef Cindy melds ingredients resulting in a style of cooking that has earned her numerous recognition and awards among  top ranking innovative chefs in the nation.

Chef Cindy has coined her style of cooking “Cuisine of The Sun - an eclectic fusion of different nations and their natural bounties prepared and placed creatively on one plate.” This marriage of island spices, fruits, and ingredients coupled with the main ingredient of meat or seafood is definitely a fantastic fusion of flavors that satiates the palate.

A refreshing starter is Cevice Del Mar - fresh Florida fish, marinated with cucumber, vine ripened tomatoes, cilantro, ancho chiles tossed withfresh juice of  lime and roasted garlic infused olive oil. Another outstanding appetizer is the West Indian curried crab cakes, blended curries, red pepper, scallion, papaya coulis and tropical fruit salsa. In my opinion the flavors do not get much better or more exciting than this!

Next for a bit of a kick, and among my favorites, the phenomenal “award-winning” jerked double pork chop (whopping 16 oz), with guava Bacardi spiced rum sauce, South American moros, topped with drunken raisin tropical fruit flambé. It’s spiced with flavors that come through yet not too “spicy” on the palate. Then there is the exceptional Caribbean Bouillabaisse with halibut, diver scallops, Key West shrimp and Mediterranean mussels in a Kaffir lime coconut curried broth, certainly a diversion from the French style. These dishes define creativity at its’ highest level.

Finish your dinner with wonderful dessert including Godiva Chocolate Crème Brulee, Panna Cotta with Pistachio Ice Cream, or Pineapple Tartin, and that great sought after, yet hard to find, Blue Mountain coffee. And to compliment your dinner and dessert select your favorite wine from a more than adequate wine list.

Ortanique is also unique with a variety of featured entertainment. Some of the best in cool jazz is offered during dinner hours, 8:00 P.M. - Midnight on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The enchanting Caribbean steel drum sounds elicits romantic moods, and the excitement of reggae music captivates the after dinner nightlife crowd, 10:00 P.M.-2:00 A.M. Fridays and Saturdays. On several of my recent visits I was mesmerized by the jazz classics of vocalist Jeannie Snow accompanied by a bass, drum, and piano trio. The Island Spice Caribbean Steel Band and the Reggae Beat of Bonafide also provided the best in “Island” sounds north of the Caribbean.

And for the insomniacs or hip party crowd every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 2:00 A.M. till 8:00 A.M. Nicco Santucci presents Moulin Rouge After hours…in The Heart of Paris, An intimate Parisian Experience with VIP host Cody Starrett. The excitement of creative dining, cool jazz, rhythmic island sounds, the beat of reggae, and after hour nightlife can all be enjoyed at ORTANIQUE in the inside walkway connecting Bally’s and Paris resorts. Serving dinner nightly from 5:30 P.M. Entertainment of your choice at select hours compatible with your lifestyle. For reservation, information, phone (702) 946-4346.

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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